Belarussian church submits document for governing church-state relations

The Belarussian Orthodox Church has submitted a draft agreement to the government for regulating the relations between the state and the church in political, economic, spiritual and social aspects.

Cooperation between the state and the church is vital for social stability, civil unity and religious peace, according to the document, a copy of which was obtained by Interfax on Tuesday.

The state "recognizes the church as a major social institution and the spiritual and cultural values of the church as the main national idea of the Belarussian nation," the document reads.

The church considers the state to be an indispensable social institution, which is aimed at ensuring social order and protecting morals and spiritual and cultural values, the document reads.

The state "acknowledges the fact of material and moral damage, which was inflicted on the church during the years of state atheism in the 20th century and will hand over all its property, sacred objects, and religious and theological literature that were confiscated from it or will partially compensate for the material damage caused to the church."

The authors of the document also suggest that the church should not be required to produce licenses for investment activities, including documents confirming information about investments sources, when constructing and reconstructing church buildings.