30 Sep 2019 11:38

Belarusian Orthodox Church doesn't need autocephaly - church head

MINSK. Sept 30 (Interfax) - Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, the patriarchal exarch of All of Belarus, has said he believes the Belarusian Orthodox Church does not need autocephaly.

"As soon as politicians start interfering in church affairs, everything goes haywire. All this nationalism and politicking conceal an attempt to divide people. There have been attempts to propose or proclaim autocephaly or some autonomy of the Belarusian Orthodox Church," Metropolitan Pavel said on the Belarusian TV channel STV.

"There is no need to do this in Belarus now, no need for any transformations, especially administrative ones, or transformations in canonical law," he said.

At the same time, Metropolitan Pavel suggested that Belarus should abolish the regulation under which only Belarusian citizens can be appointed to senior clerical positions.

"This surely restricts our abilities and capacities. I would say it has a negative effect in some cases. Let's hope these boundaries will be removed one day, because this is just a holdover from the past," Metropolitan Pavel.

As reported earlier, Metropolitan Pavel has led the Belarusian Orthodox Church since the end of 2013. He said himself that, six years after he started serving in Belarus, he still does not have Belarusian citizenship. Article 13 of the Belarusian law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations stipulates that only a Belarusian citizen can lead a religious organization in the country.