The list is maintained by the Belarusian Christian ecumenical group, Christian Vision. Constantly updated. Accurate as of 31 October 2023.
The list is organized by religious affiliation and in alphabetical order.
To contribute to the list, use a Telegram bot @christianvisionBot or email, email@example.com.
Belarusian Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church in Belarus
Belarusian Greek Catholic Church
Evangelical Churches in Belarus
Belarusian Orthodox Church
Priest Uladzislau Bahamolnikau, Minsk, Minsk eparchy
Rev. Uladzislau Bahamolnikau, PhD in Theology, priest of the Epiphany parish a member of the Minsk Eparchial Court, philosophy lecturer at the Minsk Theological Academy, head of the Church History Museum of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
On 19 January 2021, the priest went on a hunger strike in solidarity with political prisoner, journalist Ihar Losik. On 30 August 2021, the Academic Council of the Minsk Theological Seminary suspended him from his job as a lecturer in philosophy.
On 31 August 2022, Rev. Bahamolnikau was brutally detained and placed in a detention centre on Akrestsina Street. GOBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) staff broke down the doors in his apartment and searched it. On 1 September, Rev. Bahamolnikau was arrested for 14 days. The police-affiliated Telegram channels reported that a priest who had assisted Ukrainian refugees was persecuted allegedly for raising funds for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and that he could face criminal prosecution under Art. 361-1 of the Criminal Code (Establishment of an extremist formation or participation in it), which provides for restriction of liberty for up to five years or imprisonment for a period of three to seven years. Unless a criminal prosecution was initiated, the police Telegram channels threatened the priest with rolling administrative arrests for more than four months.
Since 31 August Rev. Bahamolnikau spent seven consecutive administrative arrests for a total of 100 days. From the former cellmates of Bahamolnikau, it is known that the conditions of detention in the isolator were torturous, inhuman, and humiliating the dignity: overcrowded — the number of inmates was several times higher than the capacity — cell; ban on all types of parcels, including clothing, hygiene, medicines and vitamins, correspondence; poor heating and ventilation, electric lights on around the clock; absence of the equipped sleeping places, mattresses, and bedding. All prisoners were forced to sleep on the floor wrapped in clothes which they had at the point of detention. Rev. Bahamolnikau suffered from coronavirus and bacterial pulmonary infections, he had persistent heavy coughing. According to the people who were incarcerated with him in the same cell, the priest might have had signs of scurvy due to a lack of vitamins. Insufficient nutrition and illness led to serious weight loss (30 kilos). At the same time, access to the necessary medical care and medication was not provided.
On 9 December, a criminal case was started against Rev. Bahamolnikau under art. 342 of the Criminal Code; he was taken into custody. On 19 December 2022, he was released on bail.
Priest Aliaksandr Bohdan, Vaŭkavysk, Hrodna eparchy
On 13 September 2020, Aliaksandr Bohdan, priest of St Peter and Paul church in Vaŭkavysk, laid flowers by the Bagration Military History Museum in memory of Konstantsin Shyshmakou, the recently deceased Museum director. Rev. Bohdan knew Shishmakov personally. Following the laying of the flowers, the priest and friends went for a walk. On 30 September, the Vaŭkavysk District Court (Judge Leonard Divnel) issued a warning to priest Aliaksandr Bohdan based on Part 1 of Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Violation of the established procedure for holding a meeting, rally, street procession, demonstration, picketing, or other mass event). According to the court, the walk constituted an unauthorised mass event, and the fact that the priest walked in front was treated as leading a march. The Christian Vision group made a statement regarding the persecution.
On 16 October, for the second time in a month, another trial was held in Vaŭkavysk as part of the administrative process against priest Aliaksandr Bohdan. The priest was charged with participation in an unauthorised mass event that took place in Vaŭkavysk on 16 August. The priest insisted that in his view, the mass event on 16 August was permitted, since Mikhail Sitko, chair of the Vaŭkavysk District executive committee, announced it publicly on 14 August. The Vaŭkavysk District Court rejected that such permission had been granted. The court issued a second warning based on part 1 of article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences to priest Aliaksandr Bohdan. His colleagues from the Hrodna and Minsk eparchies attended the hearing in support of the priest. The Christian Vision Group issued a statement regarding the persecution.
Archpriest Uladzimir Drabysheuski, Homieĺ, Homieĺ Eparchy
Archpriest Uladzimir Drabysheuski is an Orthodox priest and former cleric of St Ioann of Karma church in Homieĺ, Homieĺ eparchy. He was dismissed from ministry by Archbishop Stephen of Homieĺ and Žlobin. Currently, he is a refugee in France, serving Orthodox Belarusians in Paris. A founding member of the Christian Vision group; contributes to the Christian Vision website. He signed the Open Letter of Christians of Belarus against violence.
On 13 August 2020, he stood by the building of the Investigative Committee wearing a cassock and holding a Stop the Violence placard (in Belarusian). He also joined various solidarity actions in Homieĺ. On 11 September 2020, he held a handmade placard near the Homieĺ State Technical University. The placard depicted Isaac Newton and his Third Law of Motion (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction) expressed both as a sentence and a physics formula. On 18 September 2020, the Saviecki District Court in Homieĺ (Judge A.N. Mokharau) sentenced Drabysheuski to ten days of administrative arrest under part 1 of article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences (Violation of the established procedure for holding an assembly, rally, street procession, demonstration, picketing, or other mass event). The Christian Vision Group made a statement regarding the incident.
On 28 September, immediately after serving his sentence from 18 September, Rev. Drabysheuski was subjected to another court hearing by the same court made of the same people. The priest was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest under the same article. He was accused of being present close to his place of living at 12 Savieckaja Street at 14:42 on 6 September, at the time when an unauthorized mass protest was taking place nearby. The Christian Vision Group made a second statement regarding the persecution of the priest.
In total, Rev. Drabysheuski spent 25 days in jail continuously. In the jail, his pectoral cross and cassock were taken away from him. Following the arrests, the Investigative Committee continued to intimidate the priest. A father of six, he was forced to leave the country with his family. On 28 December, Archbishop Stefan of Homieĺ and Žlobin issued Decree no. 37/20, “blessing» «… to deprive [Archpriest Uladzimir Drabysheuski]… of the right to wear clerical clothes (cassock, habit, kalimavkion) and the priest’s cross, and give the priestly blessing.”
Rev. Drabysheuski told his story at the hearings in the European Parliament on May 31, 2023.
Rev. Mikalai Haiduk, Hrodna, Hrodna Eparchy
Rev. Mikalai Haiduk, former acting rector of the house church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of the Hrodna eparchial administration, currently — a cleric of this church. Following the forced removal of Archbishop Artemy (Kishchanka) from the administration of the Hrodna eparchy, was dismissed from his former post by the new bishop, Antony (Daronin).
On 22 July 2021, Rev. Haiduk was dismissed from the position of acting rector of the home church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of the Hrodna eparchial administration in the Bishop’s courtyard and appointed a cleric of the same church (Decree No. 15).
Rev. Dziyanisi Karastsialou, Minsk, Minsk Eparchy
Rev. Dziyanisi Karastsialou, priest of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of Mother of God parish, Minsk eparchy of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
On 1 January 2023, during a religious service, the priest read out one of the written prayer requests «for the soldiers and defenders of Ukraine». On 3 January 2023, a denunciation of the priest was published on the propagandist Bondarava’s Telegram channel; the denunciation incorrectly indicated the date of the incident: 2 January. Bondareva also called on the security forces to deal with the priest.
On 4 January 2023, Metropolitan Veniamin (Tupeko) published a circular letter announcing that he had suspended Rev. Karastsialou effectively dismissing him from the ministry (removing him from performing religious services) until he repents. In the letter, Metropolitan characterised the incident as “the creation of a situation provoking misunderstanding and disagreements among believers, including on political grounds” and warned the clergy of the Minsk eparchy against repeating such actions.
On 5 January 2023, it became known that the priest was detained by GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) when a so-called «penitential» video was published on one of the police-affiliated Telegram channels. In the video, the priest explained that on New Year’s Day, after the liturgy, he said a moleben (Paraklesis) «For the soldiers and defenders of Ukraine» requested by a parishioner. GUBOPiK forced the priest to strip to the waist and photographed the tattoo of the Pahonia coat of arms and the inscription Bielaruś on his right shoulder. This photo with the naked torso of the priest was also published on the internet.
