Belarussian Christians Abroad deciding to create the Network of Solidarity

July 8th, 2017 9:33 am

Marharyta Taraikevich is a member of Centre Ecumena, Belarus. She is Orthodox Christian, an amateur artist and has a Master in Socio-Pedagocial Sciences.  She is the author of the blog on the site ‘Belarussian Partisan’, writing on social issues, being particularly interested in problems of civil liberties and social solidarity, inclusion and freedom of movement.  

The First Working Meeting of Belarussian Theologists Abroad took place between 2-3 June in Tübingen, Germany. It was an event during which Belarussian Christians, who live in different countries (Germany, Belgium, Poland, France, United States), most of whom have academic degrees in Theology, had good time in discussions on actual problems of the Church and Christian life.

Enjoying sunny weather, good coffee and beer, walking up and down the streets of the tranquil campus town, we were sharing with each other our ideas, discoveries and fruits of our reflection. We have heard something new from each other, for example, about the evolution of the Church’s attitude to the world around; about the problems of understanding sex in its tradition; about the religiosity of teenagers in Belarus and Germany; about the communities of Christian youth; about the controversy of St. Athanasius and the Arians, as well as about the problem of definition of the term ‘Arians’ itself; about the issues of canon law; about the theology of Nikolai Afanasiev; about the development of Christian community life; about the problems of the divorce and its connectivity to the problems of understanding of marriage; about the authoritarian and humanist tendencies in the Russian Orthodox Church; about the participant’s experience of communication with theologists of other religions…

The most joyful and inspiring for me is the braveness with which I see the participants facing difficult and challenging questions. Nobody was afraid to sound unconventional; it was evident that we all respect the others’ and our own right of error, expecting that God shall cover our human errors with His love.

The important part of the meeting was the discussion on the possibilities to help our compatriots in Belarus and abroad. Particularly we would like to share with the Belarussian students, who are interested in scientific research, information on the ways to collaborate with European institutions. This is important as Belarus is a country in which the huge part of population has university education, and there are many students and young scientists who can share their work and ideas abroad, but many of them don’t have necessary contact information.

The meeting was preceded with participation in the events connected with the arrival in Germany of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, and followed by the Saint Lithurgie, that was served partly in Belarussian language. Also during the meeting, the books by Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom), translated into Belarussian language, were sold in order to collect money for the new special wheelchair for the famous Belarussian journalist and writer Daria Lis.

I hope that such meetings will be taking place regularly, as it is a really good way to change the ideas and to support each other.

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