Religion in Belarus
Belarus is a multi-religious state. There are currently 26 confessions in Belarus. The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus guarantees religious liberty. Christianity is the prevailing religion in Belarus. In Belarus, traditionally there are Christian (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Old Believers, Protestantism) and non-Christian (Islam, Judaism) confessions. Orthodox religion is the most common in Belarus. Orthodoxy is the largest and oldest Christian confession in Belarus. Orthodoxy came to Belarus at the end of the 10th century. Orthodoxy and Catholicism have a lot of the same beliefs; both believe that there is a single God who created everything and a savior, the son of God, Jesus Christ who is the forgiver of sins. However, Orthodoxy is decentralized so each Orthodox bishop oversees his local communities (parishes), giving each orthodox community a different leader. In this way, no bishop has more power than any other, meaning the tenants and interpretations of the faith remain relatively unchanged. These beliefs are based on the Bible teachings, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, in particular the life and teachings of Jesus. The majority of the Belarusian citizens adhere to Eastern Orthodoxy in some form, although the Soviet Union suppressed religion for a number of years causing many adherents today from regularly practicing.
Christmas is celebrated on the following dates in Belarus:
On December 25 – Catholic Christmas;
On January 7 – Orthodox Christmas.
Also there is a special religious day in Belarus – the 9th Day after Orthodox Christmas. On this day people in Belarus visit cemeteries to pay respect on the tombs of their relatives and close friends. There are over 1000 Orthodox churches in the Republic of Belarus. The number of churches increases every few years. Belarus has a rich religious history. Religious tourism is very developed in Belarus. There are a lot of holy places in Belarus where you can cleanse the soul and join the holy sources. There are about 200 sacred Sources in the country. The water from such sources is characterized by purity, clarity and remarkable taste, high content of healthy salts and minerals.