Minsk, September 14, 2021
On September 11, the feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, which is also marked as Sobriety Day, a number of Belarusian Orthodox faithful took a vow of sobriety, determined to overcome their addictions.
During the Divine Liturgy for the feast, Archpriest Dionysiy Piasetsky, the rector of the Church of the Inexhaustible Cup Icon of the Mother of God in Minsk and head of the Belarusian Church’s Coordination Center for Combating Drug Addiction and Alcoholism, offered special petitions for those suffering from alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions, reports the press service of the Belarusian Church.
The address of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was also solemnly read out for all those praying at the service.
Following the Liturgy, a moleben for those suffering from addictions was served, together with the rite of taking a vow of sobriety. This year, five parishioners took vows for a period of 1 year, with a firm intention to quit drinking altogether.
The parish has a Sobriety Society that helps its members stay true to their vows. After the moleben, the Society members went on pilgrimage to the grave of Blessed Valentina of Minsk for spiritual support and strengthening. Another moleben for those suffering from addictions was served at her grave.
They then went to visit a holy spring in the village of Vitovka, where they collected holy water and plunged into the healing waters with a prayer for physical and mental healing.
Taking a vow of sobriety was widespread in the Russian Church in the early 20th century, when the movement numbered more than 2,000 fraternities and sobriety societies.