Rev. Karastsialou was arrested for 14 days.
Rev. Pavel Kaspiarovich, Hrodna, Hrodna Eparchy
Rev. Pavel Kaspiarovich, former cleric of the Holy Intercession Cathedral in Hrodna, is currently a priest of the St. Martha church in Hrodna.
Poet and musician. In August 2022, the magazine Litaraturnaja Bielaruś (Literary Belarus) published a selection of his poems, Gospel Motives, reflecting on the situation in modern Belarus, including the political crisis, in the Gospel stories’ metaphors.
On 7 November 2022, Archbishop Antony (Daronin) of Hrodna transferred Rev. Kaspiarovich from the Holy Intercession Cathedral in Hrodna to the St. Martha parish in Hrodna (Decree no. 32).
Archbishop Artemy (Kishchanka), Hrodna
Archbishop Artemy (civic name Aliaksandr Kishchanka) was born in 1952 and died on 22 April 2023.
Since the 2020 elections, Archbishop Artemy publicly spoke out several times against fraud and violence: in a statement on 14 August 2020; in a sermon on 16 August 2020; in a sermon on Forgiveness Sunday on 14 March 2021.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church attempted to distance itself from the statements of the Hrodna Archbishop. In an explanation published by the Synodal Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church for Relations between the Church and Society, On the Participation of Believers in Social and Political Life, the authors referred to some supposedly “numerous appeals and puzzling questions about the content of the sermon of His Eminence Archbishop Artemy of Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk delivered by him at the Cathedral in the city of Hrodna on Sunday, 16 August 2020”. They stated that “any statements in connection with the current difficult situation in the Republic of Belarus, made by individual representatives of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, express their personal civic position and only reflect the personal view of the person in question on what is happening”.
Following that, in August 2020, more than 300 priests, theologians, intellectuals, active laity, and employees of the BOC institutions wrote a letter of gratitude to Archbishop Artemy; a copy was sent to the Minsk Exarchate.
Later, a harassment campaign was launched against Archbishop Artemy: a collection of signatures calling for the resignation of Archbishop Artemy was initiated in the Holy Nativity of the Theotokos Convent in Hrodna headed by Abbess Gavriila (Glukhova). The convent enjoys a stauropegial status: it is not subordinate to the local bishop. Pro-regime bloggers, Yury Uvarau and Volha Bondarava, filmed videos attacking Archbishop Artemy, as well as criticising the icons of the New Martyrs in the Cathedral in Hrodna. During a visit to the Hrodna diocese on 14 October 2020, after a service in the Cathedral in Hrodna, in the presence of Archbishop Artemy, Metropolitan Veniamin announced that singing the Belarusian religious hymn Mahutny Boža (Mighty God) was allegedly “dividing society”. After receiving a letter from the Commissioner for Religious and Ethnic Affairs No. 02-02 / 81 on 27 November 2020 which warned the Belarusian Orthodox Church about “the absolute obligation of religious organisations to comply with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus”, on 17 December 2020 Metropolitan Veniamin sent a letter to Archbishop Artemy. Metropolitan informed Archbishop Artemy about the warning and instructed him to fulfil those requirements. It is unknown whether similar instructions were sent to other Belarusian Orthodox Church bishops.
On 8 June 2021, the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church decided to petition His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ and the Holy Synod “for the retirement of His Eminence Archbishop Artemy of Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk for health reasons.” At an emergency online meeting on 9 June 2021, the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church considered this petition and decided to accept the request. Archbishop Artemy was forcefully removed from his ministry of the eparchy bishop on a deliberately false pretext of — allegedly — “health reasons.” Archbishop Artemy claimed that he was dismissed «at the behest of the state.» The Christian Vision group issued a statement in which it expressed its «resolute disagreement with the politically motivated forcible removal of Archbishop Artemy and the canonical arbitrariness towards him.» Orthodox believers recorded a video in support of Archbishop Artemy. More than 60 graduates of the faculty of theology of the European Humanities University and the Institute of Theology of the Belarusian State University expressed public support for their mentor.
Following the death of Archbishop Artemy, the Christian Vision group published his letter to Patriarch Kirill written on the eve of his dismissal.
Rev. Aliaksandr Kukhta, Minsk, Minsk Eparchy
Rev. Aliaksandr Kukhta, former cleric of the parish of the Church of the Hieromartyr Vladimir Khirasko in Minsk, former member of the missionary department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, popular blogger (YouTube channel “Father will answer”). On April 6, 2023 he was accepted into the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Due to his unauthorized transfer to another local church, he was banned from ministry by Metropolitan Veniamin (Tupeko) of Minsk. Currently he is a priest of the Lithuanian Exarchate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and serves in the Belarusian parish in Vilnius, Lithuania.
One of the organizers of the spontaneous flash mob on August 8, 2020 “Orthodox Christians are against falsifications, and against humiliating and oppressing people”; a participant in the volunteer camp on Akrestsina Street; on November 12 served the memorial service for Roman Bondarenko on the square of Changes; on January 20 he submitted sureties for political prisoner Ihar Losik. During the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, he was in Lviv, moved there as a refugee, and was a volunteer on the Ukrainian-Polish border in the city of Przemysl (Poland). He signed an open appeal from the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church against the war. He recorded a number of anti-war and pro-democracy videos.
On January 21, 2021, he was dismissed from the Missionary Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
Due to the threat of persecution, he was forced to leave Belarus. On April 6, 2023, he was accepted into the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and serves in the Belarusian parish in Vilnius, Lithuania. Due to his unauthorized transfer to another local church, he was banned from ministry by Metropolitan Veniamin (Tupeko) of Minsk.
Archpriest Serhiy Lepin, agro-town Rakov, Volozhin district, Molodechno diocese
Archpriest Serhiy Lepin, rector of the parish of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord, agro-town Rakov, former Chair of the Synodal Information Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.
On 18 November 2020, the press secretary of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Rev. Serhyi Lepin, and Auxiliary Bishop of the Minsk and Mahilioŭ Roman Catholic Archdiocese, Jury Kasabucki, were summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office. They received a written warning concerning their Facebook posts criticizing the authorities vandalising the people’s memorial for Raman Bandarenka. This was preceded by Lukashenko’s call to deal with the clergy. This was preceded by Lukashenko’s appeal to curb clergy’s activism. The Prosecutor General’s Office’s warning stated that “certain terms and phrases used in the statements are in a intentionally peremptorily and aggressive mode (such as “mockery of the portraits of the murdered”, “what is this satanic tramping of candles and icons for” and etc.), thus deliberately building up tensions in the society, inciting hatred towards representatives of the state authorities, including law enforcement agencies, and, consequently, enflaming enmity towards those social groups of the population.” On 24 November, Lepin and Kasabucki were summoned to the Investigative Committee and informed of a linguistic examination of their social network posts being carried out. The results of the examination would determine whether a criminal investigation could be initiated.
On November 26, 2020, Rev. Lepin was forced to submit his resignation from the post of Chair of the Synodal Information Department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church. In support of Rev. Serhiy Lepin, 69 priests active in ministry appealed to Metropolitan Veniamin.
Priest Mikhail Marugo, Minsk, Minsk diocese
Priest Mikhail Marugo, clergyman of the parish of the Church of the Hieromartyr Vladimir Khirasko in Minsk.
After the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, on February 28, 2022, he was detained at the Minsk railway station during an anti-war rally, he was holding a bouquet of flowers in his hands.
On March 2, 2022, an administrative penalty was imposed on him in the form of arrest for a period of 13 days, which he served in the Žodzina temporary detention center.
Archpriest Anatol Nenartovich, Hrodna, Hrodna diocese
Archpriest Anatoly Nenartovich, former rector of the parish of the All Belarusian Saints’ Church in Hrodna, Hrodna diocese, is currently rector of the parish of the Icon of the Mother of God Calm my Sorrows in Hrodna in the Paharany-Kašeŭniki micro-district, Hrodna diocese
After the forcible removal of Archbishop Artemy (Kishchenko) from the administration of the Hrodna diocese, the new Bishop Antony (Daronin) was dismissed from his previous position along with a number of other priests of the diocese. Archpriest Anatol Nenartovich was dismissed from the post of secretary of the Hrodna diocese on July 19, 2021 “according to the submitted petition” (decree No. 13).
