Belarus: Praying for peace and stability
Lutheran Church works for peace, calls for prayers and support of the Lutheran communion
GRODNO, Belarus/GENEVA (LWI) – “Our Lutheran Church is located in the city center. Together with the Orthodox and Catholic brothers and sisters, we have opened the churches so that demonstrators can take refuge there," said Pastor Vladimir Tatarnikov from the Lutheran Church in Grodno, Belarus, about the current situation in the country. "And we are ringing the church bells in protest against the police violence."
Mass protests are taking place in Belarus, following presidential elections earlier this month. There is suspicion of the election having been rigged in favor of incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko who was elected for the sixth term since 1994. After the election, the opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya fled to Lithuania. Thousands of people have been arrested during the protests. Details have emerged of alleged police brutality which has led to further demonstrations.
We pray for peace in our country.
The protests, which now have been joined by factory workers, are taking place throughout the country – including in Grodno, a town in western Belarus, near the Polish and Lithuanian borders. "Young people and families take to the streets," said Tatarnikov. "People from our congregation are also taking part, and some have already been arrested."
"We pray for peace in our country", Tatarnikov continued. One of the main tasks of the Lutheran Church in Belarus is to provide diaconal care to the victims of violence and people who are in hospitals. In the near future, the support of the Lutheran communion will be needed for this. "But first of all, we ask you for your prayers," said Tatarnikov. "Prayers for peace and stability in our crisis-ridden country."
The Lutheran Church in Grodno, Belarus, is a part of the Federation of Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Russia and Other States, which has been a member of the LWF since 1989.