22 June 2015, 10:00
Lukashenko promises Patriarch Kirill to do his utmost to stop war in Ukraine
Minsk, June 22, Interfax - The Belarusian authorities are ready to make every effort to stop the war in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said at a Saturday meeting with Patriarch Kirill in Minsk.
"We are brothers - Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians - we come from the same root. We are in pain when our brothers are in trouble. We will do our utmost to cushion the situation in at least some way and if possible, stop this fratricidal war," Lukashenko said as quoted by BelTA state news agency.
The patriarch thanked Belarus for its role in organizing talks on a settlement in Ukraine.
"This is a wound in my heart. The canonical Orthodox Church has people from both the East and the West among its flock. This places special responsibility on the church," he said.
"Today our Church is the only organization in Ukraine and the only power that has retained its peacekeeping potential because it has not identified itself with either side," the patriarch said.
He stressed that the flock should not be divided on political grounds.
"There are Orthodox Christians on both sides, they suffer and die on both sides," he said.
Lukashenko added that people of different creeds in Belarus feel no problems in their relationships.
"I don't see any problems in the relations of our believers. We greatly appreciate this and will try to save them, as much as possible," he said.
"Catholics and Orthodox Christians live very peacefully with each other. We have no claims to make to each other. We are trying to help both so that it would be convenient for people and that everyone would find one's own way to the church," he added.
Lukashenko said that the Belarusian Orthodox Church plays a leading role in the country's religious life. "Belarus is a bulwark of Orthodox Christianity on the western frontier of our once glorious Fatherland," he stressed.
He said that Orthodox Christianity is "powerful as ever" also in the south and west of Belarus where many Catholics live.
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