After the death of Archbishop Artemy, by decree of May 7, 2023, Archbishop Antoni appointed himself rector of the of All Belarusian Saints’ Church, and Archpriest Anatoly Nenartovich was transferred to a parish in the Paharany-Kašeŭniki micro-district, where he was ordered to build a temple. At the same time, he was dismissed from being a member of the eparchy council and head of the eparchy construction department.
He and his family were subjected to harassment in pro-government propaganda social media, in particular, in Volha Bondarava’s Telegram channel. In particular, On 7 May 2023, Volha Bondarava published a derogatory and insulting post against Archpriest Anatol Nenartovich and his family.
Priest Andrey Nazdryn, village Komatava, Hrodna district, Hrodna diocese
Priest Andrei Nazdryn, former rector at the parish of the Church of St. Spyridon of Trimythous in Hrodna, is currently rector of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in the village of Kamatova, Hrodna district, Hrodna diocese.
Fr Nazdryn was one of the priests who provided assistance to detainees during the peaceful protests in the summer of 2020. His main message in the context of the political crisis was a message of love, which he proposed to oppose to hatred in order to “achieve a free, independent, happy, truthful Belarus.”
In connection with the priest’s position on the war in Ukraine, according to the denunciation of pro-regime activist O. Bondarava, the police held a “preventive conversation with the priest about compliance with the law and preventing extremist offenses and crimes.”
In her channel, Bondarava called Nazdryn a “white-red-white priest” in derogatory and insulting manner who allegedly “stoked for a coup d’etat,” published the “Nazi anthem” (she means the song Mahutny Boža (Almighty God), reposted extremist materials and supported the “terrorist regime of the Ukrainian Reich.”
On May 18, 2022, Nazdryn was dismissed from all positions in the Hrodno diocese: rector in the parish of the Church of St. Spyridon of Trimythous in Hrodna, head of the missionary department and physical culture and sports liaison.
On 4 October 2023, a trial under Art. 11.19. Code of Administrative Offenses (Distribution of extremist materials) took place. The priest had been detained earlier; his phone and social media were searched. An Instagram subscription to Hrodna-based journalist, Ruslan Kulevich, was found. Kulevich’s social networks were designated as extremist materials in January 2023. An administrative process was initiated against the priest: a protocol was drawn up and a trial was scheduled. Judge Elena Tolstsik-Samoila convicted the priest to an administrative penalty: a 15 basic units fine. The “weapon of crime” — a mobile phone — was confiscated.
Archpriest Petr Prakaptsou, agro-town Prybytky, Homel district, Homel diocese
Archpriest Petr Prokoptsov is a former rector of the parish of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the agro-town of Prybytky, Homel district, Homel region, which is located 5 km from the airfield in Ziabraŭka, used by Russian troops for airstrikes in Ukraine. Currently a refugee in the United States of America.
Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is 3818). The priest was repeatedly approached by Russian military personnel stationed in the area with a request to consecrate military equipment used for airstrikes in Ukraine. He categorically refused, and in order to avoid pressure, he went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Spirit Monastery in Vilnius, Lithuania.
During this trip, Archbishop Stefan (Neshcharet) of Homieĺ threatened Rev. Prakaptsou to defrock him; the priest was forced to return. Rev. Prakaptsou was immediately summoned to the bishop and, straight after this conversation with the bishop, he received a call from the Homieĺ KGB department. The priest was questioned by a KGB operative about the reasons for the trip to Lithuania, how he arranged a visa, and whether he collaborated with the Christian Vision. Rev. Prakaptsou was forced to sign a statement warning against illegal actions, sponsoring terrorist activities, disseminating information discrediting the political regime and the president of the Republic of Belarus to foreign media, and calling for strikes. Fearing further pressure, the priest was forced to leave the country. He was banned from practising his priesthood by Archbishop Stefan (Nieshcharet) of Homieĺ. The priest spoke in more detail about the events and his position in an interview with Christian Vision.
Priest Siarhei Rezanovich, agrotown Sciapanki, Žabinka region, Brest diocese
Priest Siarhei Rezanovich, a former parish priest of St Michael the Archangel Orthodox church in the agrotown of Sciapanki in Žabinka region of Brest diocese. Church status is unknown at the moment.
On 1 December 2020, priest Siarhei Rezanovich, his wife Liubou and son Pavel were detained and placed in custody on suspicion of allegedly creating — alongside Mikalai Autukhovich, a well-known political prisoner — a terrorist group that set fire to cars and houses of security officials (art. 289 of the Criminal Code, Act of terrorism).
All members of the Rezanovich family have been recognised as political prisoners. They were in the pre-trial detention centre no. 7 in Brest.
In February 2021, the state television station ONT showed a two-episode documentary Protest TNT, in which they appeared during interrogations. According to the film, the Rezanoviches are facing criminal prosecution for allowing Autukhovich to stay at their house, and various ammunition and weapons were allegedly found during a search in the house.
On 1 December 2021, they were transferred to prison no. 1 in Hrodna. The whole family has been included in the list of persons «involved in terrorist activities» under numbers 731 to 733.
On 18 May 2022, the trial in the «Autukhovich case» began. According to the state television news agency, Mrs Rezanovich was placed in a segregated cage as «particularly dangerous». Fr Siarhei Rezanovich refused to testify in court. The testimony given by him during the investigation was read out instead. According to the testimony, he allegedly heard from Mikalai Autukhovich about his unspecific intentions to shoot down the so-called Board no. 1 — Lukashenko’s plane — from a hand grenade launcher. On 17 October 2022, the trial ended; the charges of attempted terrorism against Siarhei Rezanovich were dropped, but he was sentenced to 16 years in a high-security colony and a fine of 600 basic units. His wife Liubou was sentenced to 15 years in a penal colony under general regime conditions and a fine of 600 basic units. Pavel Rezanovich was sentenced to 19 years in a strict regime colony and a fine of 800 basic units. All members of family were tortured during investigations and trial.
Pavel Rezanovich has a law degree and works in the enforcement agencies in the city of Brest; nevertheless, he signed a pre-prepared testimony but stated in court that physical and psychological torture was used against him. He named the officials who tortured him: KGB investigator from Brest, Tsyareshyn; and Head of the Hrodna KGB Investigative Department, Varanyetski. According to Pavel Rezanovich, Tsyareshyn brought a prepared ‘script’ on four sheets, which Pavel had to sign. Varanyetski threatened the accused with a punishment cell and judges who would punish Rezanovich to the maximum. “The KGB officers frightened me with the arrest of my wife, and at the same time, they dragged my mother along the corridor and beat her for me to hear her screams. Under such conditions, one would sign anything” — testified Pavel Rezanovich. According to the state television news, a 58-year-old Mother Liubou Rezanovich was labelled “especially dangerous” and placed in a separate narrow cage during the trial. The cage has no facilities to sit easily despite the fact that the woman suffers from joint pain in her legs. Political prisoner Aleh Kulesha, who was in the same cell with Pavel Rezanovich claimed that he heard how, during interrogations, Mrs Rezanovich was “driven to madness by moral pressure; she would start crying loudly throughout the prison, there were tantrums.” At the same time, Pavel Rezanovich and Siarhei Rezanovich were in the cells next to the room where the interrogations were taking place. They could hear their mother and wife crying and screaming. «Pavel would begin to beat at the door; he would immediately be placed in a punishment cell for several days. After a while, this story repeated itself again. Mrs Rezanovich was deliberately led past the door of the cell in order to torture father and son in this». Pavel Rezanovich attempted to file a complaint about torture. It also became known that Pavel Rezanovich was forced to choose the Criminal Code article under which he would be accused, only the articles carrying the punishment of six and more years in prison were offered.
Archpriest George Roy, Hrodna, Hrodna diocese
Archpriest George (Yuri) Roy, former rector of the Holy Intercession Cathedral in Hrodna, former rector of the Church of the Holy Righteous St Ioann of Karmiansk church in agrotown Kvasoŭka, Hrodna district, Hrodna diocese. On April 6, 2023, he was accepted into the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and serves in the Belarusian parish in Vilnius, Lithuania. Due to his unauthorized transfer to another local church, he was banned from serving by Archbishop Antony (Daronin) of Hrodna.
He actively helped those detained during peaceful protests in 2020, opened a cathedral so that protesters could hide from persecution, and made pro-democracy and anti-war publications on his social networks. Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is the first).
