Europe’s Last Dictator Gives Award to Moscow Patriarch

Here’s a recent one I missed; from the Belarusian Telegraph Agency:

The visit of Patriarch Kirill to Belarus on 14 October will be dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the Kruptsy Icon of the Mother of God…

“The Patriarch will pay a visit to Belarus at the invitation of his Eminence, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret, Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus,” said the Exarchate.

Kruptsy is a former village which has since been absorbed into Minsk, and a “wonder-working” icon of the Virgin Mary appeared there in 1612. Details in English are scarce, although there is some information on this website. Other sites reference the “Krupetsky icon” and the “Krupetskii Mother of God”, while Google Maps names the area as “Vulica Krupcy” and the icon as the “Krupetskaja Icon”.

As well as visiting the church, Kirill opened a monument to his predecessor Alexey and met with President Lukashenko, dubbed “Europe’s Last Dictator“.

RIA Novosti has more on this last detail:

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday awarded Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the Order of Peoples’ Friendship.

…”This fully corresponds to the aspirations of the peoples of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine” he said. “You are a true friend of our country, and have proved this on numerous occasions, supporting us in the most difficult of situations.”

Lukashenko and the Patriarch have a long history of heaping praises on each other, and the tradition in fact stretches back to the Alexy years. In 2006, Patriarch Alexy praised the dictator’s support for “Christian enlightenment and moral health of society” and presented him with the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh “for strengthening unity of Slav peoples”. In June 2007 the Patriarch returned the favour with the order of St Vladimir of the First Degree.