Gronsky Alexander
Reaction of the Byelorussian Exarchate and the Roman Catholic Church to the August 2020 post-election protests in Byelorussia
Publication Type:

ISSN 2712-9276

DOI 10.53822/2712-9276-2021-1-1-51-72

In August 2020, the presidential elections took place in Byelorussia, which, according to official data, were won by A. G. Lukashenko by a wide margin. The announcement of the preliminary election results provoked a protest reaction of the opposition forces, who declared the results to be falsified and mobilized part of the Byelorussian population for mass street protests. The authorities deemed these actions illegal and used force to suppress them. This gave the opposition and protesters grounds to criticize the authorities with renewed vigor, accusing them of violence and infringement of political freedoms. The representatives of the Orthodox Church (the Byelorussian Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate) as well as of the Roman Catholic Church in Byelorussia reacted to the situation in the country, which caused a significant resonance in Byelorussia itself and abroad. The Byelorussian Exarchate did not support any of the conflicting sides, whereas Metropolitan Pavel, patriarchal exarch, unambiguously advocated the soonest cessation of the civil confrontation. At the same time, a few representatives of the clergy of the Byelorussian Exarchate publicly took the side of the protestors, including Archbishop Artemy of Grodno, but their statements were supported neither by the Synod of the Exarchate nor by the absolute majority of its bishops. The Roman Catholic Church, which has considerably smaller congregations in Byelorussia, also called for an end to the confrontation, but at the same time was much more immersed in the political agenda, poorly concealing its support for the opposition and protesters; the head of the Byelorussian Catholics at that time, Metropolitan T. Kondrusievicz, indirectly sympathized with the opposition as well. Despite the actual difference in the two churches' attitudes to the political situ

Keywords: Byelorussia | 2020 presidential election in Byelorussia | protests | Byelorussian Exarchate of the Moscow Patriarchate (Byelorussian Orthodox Church) | Roman Catholic Church | church and state | church and society |

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