After the forcible removal of Archbishop Artemy (Kishchenko) from the administration of the Hrodna diocese, Rev. George Roy was dismissed from his previous position by the new Bishop Antony (Daronin) along with a number of other priests of the diocese. On July 19, 2021, Rev. George Roy “according to the submitted petition,” which he was forced to write under pressure, was relieved of his post as rector of the Holy Intercession Cathedral in Grodno and from July 20 was appointed to the post of rector of the Church of the Holy Righteous St Ioann of Karmiansk church in agrotown Kvasoŭka, Hrodna district (decree No. 12).
Due to the threat of persecution, he was forced to leave Belarus. On April 6, 2023, he was accepted into the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and serves in the Belarusian parish in Vilnius, Lithuania. Due to his unauthorized transfer to another local church, he was banned from serving by Archbishop Antony (Daronin) of Grodno.
Priest Sergiy Timoshenkov, Minsk, Minsk diocese
Priest Sergiy Timoshenkov, clergyman of the parish of the Church of St. Nicholas of Japan in Minsk, Minsk diocese.
On December 14, 2020 he was dismissed from the post of Head of the Synodal Missionary department of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, alleregedely “due to heavy workload and some other circumstances”. In November 2020, Timoshenkov criticised the meeting of Metropolitan Veniamin with Alexander Lukashenko; he also defended the Mahutny Boža (Almighty God) hymn.
Priest Ioann Tyutyunnikov, Žodzina, Borisov diocese
Priest Ioann Tyutyunnikov, an Orthodox priest from the city of Žodzina, rector of the currently built Transfiguration of the Lord Orthodox parish, as well as a priest at the Redeemer Icon of the Mother of God parish in Žodzina, Borisov diocese.
On August 13, 2021, it became known that Priest John Tyutyunnikov was detained. According to the Telegram channel Maja Kraina Bielarus, Rev. Ioann Tyutyunnikov was detained due to playing Viktor Tsoi’s song Peremen! (Changes!) in his car. The priest was initially arrested for 10 days, however, according to his parishioners, a 5,000 rubles fine was imposed instead later on.
Archimandrite Alexy (Shynkevich), Minsk, Minsk diocese
Archimandrite Alexy (Shynkevich), former clergyman of the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Minsk, Minsk Diocese, currently off the staff.
On 8 May, one of the best-known Belarusian propagandists, Hryhory Azaronak of the STV (a state-owned TV channel), expressed on his Telegram channel indignation at the sermon of Archimandrite Alexy Shynkevich. The sermon was delivered in the Minsk Cathedral on the same day. It contained a call to pray for the repose of the soul of the recently departed first leader of independent Belarus, Stanislau Shushkevich. Referring to an anonymous and false denunciation, the propagandist used such insults against the respected priest as Gapon, Judas, and Christ-seller who must be “etched out of the body of the Church”. Azaronak also appealed to the «state security bodies of Belarus» to sort out the situation in the Cathedral.
As a result, Metropolitan Veniamin (Tupeko) of Minsk banned Archimandrite Alexy (Shynkevich) from preaching, suspended him from performing divine services, and removed him from the staff.
Priest Alexander Shramko, Minsk, Minsk diocese
Former clergyman of St. Michael’s parish in Minsk, Minsk diocese, off the staff. Currently a refugee in Lithuania. Member of the Christian Vision group, member of the Coordination Council. Regular author of the Christian Vision website, well-known publicist.
During peaceful protests in Belarus, he made various statements in the media, participated in recording videos, and became the founder of the Christian Vision group. Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is 461).
On 14 September 2021, a policeman came to the home of an Orthodox priest Alexander Shramko, a blogger and member of the Christian Vision Group. The policeman explained his visit to the priest’s relatives by his interest in Shramko’s “destructive” activities in Telegram, in particular, in his channel Pop vnye igry (Pop Offside). Shramko was not at home.
Currently, he is in forced emigration to Lithuania due to the risk of persecution.
Roman Catholic Church in Belarus
Rev. Antony Adamovich, Pieršamajsk, Hrodna Diocese
Rev. Antoni Adamovich, born in the Hrodna region, graduate of the local theological seminary, and a rector of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic parish in Pieršamajsk (Ščučynski district, Hrodna voblasc).
On 13 August 2023, he was detained, and the vicarage was searched. The police attempted to detain the priest in the church, but the people prevented it. The day before, Rev. Adamovich was summoned to the village council; there, he was interrogated, and his phone was taken away for examination.
Rev. Adamovich was subjected to administrative prosecution and arrested for the distribution of extremist materials (Article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences).
Rev. Viachaslau Adamovich, Idolta, Vitebsk diocese
Rev. Viachaslau Adamovich, rector of the Blessed Virgin Mary Wearing the Scapular parish in Idolta (Miory district, Vitebsk region).
He was detained on May 25, 2023. On the same day, in addition to him, another Roman Catholic priest from the Miory deanery, Rev. Andrei Kulik, was detained. Adamovich was subjected to administrative arrest for a period of 7 days for reposts on social media: according to Art. 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offences (Distribution of extremist materials) for reposting from an independent media recognized as extremist by the government, as well as under Art. 24.23 (Participation in mass events) for using a white-red-white flag and the coat of arms Pahonia in a Facebook profile.
Rev. Henryk Akalatovich, Volozhin, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Rev. Henryk Akalatovich, parish priest St Joseph parish in Volozhin, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese. 63 years old.
In the spring of 2023, he underwent an oncology-related surgery and suffered a heart attack; requires medical supervision and medication.
Rev. Akalatovic was detained on 17 November 2023 as part of a criminal case under Part 1 of Art. 356 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (Treason to the state). This article provides for from seven to fifteen years of imprisonment.
A search was conducted in the priest’s parental home in the village of Novaja Myš (Baranavichy district).
Rev. Aliaksandr Baran, Lyntupy, Vitebsk diocese
Rev. Aliaksandr Baran, rector of the parish in Lyntupy (Vitebsk region). He was charged under two articles of the Code of Administrative Offenses: 24.23 (Unauthorized picketing) — for the white-red-white Belarusian and Ukrainian flags on the profile image, and 19.11 (Distribution of extremist materials) — for likes and comments under publications of “extremist” webpages.
Spent 6 days in the temporary detention center. On April 4, the court in Pastavy imposed 10 days of arrest on him. On August 9, 2022, it became known that he again received 17 days of arrest under Art. 24.23.
Rev. Viachaslau Barok, village Rossony, Viciebsk diocese
Fr Viachaslau Barok, rector of the Roman Catholic parish in honor of St. Iosaphat Kuntsevich in the village Rossony, Viciebsk region. Member of the Christian Vision group since its foundation.
He took part in peaceful protests and also maintained his own blog on YouTube, where he spoke out about the events taking place in the country from the point of view of Catholic social teaching. Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is 5047).
On 12 November 2020, Fr Viachaslau Barok, was summoned by senior investigator K. I. Zubko to the district office of the Investigative Committee “as a witness”. The true reason for the summons was an examination under Article 174 of the Criminal Procedural Code, “decisions following statements about or reports of crime.” The subject matter of the examination was Fr Barok’s YouTube channel which the priest uses for his vlog. Among other topics, the priest frequently discussed the socio-political crisis in Belarus the light of the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The investigator announced that a linguistic examination of the vlog content and Instagram posts would be initiated.
On December 1 in Rossony, Viciebsk region the trial began (judge Rada Dominic) over priest Viachaslau. He was charged with violation of article 17.10 of the Code of Administrative Offences, “propaganda and (or) public display, production and (or) distribution of Nazi symbols or paraphernalia”, started. Allegedly, Fr Barok committed a crime by reposting on Instagram a work Stop Lukashism! by a well-known artist, Vladimir Tsesler. On 3 December, the court sentenced Fr Barok to ten days of arrest. The Christian Vision Group issued a statement protesting the persecution of Fr Viachaslau Barok.
On 12 January 2021, Fr Barok received a letter from the Investigative Committee informing that on 4 January 2021 — the day following Pope Francis’ acceptance of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz’s resignation — the examination of the priest’s activities on social networks was suspended due to “not receiving the results of the examination” (under part 1.2 of article 173(3) of the Criminal Procedural Code). According to the letter, the reason for the aforementioned examination was to identify the calls «aiming to incite extremism and harming the national security of the Republic of Belarus».
