22 January 2018, Monday, 1:34

Holy See Secretariat: Belarus now is like in Stalin's times


A Belarusian Catholic, who is prosecuted by the authorities, has visited Vatican.

Catholic Aliaksei Shchadrou, the founder of a shelter for homeless people in the village of Aliaksandrauka in the Hrodna region, has visited Vatican. The Missionary of Charity Brothers met him in Rome. Father general Sebastian and Shchadrou visited the Pope's secretary. The founder of the shelter hopes for Vatican's help in his attempts to register the shelter in Belarus as a community of the Missionary Brothers, Radio Svaboda reports.

According to Shchadrou, the Pope's secretary asked many questions about the existing problems and difficulties and was surprised to hear that the authorities fear to register the social organisation. He even said that nothing changed in Belarus since Stalin's times. Shchadrou gave documents on the shelter to the secretary, who promised to monitor the situation.

In June 2013, a criminal case was opened against Aliaksei Shchadrou, who organised the shelter for the homeless in several houses that he had bought earlier in Aliaksandrauka. He was charged with opening an “unregistered religious organisation and running it without registration” (article 193.1 of the Criminal Code). The local media call Shchadrou and the people living in his shelter “sect members”. Some months later, he managed to register the social organisation”Believe in Yourself” with the help of human rights activists. The criminal case against Shchadrou was closed.

Ten people live in the shelter now. Five of them are confined to bed, others help repair the church.