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| Home | News | Photo | Orthodox Christmas in Belarus

Orthodox believers of Belarus celebrate Christmas

Orthodox believers of Belarus celebrate Christmas
7 Jan 2021

On 7 January Belarusian Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas, one of the main holidays on the religious calendar. The day is preceded by a 40-day Lent which ends with the first star in the night sky on 6 January. On Christmas Eve all churches of the country hold festive services that include the Great Hours, Vespers, and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great that culminate with the All Night Vigil.

The solemn Christmas services united all Orthodox believers of Belarus and the world in a single prayer for the health of their loved ones, peace and well-being of their families and the whole country during the coronavirus pandemic. In the face of the difficult epidemiological situation, three broadcasts from the Holy Spirit Cathedral, the country's main Orthodox church, were organized this year. It was here, in the heart of the historic Minsk, that the Divine liturgy began at midnight sharp on 7 January. It was conducted by Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, together with the cathedral's clergy.

The head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church addressed believers with a Christmas message where he touched upon pressing issues. “Believers cannot stay indifferent to the disturbing events taking place in the world, and above all in their Fatherland,” Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl said. He stressed that the events of the past year have ‘prompted us to think about our attitude to God and our neighbors, about spiritual life in line with the commandments’. The head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church urged not to lose heart, although ‘many are confused and scared about the future’, and wished ‘families, teammates, the society, the Fatherland and other countries to live in harmony and accord’.

Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Minsk on 7 January. Built in 2020 next to the Masyukovshshina Death Camp memorial complex the church commemorates more than 80,000 prisoners of war and Soviet civilians killed in the German concentration camp in Minsk during the Great Patriotic War. The president lit a Christmas candle, talked to Metropolitan Veniamin and parishioners.

2021 Christmas celebrations in our photos from different parts of the country.

Preparations for Christmas in St. Nicholas Garrison Cathedral in Brest
Preparations for Christmas in St. Nicholas Garrison Cathedral in Brest
Preparations for Christmas in St. Nicholas Garrison Cathedral in Brest
In anticipation of Christmas: Decorating a Christmas tree in the Holy Spirit Cathedral
In anticipation of Christmas: Decorating a Christmas tree in the Holy Spirit Cathedral
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