On 29 January 2021, Fr Barok was summoned to the Investigative Committee again. He was told that nine new examinations of the eight videos had been initiated. One of the examinations was in relation to reposting Vladimir Tsesler’s work Stop Lukashism!, for which the priest had already been subjected to imprisonment.
On 1 July 2021, Fr Viachaslau Barok was summoned to the Rasony district police station on suspicion of violating Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offences initiated by the Haradok police regarding a photograph posted by Fr Barok on his Instagram on 14 June 2021. The photograph was discovered by an employee of the Viciebsk Regional Internal Affairs Department. The photograph attributed to him was taken on the Polish side of the Polish-Belarusian border, near the Bobrowniki border crossing, during a solidarity protest on 12 June 2021. In the photo, the children of Antanina Kanavalava and Siarhei Yarashevich—both have been recognised as political prisoners by the Belarusian human rights organisations — were holding a sign with the words, SOS! My motherland is in great trouble! The children are refugees in Poland; they have to stay with their grandmother there. The photograph was widely published on various media websites, Telegram channels, and social networks as far back as 12 June 2021. It was signed ASh / Belsat. The head of the Rasony district Department for the Protection of Law and Order and for Crime Prevention, major M.G. Perapechkin, informed Fr Barok of the two Haradok prosecutor’s sanctions: to inspect the church, parish hall, and the priest’s house; and seize all the found equipment and information carriers. During the questioning, Fr Barok’s personal Samsung smartphone was seized. Due to the errors in the church buildings’ addresses in the prosecutor’s papers, the police could not proceed with the examination of the premises. In addition to familiarising with the administrative prosecution materials, Fr Barok was informed of the prosecutor’s formal warning in relation to the extremist materials allegedly posted on the priest’s social networks. The warning was signed by the Viciebsk Region’s first deputy prosecutor, D.A. Shapavalau, on 25 June 2021 and read to Fr Barok by an assistant prosecutor, S.S. Aleshka.
Due to the renewed persecution, Fr Barok had to leave Belarus on Monday, 5 July 2021. The Christian Vision Group published a statement about this case of persecution. On 14 October 2022, the Rasony district court recognized the video Fr BAROK — about Lukashenko and Satan, the Pope and Repentance, Freedom and Death as extremist material. On 25 November 2022, the police came to Rev Barok’s father who lives in Miory (Viciebsk voblasć) to interrogate him in connection with his son, Fr Viachaslau Barok, taking part in the video Belarusian Priest Said When Lukashenka’s Regime Would Fall published by the Charter 97 YouTube channel two months earlier. The police asked whether Rev Barok was an alcohol and drug user and whether he owns the property. The police were also interested in when the priest would return to Belarus.
Father Vyacheslav Barok told the story of personal persecution during a hearing in the European Parliament on May 31, 2023.
Rev. Andrzej Bulczak, Pastavy, Viciebsk diocese
Fr Andrzej Bulczak, former rector of the Merciful Jesus Roman Catholic parish in Pastavy, Viciebsk region.
Due to the threat of persecution, Bulczak, a Polish citizen who lived in Belarus for 14 years, was forced to flee the country. On May 13, 2022, he was fined in absentia in the amount of 30 basic units under art. 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Dissemination of extremist materials).
Rev. Vital Chabatar CMF, Mahilioŭ, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Vital Chabatar CMF, vice-dean of the Mahilioŭ deanery, vicar of the parish of St. Anthony of Padua in Mahilioŭ.
Was detained on November 17, 2022. He was sentenced to a 15-day administrative arrest. The reasons for the persecution remain unknown.
Rev. Valery Douhul, Minsk, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Valery Douhul, vicar of the parish of Saints Simeon and Helen in Minsk.
He lived in the priests’ dormitory (plebania) in the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk. On July 13, 2023, in the plebania, GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) officers conducted a search of two clergy living there, including Fr Valery Douhul, the priests were detained, interrogated and threatened. Parishioners who saw the priest after the interrogation noted that he had signs of beatings on his face.
Due to the threat of persecution, he was forced to leave Belarus in mid-July 2023.
Rev. Aliaksandr Fiadotau SCJ, Hrodna, Hrodna diocese
Fr Aliaksandr Fiadotau, Order of Priests of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, vicar of the parish of Divine Mercy in Grodno — Vishnevets.
On August 9, 2020, he was on the street in Baranаvičу during a peaceful protest together with another Catholic priest, Fr Eduard Sinkevich. Both were dressed in secular clothes; during the protests, the clergy did not in any way position themselves as belonging to the clergy.
The priests were detained. On August 10, a trial took place in Baranаvičу i, priest Aliaksandr Fiadotau received 8 days of administrative arrest under Article 23.34 of Code of Administrative Offences.
Bishop Jury Kasabucki, Minsk, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Auxiliary Bishop of the Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus.
Throughout the political crisis, he often spoke out in sermons and on social networks against violence and in support of peaceful protest.
On November 18, 2020, he, as well as the press secretary of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Rev. Sergiy Lepin, were summoned to the Prosecutor General’s Office. They received a written warning concerning their Facebook posts criticizing the authorities vandalising the people’s memorial for Raman Bandarenka. This was preceded by Lukashenko’s appeal to curb clergy’s activism. The Prosecutor General’s Office’s warning stated that “certain terms and phrases used in the statements are in a deliberately peremptorily and aggressive mode (such as “mockery of the portraits of the murdered”, “what is this satanic tramping of candles and icons for” and etc.), thus deliberately building up tensions in the society, inciting hatred towards representatives of the state authorities, including law enforcement agencies, and, consequently, enflaming enmity towards those social groups of the population.”
On 24 November, Lepin and Kasabucki were summoned to the Investigative Committee and informed of a linguistic examination of their social network posts being carried out. The results of the examination would determine whether a criminal investigation could be initiated.
On the night of May 19, 2021, an attack was carried out on the building of the Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese Curia of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, located at Revaliucyjnaya street 1a, by unknown persons: a concrete flower pot was thrown at the door. The entrance was damaged and the intercom was broken. In addition, the car of the rector of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk, Antony Klimantovich, parked nearby, was damaged. The car was hit with bricks and the windshield was broken. It should be noted that the courtyard in which the parked car is located in close proximity to GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption), and has surveillance cameras overlooking it. The day before, Bishop Jury Kasabucki spoke in support of the TUT.by portal.
Rev. Andrei Keulich, Horki, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Andrei Keulich, dean of the Mahilioŭ deanery and parish priest of the Bialyničy Mother of God parish, Mahilioŭ region.
He was detained on April 18, 2022 after mass. In the Horki district department of Internal Affairs, a protocol was drawn up against him under part 2 of article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offenses in relation to Facebook reposts from the Belsat TV station and Radio Liberty recognized as extremist media in Belarus. Both reposts concerned Russian military aggression against Ukraine. The priest’s mobile phone was confiscated. On May 12, the court sentenced him to a fine of 20 basic units.
Rev. Antony Klimantovich, Zaslaue, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Antony Klimantovich, rector of the parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Zaslavl, former rector of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk.
On the night of May 19, 2021, during an attack on the building of the Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese Curia of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, located at Revaliucyjnaya street 1a, the parked car of priest Antony Klimantovich was damaged, the car was hit with bricks, the windshield was broken.
In May, the priest was summoned to the security forces and the contents of his mobile phone were checked. In June 2023, propagandists dedicated a number of discrediting publications to him, criticizing the priest’s hunting hobby, and also alleging that he “leaked information to Motolko and BYPOL.”
On July 6, 2023, he was dismissed from his post as rector of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk.
On July 13, 2023, in the plebania of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk, GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) officers conducted a search which also affected priest Antony Klimantovich, who was still acting as rector of the cathedral. On August 2, 2023, he was summoned to the police department for a conversation, but was not detained.
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Minsk, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, former leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, former Minsk-Mahilioŭ Metropolitan, former chairman of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus, currently retired Archbishop of Minsk-Mahilioŭ.
During the political crisis in Belarus, he made statements against violence. In particular, the Metropolitan’s statement of August 11, 2020 on the need for dialogue, a call to government authorities on August 14, 2020 to “start a constructive dialogue with society, stop the violence and release all innocent citizens detained during peaceful protests.” He initiated a meeting on August 21, 2020 the Minister of Internal Affairs Yuri Karaev regarding the unlimited violence that is used against civilians by internal affairs officers.
