The Berlin Cathedral held a Sunday ecumenical prayer for peace, freedom and justice in Belarus. The event was attended by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, believers and priests of different confessions, representatives of the Belarusian diaspora.
The service took place on the initiative of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the Conference of Bishops of Germany and the Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany (ACK) with the support of the Christian Vision Working Group of the Coordination Council of Belarus.
The clergy from the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Evangelical churches delivered a sermon. Bishop of EKD Petra Bose-Huber emphasized in her speech that it is the ecumenical nature of the event that “corresponds to the multi-colored religious landscape in Belarus”.
Archbishop Heiner Koch addressed the Belarusians in his sermon: “You are not alone, we are standing next to you! Solidarity knows no boundaries, solidarity strengthens, solidarity gives courage. But you should also know that your behavior gives us strength, courage and encouragement. Our solidarity is not a one-way street, we live for each other. These days, we in Germany are learning from people in Belarus how valuable democracy and freedom of speech are, and that they should not be taken for granted.”
Archpriest Radu Constantin Miron added: “Christians in Germany celebrate Christmas this year differently than usual. I mean not only the pandemic, but also the fact that our hearts are heavy because of Belarus. Being a community means looking, perceiving, not looking away. We share with the people of Belarus their Christmas hope this year as a very concrete expectation of peace in their country.”
The leader of democratic Belarus Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya addressed the audience in English.
She thanked people for the solidarity, and also spoke about the role that believers of different confessions play in the struggle for freedom in Belarus. She ended her speech with the words: “God bless Belarus!”
At the end of the service, a video interview was shown by former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa. In his address, he compared the struggle of the Polish and Belarusian peoples and expressed his intention to nominate Belarusian women for the next Nobel Peace Prize.
The prayer was attended by about 170 people and was streamed live. Entrance to the cathedral has been restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before the service, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with representatives of the Belarusian diaspora. About three hundred people gathered at the Gendarmenmarkt with candles to honor the memory of those killed in Belarus and to express their support for the protesters.
Jeanna Kroemer, Belsat