16 November 2018, Friday, 7:17
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Minsk Priest Banned From Service For Criticizing Patriarch Kirill

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ALIAKSANDR SHRAMKO

The Father wrote on Facebook about the contemptuous behaviour of the Moscow Patriarch with regard to the dwellers of Minsk.

Priest of the St.Michael Orthodox Parish in Minsk Aliaksandr Shramko has been banned from service. This follows from his facebook messages. The prohibition has been verbal so far, the official document is expected to arrive on Tuesday. “So far, this is an oral prohibition. We expected the Patriarch in the morning when they called me and said I could not serve a mass, there was a relevant ban. They said the details will be reported on Tuesday. So I am waiting. There can be different things: various themes, various conditions,” - Father Aliaksandr said in a comment for Radio Liberty.

Yesterday night, Aliaksandr Shramko posted the following note on his personal Facebook page, with a link to the Radio Liberty’s photo of the welcoming meeting of the Moscow Patriarch in Minsk. The priest criticized the behaviour of the Patriarch’s guards and the clergyman himself:

“Of course I realize that washing the feet of the homeless is too much of an effort. However, there are simple things that do not require any heroic acts. Or cost anything at all. But they are valued high. Maybe, someone from the Patriarch’s environment coulf prompt him… See, people wait for you for many hours in the street. They wait for you. They do. Still. Not so many as in the previous years. But still, somebody comes. You remain interesting for someone. Even if they are not allowed to the church, where the admission is granted only with special passes. They came and they will stand in the street for the whole day, being happy with the broadcasting on the screen. As if they cannot see something like this on Tv. Is it really that hard to give them a minimum live contact? Why driving to the very entrance to the church, without even turning around when getting out? Is it really that difficult to get out of the car some 100 or 50 meters earlier and walk several dozen steps, greeting and blessing people? To say several cordial words, to shake hands with someone? This is simple, right? And the benefit will be incfomparable… I don’t understand. I have reached the pension age and I still don’t understand. This looks like it is done on purpose… the people seem not to exist for the patriarchm but they do exist for his guards – in the form of a source of potential danger. Maybe this is just a … demonstrative contempt?”

Later, Shramko wrote that many people talked to him, including the guards, as “the patriarch was deeply impacted”. Kirill’s guards disliked it when Shramko photographed the number plates of the car in which the Patriarch arrived.

THE FAITHFUL WAITING FOR THE MOSCOW PATRIARCH TO ARRIVE

“They tried to convince me that it is normal that the patriarch has so many guards, that it’s the same everywhere and it doesn’t work any other way, like, I don’t realize how risky it is for the Patriarch. When I said that our Metropolitan was also a primate, but he has no guards, and so far nothing had happened, then in reply they said something disrespectful to the metropolitan: they say, he, therefore, did not deserve it, he is no important figure then. This was said by one of the well-known representatives of the patriarch’s circle, ” the priest wrote.

Shramko, who was already prepared for the Sunday service and was expecting the Patriarch, was not allowed to serve the mass today. According to the priest himself, on Tuesday they are waiting for him in the diocesan administration.

So, both clergymen and believers noticed:

- the Patriarch flew to Minsk on the Belarusian government plane “Bombardier Challenger 850”;

- He arrived to the service at the Mercedes with the number 0002 MI;

- at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit he was greeted with bread and salt, but he passed by;

- during the service in the cathedral he was guarded by priests with headphones a la "Agent Smith";

- He managed to declare that Belarus was part of Russia, but did not explain what should be understood by the word "Russia";

- ordinary believers watched worship on the screen.

Against the background of the visit, the Russian opposition priest Andrei Kuraev noted that Constantinople had canceled the historical affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church not only in Ukraine, but also in Belarus.