On 31 August 2020, despite being a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, was not allowed back to the country on his way back from Poland. He was told his passport was invalid. Such a ban on return to the country is illegal: it violates international agreements (such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 12), the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus (article 30) and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus (Law no. 49-3 of 20 September 2009 “On the procedure for leaving the Republic of Belarus and entering the Republic of Belarus by citizens of the Republic of Belarus”, article 3). This is a violation of a citizen’s right to return to his own country, as well as a case of intimidation of a religious leader personally and the religious community as a whole.
On 4 September, Lukashenko commented on the situation with Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz. He openly accused him and the entire Catholic Church in Belarus of anti-state activities. After a series of diplomatic steps taken by the Vatican (a visit of the delegation led by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States of the State Secretariat of the Holy See on 11-14 September 2020; a visit of the Pope’s special envoy, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, on 17 December) Archbishop Kondrusiewicz was able to return to Belarus on the Christmas Eve, 24 December 2020. Soon after, on 3 January 2021, on the day of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz’s 75th anniversary, Pope Francis accepted his resignation due to reaching the retirement age (75 years for Catholic bishops). The 75-year-old Kazimierz Wielikosielec, an Auxiliary Bishop of the Pinsk Diocese, was appointed a locum tenens of the Metropolitan See.
Rev. Andrei Kulik, Miory, Viciebsk diocese
Fr Andrei Kulik, rector of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Miory, Viciebsk region
Detained on May 25, 2023, together with another Roman Catholic priest from the Miory deanery, priest Vyachaslau Adamovich. Rev. Kulik spent 3 days under arrest. Rev. Kulik was also accused of social media posts, but his administrative prosecution case was sent for revision; he has not yet been subject to administrative punishment.
Aleh Butkevich, a Roma Catholic Bishop of Viciebsk, appealed to the authorities and the Apostolic Nunciature regarding the case of Rev. Kulik.
Rev. Igor Lashuk, Staubcy, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Igor Lashuk, rector of the Church of St. Casimir in Staubcy, Brest region.
On March 4, 2022, he led a pilgrimage along the border with Ukraine with a statue of the Archangel Michael, during which “exorcisms were read so that the demon of war would leave the Kremlin.” On April 20, he received a summons under Article 19.11 (Distribution of extremist materials) for reposting on social media. His mobile phone was confiscated. The court, which took place on April 28, fined him in the amount of 30 basic units.
Rev. Mikalai Lipski, Novalukomĺ, Viciebsk diocese
Rev. Mikalai Lipski, rector of the Mary Magdalene parish in Novalukomĺ (Čašniki district, Viciebsk voblasć).
He was detained after examination of his mobile phone; reports were drawn up against him under part 1 of art. 24.23 (unauthorised picketing) and part 2 of art. 19.11 Code of Administrative Offenses (distribution of “extremist” materials on social networks). He spent two days in detention.
On 27 October 2023, Čašniki district judge A. S. Smirnova punished the priest with a 1,850 rubles (530 euros) fine and confiscated his phone.
Rev. Vyachaslau Pialinak, Brest, Pinsk diocese; a priest of the Viciebsk diocese
Rev. Vyachaslau Pialinak ministers in the Exaltation of the Holy Cross parish in Brest, Pinsk diocese where he resides; he is a priest of the Viciebsk diocese.
Rev. Pialinak is 48 years old, 21 years in priesthood; he was the first personal secretary of the Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti.
He was detained by security forces on 22 November 2023 after a morning church service. A search was carried out, and a mobile phone and laptop were confiscated.
Rev. Dzmitry Prystupa SCJ, Liachavičy, Pinsk diocese
Priest of the Order of Priests of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, previously served in the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Liachavičy, Brest region, currently in Poland.
On August 11, 2020, in Baranovichi, he was sitting behind the wheel when the military repeatedly hit his car. While trying to drive away from them, the car accidentally hit one of them with a mirror inflicting «bodily harm in the form of a bruise on the lower third of the right thigh, as well as physical pain». Consequently, Prystupa was charged under article 364 (Violence against a police officer) providing up to six years of imprisonment. To avoid the prosecution, the priest left the country.
On 13 January 2021, the story was reported by state television. In the report, Dzmitry Prystupa was called a «former priest«, which was untrue, and was accused of “inciting religious hatred”.
Rev. Yury Rashatko, Minsk, Minsk diocese
Priest of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in the city of Minsk.
During the events of 2020, as a deacon, he participated in pan-Christian prayers for peace, justice and against violence — including the prayer on August 13, 2020 on Svabody square in Minsk. On November 4, 2020, he undertook a single picket against the presentation of credentials to A. G. Lukashenko by the Vatican Ambassador, Archbishop Ante Jozić.
He lived in the dormitory (plebania) of Catholic priests of the Archcathedral Church of the Most Holy Name of the Virgin Mary in Minsk. On July 13, 2023, in the plebania, GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) officers conducted a search of two clergy living there, including priest Yury Rashatko, the priests were detained, interrogated and threatened.
At the end of July 2023, he was forced to leave Belarus.
Rev. Eduard Sinkevich SCJ, Pastavy, Viciebsk diocese
Priest of the Order of Priests of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, administrator of the parish of St. Joseph in agro-town Paris, Pastavy district.
On August 9, 2020, he was on the street in Baranаvičу during a peaceful protest together with another Catholic priest, Fr Aliaksandr Fiadotau. Both were dressed in secular clothes; during the protests, the clergy did not in any way position themselves as belonging to the clergy.
The priests were detained. On August 10, a trial took place in Baranаvičу, priest Eduard Sinkevich received 10 days of administrative arrest under Article 23.34 Code of Administrative Offences.
Rev. Yauhen Uchkuronis, Smarhoń, Hrodna diocese
Fr Yauhen Uchkuronis, rector of the Roman Catholic parish of St. John Paul II in Smarhoń, Hrodna region.
He was accused of distributing “extremist materials” for reposting information on Facebook from the pages of Belarusian independent media, which are persecuted by the regime as “extremist”. On July 8, 2023, he was fined in the amount of 20 basic units.
Rev. Andrei Vashchuk SDS, Viciebsk, Viciebsk diocese
Former rector of the Roman Catholic parish of the Holy Spirit, Viciebsk, member of the order
He was detained on July 15, 2022 under part 1 of article 24.23 (Violation of the procedure for organising or holding mass events) and until the trial he was kept in the Pieršamajski District Department of Internal Affairs of Vitebsk. The case file included a profile picture on Facebook with a white-red-white flag, as well as other “protest” photographs, including with the flag of Ukraine. Twice subject to administrative penalties in the form of arrest for 15 days. The first time was on July 18, and on July 23 it became known that he received another 15 days. A discrediting campaign was launched against him in pro-government telegram channels. On August 15, 2022, he was forced to flee Belarus. On September 9, 2022, he was fined in absentia in the amount of 320 rubles under article 19.10.
Rev. Yuri Zhegaryn, Navahradak, Hrodna diocese
Fr Yuri Zhegaryn, rector of the Church of St. Archangel Michael, Navahradak.
The pro-regime Telegram channel drew attention to the fact that in 2021 the priest reposted a Radio Liberty publication from 2016 about the reconstruction of the Navahradak Castle. For this, a protocol was drawn up against him under article 19.11 (Distribution of extremist materials). On July 17, a trial took place, the priest was fined 555 rubles.
Rev. Viktar Zhuk SJ, Viciebsk, Viciebsk diocese
Father Viktor Zhuk, member of the Order of Jesus (Jesuits), rector of the Church of St. Vladislav in Viciebsk.
He was detained on December 8, 2020 in Viciebsk together with the Greek Catholic priest Aliaksei Varonka. They were tried on 9 December. The case based on Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences was sent for rework. The second hearing took place on Christmas Eve, 24 December. Judge Mikhail Yurchenko issued a warning to all three accused. About forty people attended the hearing in support of the accused, including Aleh Butkevich, Bishop of Viciebsk, and five other priests.
Rev. Andrei Zhylevich OFMCap, Minsk, Minsk-Mahilioŭ Archdiocese
Fr Andrei Zhylevich, member of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, former director of the Caritas organization.
