LEADERS OF EVANGELICAL CHURCHES EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT PLANS TO SIGN AGREEMENT BETWEEN STATE AND ORTHODOX CHURCH

2003 2003-01-30T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 29 January leaders of the Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (+375 17 2539267). Union of Evangelical Faith Christians (+375 17 2190094), and Association of Communities of Full Gospel Christians (+375 17 2781072) made an open statement in conjunction with preparation to sign an agreement between the Orthodox Church and the State.
Open Statement
It is known that currently the state and Belarusian Orthodox Church are preparing to sign an agreement. Art 8 of the Law "About Freedom of Consciousness and Religious Organizations" provides for the possibility of such agreements.
The public is not informed about the contents and the subject of the above mentioned agreement. However, some recent tendencies, which, we suppose, are connected with conclusion of this agreement, arouse our deep concern and anxiety. Already there are numerous facts that our religious organizations – unions, local churches – are not allowed to organize spiritual care for the citizens, who are placed in correctional establishments, serve in military units, live in rest-homes and other institutions. We know from the mass media, that Stanislaw Buko, head of Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs, states "any denomination, traditional for Belarus, has the right to conclude an agreement with the state". According to the authorities, only denominations, listed in the preamble of the above mentioned Law, have the status of "traditional" ones. There are all grounds to think, that only officially "traditional" denominations, which have concluded agreements with the state, will be given access to various institutions. As the result, citizens of Protestant Evangelical religion, who, for example, are drafted to the Army, will be deprived of the opportunity to have spiritual care and support. It is also worth mentioning, that the acting legislation does not define what "traditional denomination" is.
Many historical facts show that Protestant Evangelical denomination is traditional for Belarus. That is why we intent to consider the issue of addressing the state bodies with proposal to conclude a similar agreement. We believe, the work in the frames of such agreement will foster balance and stability in our society and will be useful for our citizens and the state as a whole.

N. V. Sinkavets
Bishop
Of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Christians in the Republic of Belarus

S. S. Khomich
Bishop
Of the Union of Evangelical Faith Christians in the Republic of Belarus

A. V. Sakovich
President
Of Association of Communities of Full Gospel Christians in the Republic of Belarus

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