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Confessional world as a pillar of the Belarusian state stability

The most human commandments

Religious tolerance is one of the most complex problems being discussed by humanity for many decades. Religious tolerance and respect for religious views were formed in the most difficult conditions. Religious wars that took place in Europe devastated entire states. What our neighbors present today as the natural state of Europeans is actually a glossing over of that terrible intolerance, cruelty, and narrow-mindedness that eventually led to two great world wars in the twentieth century.

The history of Belarusian tolerance, unlike most other countries in the region, was not crystallized under the influence of external views and stereotypes. Rather, it went against the general approaches and forever defined the specifics of our people.

Orthodoxy has become the oldest confession in the Belarusian lands. Since the end of the 10th century, the spiritual culture of Belarusians received a new impetus for development. Four centuries later, Catholicism became widespread. The Jesuit Order focused its efforts on the educational field.

In late 14yj century, Tatars came to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the invitation of Grand Duke Vytautas, which contributed to the penetration of Islam. By the end of the 16th century, about 400 mosques had been built, the Tatars enjoyed all the rights of citizenship and lived with their faith, language and customs. The first Crimean Khan Haji Giray was born in the Lida Castle.

And in 1568, while religious wars raged in the heart of Europe — France, culminating in St. Bartholomew's Night, Grand Duke Sigismund Augustus confirmed all rights of the Tatars, including freedom of choice of religion.

At the same time, Judaism came to the lands of Belarus. In 1388, Grand Duke Vytautas issued the first privilege in the history of the country to Brest Jews. Jews were guaranteed personal inviolability and freedom of worship, and were allowed to acquire property. Today, historians say that the Vytautas privileges are among the most progressive legal documents in Europe.

For many centuries, the public consciousness of Belarusians has been formed in the most difficult conditions. It is no secret to anyone in our country that we could only dream of mercy and tolerance towards ourselves. But the ideological depth of the Belarusian people has developed, including the recognition of the right to a plurality of religious traditions.

Today, the principle of religious tolerance is key for the Belarusian state, it is supported and strengthened at all levels. In 1992, at the dawn of Belarus' independence, the law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations" was adopted. It was aimed at "ensuring the rights of citizens to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, protection of their rights and interests regardless of their attitude to religion and religious affiliation, as well as the right to freedom of association in religious organizations."

Based on survey conducted by the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research, Belarusians see religion as an opportunity to preserve the heritage of their ancestors, traditions, and national culture. On an everyday level, it's to get comfort in a difficult moment. ¬

The Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during the meeting with the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, made these trends as relevant as possible. He noted that "the church expects people to come to God on their own. But it seems to me that this is a counter process, and the church should take a step towards ordinary person."

There is a clear request to expand the social function of churches. At the same time, Belarusians believe that politics and ideology should not be included in its sphere of interests.

For Belarus, the issue of external influence on a variety of government processes is a topical one. Our country has always been at the crossroads of all roads, including ideological ones.

As the President noted, "all the bloodiest wars on earth began on the basis of religious differences. This card is still being played by the ideologists of color revolutions and rebellions." Therefore, preserving interfaith peace is one of the key tasks even for a country that can set an example to everyone else.

Challenges facing Belarus today can only be solved together. The role of the State remains enormous. But how important is it to involve the church in solving such acutely sensitive issues as fertility, for example? Amid harsh propaganda from the West of such ideas as childlessness and LGBT, who, if not the church, can act as the most effective tool of counteraction.

The influence of religions on the modern world is clearly decreasing. But at the same time, there is a growing demand for the return of religious teachings and commandments that allow people to preserve humanity, mercy, love of neighbor, avoid escalation between states and contribute to the establishment of peace and harmony on earth.

Every nation always has a mission that it must realize in one way or another. Belarusians are perhaps the only people in the region who, with their centuries-old practices, do not just set an example, but rather offer a universal platform for building an image of the future of any country.