In August 2020, Rev. Zhylevich was under the walls of Akrescina cetention center together with Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusevich. Soon after the Department for Humanitarian Affairs at the Belarus President Property Management Directorate prevented charity from receiving foreign funding for one of its projects (see the related section). In February 2021, Fr Zhylevich publicised the fact of the charity being prevented from receiving charitable aid.
On April 15, 2021, he was replaced at the post of the organization, the Capuchin Anatol Yaroshka became the new director of Caritas.
Belarusian Greek Catholic Church
Rev. Vital Bystrou, Ivacevičy
Rev. Vital Bystrou is currently a priest of the Žyrovičy Mother of God parish in Ivacevičy.
On 25 October 2020, he was in the city of Brest during a mass protest there. According to the priest, on that day, “an officer in the rank of lieutenant colonel, approached me and asked which church I belonged to and where I was from. I replied that I was a priest of the Greek Catholic Church, also known as Uniate. He told me that Athanasius of Brest-Litovsk, who at the beginning of the 17th century was an ardent opponent of the church union, is well-known in the city now. I answered that in the same city, the union between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches was signed.” On 30 November 2020, Rev. Bystrou was sentenced to ten days of arrest by the Ivacevičy District Court (judge Vasily Avrusevich) for violating article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences. In connection with the “participation of the priest in unauthorized events”, even before his trial, the parish in Ivacevičy was issued a warning (for more details, see the Persecution of Religious Organizations, Communities and Leaders section).
The Žyrovičy Mother of God Greek-Catholic parish in Ivacevičy, Brest voblasć, received a formal warning related to “the priest’s participation in unauthorized events”. This happened despite the fact that the priest, Rev. Bystrou, does not belong to the local parish clergy, but only lives in Ivacevičy. The priest was sentenced to ten days of arrest by the Ivacevičy district court (judge Vasily Avrusevich) for violating article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences. The press office of the Curia of the Apostolic Visitor for the Belarusian Greek Catholics issued a statement of surprise with “the warning to the parish in Ivacevičy for the events that took place in Brest”, and pointed out the absurdity of punishing a parish for the actions of the priest who does not belong to the clergy of this parish. The statement also expressed regret that the warning was issued to the parish “for the activities of an individual, which reveals the signs of introducing the practice of collective responsibility.”
On 24 November 2022, Rev. Bystrou was again detained for 72 hours. At the moment, it is not known what penalty he was subjected to.
Rev. Igor Kondratyev, Brest
Priest Igor Kondratyev, rector of the Church of the Holy Brothers of the Apostles Peter and Andrew in Brest
On 16 August 2020, Rev. Igor Kondratyev made a speech at the meeting of protesters attended by many thousands of people. He called for the release of detained and severely beaten protesters.
On 20 August, following the interviews in which the priest gave a moral and ethical assessment of the situation in the country, Kondratyev was summoned to the prosecutor’s office. He was issued a written warning for organising unauthorized events. At the same time, the Brest Regional Executive Committee issued a warning to Fr Kondratyev’s parish of St Brothers Apostles Peter and Andrew. The warning contained a threat to close the parish by court order. On 2 November 2022, just before the evening prayer service, Rev. Kondratyev was detained in the church of St Brothers Apostles Peter and Andrew in Brest.
A search was carried out in his house, in the Church of the Holy Brothers of the Apostles Peter and Andrew in Brest, where Kondratiev serves, as well as in the parish house.
Judge Andrey Hrushko sentenced the priest to 12 days of administrative arrest. Also, the editor of the Greek Catholic newspaper Carkva, Ihar Baranouski, a parishioner of the same church, was detained; this indicates the persecution of the religious community.
Rev. Aliaksandr Shautsou, Polack
Fr Aliaksandr Shautsou, rector of the Greek Catholic parish of the Holy Martyr Josaphat Kuntsevich in Polack.
He was detained on May 25, 2023. On May 26, a trial was held, the priest was charged with Article 19.11 Part 2 of the Administrative Code (Distribution of extremist materials). The repost of independent media on the social network Vkontakte was considered as an offense.
As a result, an administrative penalty was imposed on him for a period of 15 days. On June 2, 2023, another court hearing was held under Articles 19.11 and 24.23 of the Administrative Code, under which he received another 30 days of arrest. In total, the priest spent at least 45 days in prison.
Priest Aliaksei Varonka, Viciebsk
Priest Aliaksei Varonka, vicar of the Greek Catholic parish of the Resurrection of Christ in Viciebsk.
He was detained on December 8, 2020 in Viciebsk along with Roman Catholic priest Viktar Zhuk SJ and a lay believer Aliaksei Karakou. On December 9, 2020, a trial took place under Article 23.34 of Code of Administrative Offences. The case was sent for revision. The retrial took place on the eve of Christmas on December 24. Judge Mikhail Yurchanka issued a warning to all three. About forty people came to support the priests and the believer, including Bishop of Viciebsk Aleh Butkevich and 5 other clergy.
Rev. Vasil Yahorau, Mahilioŭ
Priest Vasil Yahorau, rector of the Greek Catholic parish of of the Mother of God of Bialyničy i in Mahilioŭ.
He was detained on March 25, 2022 for having a “Ukraine, forgive me” sticker on his car. From March 25 to March 28 he was kept in a temporary detention center. On March 28, the court fined him 50 basic units.
Evangelical Churches in Belarus
Antoni Bokun, pastor of the John the Baptist Church of Evangelical Christians, Minsk
Pastor Antoni Bokun, the John the Baptist Church of Evangelical Christians, Minsk
In September 2022, after the state authorities banned the New Life Church from holding Sunday services in the church car parking, Rev. Antoni Bokun and the pastor of the New Life Church, Viachaslau Hancharenka, continued them despite the ban.
Rev. Bokun was detained on 22 September 2022; on the next day, he was fined 100 base units (3,200 rubles).
Ilya Budai, youth pastor of the New Life Church, Minsk
Pastor Ilya Budai, youth pastor of the New Life Church
Ilya Budai was detained on 14 August 2023 after 20 GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) staff equipped with machine guns broke into the house of his father-in-law, pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka. The house was searched, Hancharenka and Budai were detained. On 15 August 2023, the Minsk District Court arrested Budai for five days under Article 19.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Petty hooliganism) for allegedly «using obscene language and waving his arms.» His relative, Rev. Hancharenka, was arrested for ten days under Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Disobedience to a lawful order or demand of an official in the exercise of his official powers).
Vital Chychmarou, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Baptists Church “Light of Hope”, Minsk
Vital Chychmarou, pastor of the Light of Hope Baptist Church. Member of the independent metalworkers’ trade union. In 2020, the pastor was an active participant in the trade union movement for fair elections and decent working conditions.
On April 19, 2022, he was searched and his equipment was seized, the pastor himself was detained, and on the same day other members of the independent trade union in Minsk were also detained. Chichmarev was taken into custody. On November 11, 2022, he was convicted under Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (organization and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order) for 3 years of restriction of freedom without being sent to an open correctional institution (the so-called «home khimiya»). Taking into account the time spent in the pre-trial detention center, the pastor has 1 year and 10 months of «home khimiya» left to serve. He was released in the courtroom.
Viachaslau Hancharenka, pastor of the New Life Church, Minsk
In September 2022, when the authorities banned the New Life Christian Church from holding Sunday services in the church parking lot, the pastor of the New Life Christian Orthodox Church, Viachaslau Hancharenka, together with the pastor of the John the Baptist Church, Antoni Bokun, held such services despite the ban.
On September 20, 2022, Pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka was invited to the the Frunzienski district police department in Minsk and detained there; on the same day he was fined 100 basic units (3,200 Belarusian rubles).
The church community was subjected to a number of persecutions. On 7 December 2020, the Enforcement Office of the Central Department of Justice of the Minsk City Executive Committee issued an order to the New Life Full Gospel Church to vacate its premises at 72 Kavaliova Street by 31 December 2020. Failing to fulfil the order, the church would be evicted forcefully at 11:00 on 5 January 2021. The community announced worship for 10:00 on 5 January. It was attended by nearly 200 church members. At 11:00, bailiffs and representatives of the housing department of Maskoŭski District in Minsk arrived. They were not allowed into the building. The pastor of the church, Vyacheslav Goncharenko, and its administrator, Vitaly Antonchikov, came out to meet the representatives and affirmed that the community would not vacate the building. A protocol of non-compliance with the order was drawn up. Attempts to evict the community from the building started in 2005. In 2012, the enforcement proceedings against the church were stopped, but the litigation resumed in 2013. A new round of conflict began in 2019 in connection with the revised plan for the urban development of Sucharava microdistrict.
