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Russian patriarch thanks Belarus for talks on Ukraine

June 20, 2015, 23:13 UTC+3 MINSK
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MINSK, June 20. /TASS/. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia thanked Belarus for its role in organising the talks on settlement of the Ukraine conflict.

"I would like to say words of gratitude for your role in organising the talks on resolving the Ukraine crisis," the Russian Orthodox Church head told Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Saturday.

The events in the fraternal country [Ukraine] are "vast sorrow and a wound in the heart," he said underscoring that the Russian Orthodox Church’s laity live both in the east and west.

"The Church bears a special responsibility," His Holiness said adding that today "our Church is the only organisation in Ukraine and the only force that has the potential of peace making."

Patriarch Kirill said that the Church did not take sides as "here and there they are Orthodox Christians and here and there they are suffering."

"It is impossible to divide the laity on a political principle," he went on to say pointing out that "it has never been tense [in Belarus] as it’s these people’s set of mind."

Along with this, Patriarch Kirill noting the Belarussians’ particular contribution to the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1941-1945 said his strong desire had been to visit the country in the current year when the 70th anniversary of this victory is marked.

"Belarus bore the brunt of those horrible vast hordes and paying enormous victims acted in such a way that the enemy failed to rush through hundreds of kilometres from the [Belarussian] western border to the capital," he said thanking for an opportunity to visit the Brest Fortress that was the first stronghold attacked by Nazi troops at the dawn of June 22, 1941, the first day of the four-year-long war.

The patriarch’s uncle fell dead defending the fortress.

"I strongly feel it is my duty to bow at this holy place of heroism and valour," he said.

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