Minsk, May 4, 2022
Yesterday, on the feast of Radonitsa, a new monument to His Eminence Metropolitan Philaret, the first Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus who reposed in the Lord in January 2021, was ceremoniously unveiled in Minsk, where he served the Church as Metropolitan for 35 years.
The bronze monument was installed at the central entrance to the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where he began his ministry as a ruling bishop, reports the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
In the monument, Met. Philaret blesses the faithful with a copy of the Cross of St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk, one of the Belarusian Church’s most precious relics.
The opening ceremony was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk and other Belarusian hierarchs, as well as President Alexander Lukashenko and other secular authorities and city residents.
“Without exaggeration, [Met. Philaret] is our great contemporary, the Hero of Belarus, a man who was not only a spiritual father, but also the conscience of the nation,” the President noted. “He always said: ‘Wherever you serve, there is your motherland.’ And he proved with his whole life that our Belarus was his destiny, his fatherland. And we were his huge beloved family.”
Met. Benjamin and Pres. Lukashenko then laid flowers at the monument.
In his remarks inside the cathedral, the President emphasized that many churches and monasteries were revived, Scripture was translated into Belarusian, and a feast to the Belarusian Saints was established, all thanks to Met. Philaret.
He also noted his peacemaking efforts, when “even during the Cold War he began to raise the topics of patriotism, anti-fascism, the prevention of the use of nuclear weapons, and the cessation of the arms race,” the report reads.
“I’m convinced that even now in Heaven, next to the patron saints of Belarus, he’s asking for peace and harmony in our beautiful land,” Lukashenko said.
Then Met. Benjamin served a litia for the repose of Vladyka Philaret and blessed the new monument.
In October, it was announced that the city of Grodno would rename a street in honor of Met. Philaret by popular demand.