Dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by critics, Belarusian president went to church Sunday for Orthodox Easter despite coronavirus pandemic. That is sacred to him, no matter what the circumstances are.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko demonstratively visited a church and lit a candle on the Orthodox Easter holiday. "Whatever happened in our history, no one could shut down or ban this celebration," the 65-year-old said Sunday while visiting a monastery church near the town of Smlyavichi, according to the presidential website. "I am always and will always come to church." No matter what the circumstances, "this is sacred".
Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, used to describe himself as a "Christian Orthodox atheist," but for years he has liked to pretend to be close to the church, visiting places of worship at Christmas and Easter. Now he counted church attendance as the "principle of my life". Alluding to God, he said, "If he sees this, he will surely help"."
Belarus, formerly Belarus, is the only majority Orthodox state in Eastern Europe, along with Georgia, where Easter masses could be celebrated with worshippers nationwide despite Corona. The other countries forbade because of the pandemic public religious services completely or like Russia in several regions.
Lukashenko had rejected restrictions on religious celebrations and announced that he himself would go to the Orthodox Church in the East. Last Sunday, a similar number of Catholics as in previous years were able to attend Easter Mass in the cathedral of the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Criticism of Lukashenko
In Belarus, the number of Corona deaths increased by two to 47 on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health. For weeks, critics have been accusing Lukashenko, often referred to as "Europe's last dictator," of doing too little to combat the pandemic.
According to the Orthodox calendar, the approximately 300 million Christians of the Eastern Churches celebrate Easter one week later than Catholics and Protestants this year. The reason: the Orthodox Church determines the date according to the ancient Julian calendar and according to a different method than the Western Churches. The latter made the Gregorian calendar reform of 16. The first of the twentieth century with.