Russian patriarch calls on Belarus to uphold spiritual values

MINSK, September 25 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church called on Belarusians during a visit to Minsk on Friday to maintain the spiritual and moral values of their ancestors based on the Orthodox faith.

"For me it is a great joy to step onto the soil of Belarus in the first year of my patriarchal ministry," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia told thousands of believers gathered in front of the Holy Spirit Cathedral.

"Unfortunately many people, including under the influence of modern education mistakes, have a false idea of the past as something that was but is no more... But the present is transient, it's an invisible edge between the past and the future," Kirill said.

Prince Vladimir baptized medieval Kievan Rus, which comprised parts of modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, in the year 988. The canonical Orthodox Churches in Ukraine and Belarus are subordinate to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Kirill, who arrived in Belarus on a four-day visit this morning, expressed his wish that the Church continue to contribute to Belarus's prosperity.

Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, said the unity of Orthodox nations baptized in Kiev have never broken despite tribulations.

Kirill was elected Russia's new church leader on February 1. He replaced Patriarch Alexy II, who died in December at the age of 79. Alexy led a revival of faith in Russia following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.



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