Lukashenko struggles with Roman Catholic Church


Eastern Europe


Funeral service in the so-called Red Church in Minsk. The Lukashenko regime has imposed several restrictions on the parish now. Photo Wikimedia Commons

The Belarussian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has attempted to keep a tight grip on his nation since the controversial elections in 2020. One of his targets is the Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church is having a hard time in Belarus, News Eastern Europe writes. Although Lukashenko pretended to send best wishes to the Pope on his 86th birthday in December, he does not seem to have much empathy for the followers of the Head of the Vatican.

Bloody repressions

Slowly but surely, the Belarussian government tightens the net around the Roman Catholic Church in the country. During the past twelve months, the regime has passed a series of restrictions affecting Roman Catholic believers. The Roman Catholic Church experience increasing pressure, mainly because it speaks out against human rights violations that the regime has been guilty of since 2020.

In that year, Aleksandr Lukashenko claimed to have won the Presidential elections. However, the opposition claimed that the ballots had been full of fraud. Protests broke out throughout the country, and the regime tried to silence critical voices through bloody repressions.

Trivial reasons

The conditions for the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus have only worsened since. Believers have been persecuted for trivial reasons, such as singing hymns written by certain composers, News Eastern Europe reports.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered even more suppression. As Lukashenko expressed his support for Russia, the Roman Catholic Church once again protested.

As a result, the regime has arrested several priests for political reasons. News Eastern Europe mentions the example of priest Alexander Baran from Lyntupy. He was detained because he posted a flag of Ukraine and the flag of the Belarussian opposition party on social media. Another priest that was arrested was Andrej Kevlich. The reason for his arrest was that he decorated his profile picture on social media with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Other priests have been expelled from the country. One of them is Andrzej Bulczak, who is accused of distributing extremist materials, News Eastern Europe reports. He had published a video on YouTube that showed a Belarussian girl writing a letter to Poland stating that the Belarussian population was against the war.


In the Belarussian capital Minsk, the authorities have even closed a Roman Catholic Church. They took several measures, such as turning off the hot water from the building so that the parish members would leave the building, Invictory reports.

Believers started to take firewood to the Church until that was also forbidden last January. The members of the Church have managed, but they fear further closer or even the seizing of the building.


According to News Eastern Europe, Belarussian repression of the Roman Catholic Church has nothing to do with Communism or a wish to return to the Soviet Union. The news website instead points out that the authorities see the Church as a Western tradition. Thus, they depict Catholics as foreign agents, which leads to more restrictions than other faith groups.

In addition, many Catholic believers are originally Polish. That may be another factor playing into the repression, as the relationship between Poland and Belarus is not very good.

Lastly, the Belarussian regime may be annoyed at the fact that the Church challenges its central authority and questions its violent approach to the protests after the election. By taking harsh measures against the Church, Lukashenko might want to make clear what the boundaries of the Church are and when it is to keep silent.



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