Pavel was appointed by the Russian Orthodox Church as the head of the Kuban Metropolitanate.
Metropolitan Pavel, who had come to govern the Belarusian Orthodox Church from Ryazan, has been released from the post of Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus. Bishop of Borisov and Maryina Horka Veniamin has been appointed Patriarch Exarch of All Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslaul, with the provisional administration of the Barysau diocese retained by him, the head of the press service of the Russian Orthodox Church Vladimir Legoyda reports.
This decision was made by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which expressed gratitude to Pavel for the work he had done. As Legoyda explained, the Exarch of All Belarus asked to be dismissed from office. Bishop Veniamin of Barysau and Maryina Horka was appointed to this post.
According to Interfax, the synod approved the actions of the ex-metropolitan and representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus, aimed at restoring peace and public order.
Earlier,commenting on the protests in the country after the presidential elections, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslaul, called for doing everything possible so that peace reigned in Belarus. At the same time, after the voting on August 9, he congratulated Alyaksandr Lukashenka on his re-election to the post of head of state, but later allegedly withdrew his statement. In the midst of the protests, the Exarch appealed to the politician to stop the violence, and also visited people in the hospital who were injured during the dispersal of peaceful rallies.
Metropolitan Pavel has served as head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church since 2013.
Bishop Veniamin will be the first Belarusian to head the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
Bishop Veniamin Tupeka was born in 1968 in Luninets (Brest region). He graduated from the Faculty of Radiophysics at BSU. He also holds a PhD in Theology.
In 2010 he was ordained in Moscow as Bishop of Barysau, Vicar of the Minsk Diocese. In the BOC, he was responsible for publishing and religious education, and was deputy chairman of the church court of the Belarusian Exarchate. By the decision of the Holy Synod in 2014, he was appointed Bishop of Barysau and Maryina Horka.
Orthodox priest Alyaksandr Shramko, who was banned in 2018 by Metropolitan Pavel from his ministry for criticizing church leaders, wrote on Facebook: “People! Don’t be happy! There is nothing good about this reassignment. In all respects. The BOC runs the risk of finally becoming an extremely odious structure.”
“Veniamin is a supporter of Lukashenka’s state ideology,” Father Alyaksandr Shramko told Belsat. “He iss a Lukashist. He is committed to the Belarusian people to the same extent as Alyaksandr Lukashenka.”
“He is a strict and principled person. He is convinced that autocephaly is a sin. He declared loyalty to the Moscow Patriarchate, but for reasons not of a political nature, but of a religious one. He does not sympathize with ecumenism, liberalism of all kinds. For him, a firm hand is also a part of his worldview. He is a man with a monastic background, so subordination and hierarchy are important for him,” theologian Natallya Vasilevich commented on the appointment of the new head of the BOC.