Orthodox Court Prohibits Public Liturgies to Priest Aliaksandr Shramko
According to Nasha Niva
The Orthodox trial prohibited the priest to serve public liturgies for his participation in the campaign For Freedom of Conscience, online conference in Nasha Niva and leading a livejournal.
On 10 May a sitting of the church court take place. It considered the case of the clergyman of St. Intercession Church in Minsk Aliaksandr Shramko. According to the priest, the trial reminded more of a military tribunal: there were no court procedures or questions. They simply read the verdict: to prohibit serving liturgies and exclude from staff. However, the court decision is not of final, but only of recommendation nature and the last word belongs to the metropolitan Filaret. First of all, father Aliaksandr is accused of participation in the press-conference in the protestant church New Life on 25 March 2007. There he expressed a negative opinion about the law On freedom of conscience and stated that the law most often limits the churches which actively develop and want to maintain missionary activity and widen their influence in the society.
Other accusation pointsare Shramko’s participation in the online conference at the website of Nasha Niva newspaper, publication of articles Credit over and the parables he regularly places in his web journal.
It’s worth mentioning that on 15 September 2006 the Eparchial board with participation of the metropolitan issued a warning to priest Shramko and also prohibited to him publicist activity without bishop’s permission. In the text of the warning it was said that otherwise he would be tried by the church court, which actually happened.
At present father Aliaksandr preserves status-quo and continues serving liturgies. Everything will depend on Filaret’s decision. Aliaksandr Shramko doesn’t want to make any guesses about the decision. ‘Many people say he may justify me and give the last chance, in the case I repent in my mistakes, but he may as well not. It is difficult to say when the decision will be taken, tomorrow, or several months later, it does not depend on me,’ commented the priest.
At present father Aliaksandr has no plans what he will do if serving liturgies will be prohibited to him. He is physician by education, has worked in school, at a post office and as a street cleaner. He is not going to go under any other Orthodox or Uniate jurisdiction.
Priest Shramko keeps to his position concerning religious, political, public and cultural life of the country. He is an adherent of Belarusian language and culture. In the middle of 1990-ies he was the first Minsk priest to serve liturgies in Belarusian.