On 17 February 2021, bailiffs and police broke the door with a chainsaw and entered the building. Some of the possessions of the community were sealed up, the rest were removed by the members of the church. The building is controlled by law enforcement agencies. The Christian Vision Group issued a statement about this incident. Since the premises were confiscated, the community has held open-air services in the immediate vicinity. On 27 July 2021, the administration of the Moskouski district of Minsk sent a letter signed by the deputy head of the administration V.N. Kanaplyou to the New Life Church. The letter informed that open-air religious services required permission from the authorities and warned about violations of the law by the community. On 5 August 2021, the Minsk City Executive Committee sent a letter to the community. It was signed by the deputy chair of the Committee A.N. Tsuran. In the letter, the community was once again notified that according to the reconstruction plan of the Sucharava microdistrict, the church building on 72 Kavaliova Street was to be demolished. It also reminded of the land tax arrears issued by the state property management company, although the land belonging to church communities is exempt from such tax. On 1 September 2021, the human rights organisation, Forum 18, published a special report on the situation of the New Life Church: BELARUS: Administrative, criminal charges for evicted Church’s outdoor worship? In September 2022, authorities banned the church from holding Sunday worship in the church car park. Forum 18 reported on the events: BELARUS: Fines, ban on serving in the parking lot for the New Life Church. On 20 June 2023, the demolition of the 72 Kovaleva Street building began.
On August 14, 2023, 20 submachine gunners from GUBOPiK (Ministry of Internal Affairs Department for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption) broke into the house of Pastor Viachaslau Hancharenka. A search was carried out in the house, the pastor and his son-in-law Ilya Budai were detained. On August 15, 2023, the Minsk District Court arrested the pastor for 10 days under Article 24.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus (Disobedience to a lawful order or demand of an official in the exercise of his official powers), and his relative for 5 days under Article 19. 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Petty hooliganism) for allegedly «using obscene language and waving his arms.»
Filip Ivanou, Lidziya Hormash, spouses, ministers of the New Testament Evangelical Church, Minsk
Pastor Filip Ivanou and his wife Lidziya Hormash, ministers of the New Testament Evangelical Church (evening church), Minsk.
They were detained on July 5, 2022. After his arrest, Philip was released, and his wife was taken into custody on a criminal case, a political prisoner. On 29 September, Hormash was sentenced to 2 years of the so-called «khimiya» (an open-type correctional institution); taking into account the time served in the pre-trial detention centre, she still has 1,5 years of «khimiya».
They were forced to emigrate from Belarus.
Barys Lapshyn, pastor of the Grace of Christ Christian Church, Biahomĺ, Dokšycy district, Viciebsk voblasć
Pastor Barys Lapshyn from the Grace of Christ, Biahomĺ Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith, father of two children, forestry worker. On Sunday, 22 October 2023, he was summoned for a conversation at the Lepieĺ District Department of Internal Affairs. His mobile phone was examined; there, a Facebook repost considered the dissemination of extremist materials (part 2 of article 19.11 of the Administrative Code) was found.
On Monday, 23 October 23 2023, a court trial took place; the pastor was arrested for 10 days.
Andrei and Vera Mamoika, spouses, pastor and minister of the New Earth Evangelical Christian Baptists Church, Minsk
Andrei and Vera Mamoika, spouses, pastor and minister of the New Earth Evangelical Christian Baptists Church, Minsk. Famous musicians who took part in the recording of several albums of Christian music. Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is number 60).
On 1 February 2023, the fact of detention of Andrei Mamoika and his wife, Vera Mamoika, elders of the New Earth Baptist Church, became known. The reason for the arrest was the published photos from the 2020 protests. A criminal case against the spouses was initiated under art. 342 of the Criminal Code (Mass riots) and they were placed in custody for ten days in a detention centre on Akrescina Street in Minsk. Then they were transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 1 on Volodarsky. They were recognized as political prisoners.
The spouses’ case was heard on April 20, 2023 in the Central District Court of Minsk (judge Victoria Shabunia). Court decision: 2 years and 6 months of “home detention” (restriction of freedom without referral to an open correctional facility).
Dzmitry Padlobka, pastor of the Church “Living Faith”, Homieĺ
Dzmitry Padlobka, pastor of the Living Faith Christian Church, Homieĺ.
On 29 July 2022, pastor Dzmitry Padlobka from Homieĺ was sentenced for violating the procedure for holding mass events (art. 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Offenses), in particular — holding water baptism in his garden without special permission. The pastor was fined 20 basic units (640 rubles). The Norwegian human rights organisation, Forum 18, produced a detailed report about this case.
The police also officially cautioned Padlobka that for repeated ‘unauthorised’ baptisms he could be prosecuted in a criminal case and requested the pastor for a year to attend monthly face-to-face meetings with a district police officer as part of crime preventive activities.
Siarhei Paulouski, pastor of the New Generation Charismatic Church, Minsk
Siarhei Paulouski, pastor of the pastor of the New Generation Charismatic Church (according to other sources, the Life Church), Minsk. For more than 10 years he has been working with alcohol and drug addicts, being the director of the Way of Freedom charity.
Information about his arrest appeared on October 11, 2022. The religious association of Full Gospel Christian communities issued a statement in support of the persecuted pastor. From the statement it becomes clear that the pastor was subjected to administrative arrest for 12 days for “minor hooliganism”.
A penitential video has been published on social media associated with the security forces. There, Sergei Paulouski admitted that he participated in the 2020 protests. The video is accompanied by a mocking comment alleging that the pastor used the rehab centre patients for his own propaganda purposes. Attached to the post was also a photo of the pastor holding a white-red-white flag with the inscription ‘Let my people go’ — a reference to the Old Testament Book of Exodus’s story of the release of Israelis from Egyptian captivity; this biblical phrase was used by Christian activists in peaceful protests in 2020.
Aliaksandr Plotnikau, pastor of the Church of the Christians of Evangelical Faith in Čašniki (Viciebsk voblasc).
Aliaksandr Plotnikau, pastor of the Church of the Christians of Evangelical Faith in Čašniki (Viciebsk voblasc).
On 6 November 2023, he was detained and taken to the local police station.
Raman Razhdziestvienski, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Baptists Church in Vieramiejki, Čerykaŭ district, Mahilioŭ region
Raman Razhdziestvienski, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Baptists Church in Vieramiejki, Čerykaŭ district, Mahilioŭ region, which is part of the Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists in the Republic of Belarus. Member of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party.
He was detained on March 25, 2022, his computer and phone were confiscated. The reason for the arrest was reposts on social networks from an independent media channel recognized as extremist, as well as the likes under posts in this channel. By the evening of the same day, the pastor was released pending trial. On April 5, a trial took place over him in Čerykaŭ, as a result of which a fine of 20 basic units was imposed on him.
Mikalai Svinko, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Church “Wings of Faith” in the village of Siniehava Staradarožski District, Minsk region
Mikalai Svinko, pastor of the Evangelical Christian Church “Wings of Faith” in the village of Siniehava Staradarožski District, Minsk region. The pastor was standing next to his parishioners during the peaceful protests in Staryja Darohi on 14 and 16 August. He held pastoral conversations with them, encouraged to maintain the peaceful and non-aggressive character of the protests. He considered supporting his parishioners in seeking truth and justice to be his pastoral duty.
On September 3, 2020, a trial began against the pastor under Part 1 of Article 23.34 Code of Administrative Offenses, and on September 4, judge Diana Filatova issued a warning to the pastor, despite the absence of any evidence of an offense.
Taras Telkovsky, pastor of the Reformed Church, Minsk
Taras Telkovsky, pastor of the Reformed Church, Minsk. Currently, he left Belarus and is the pastor of the Trinity Evangelical Reformed Church in Warsaw, Poland.
Participated in general Christian prayers for an end to violence and a resolution of the political crisis. Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is number 41).
On 27 August 2020, in solidarity and support of the right to freedom of religion — following the incident that took place a day before when the riot police blocked the entrance to the church (see the relevant section) Christian believers planned to hold a procession from the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Cathedral on Svabody Square in Minsk to St Simon and St Helena Roman Catholic church (Red Church) on Independence Square. When they approached the Cathedral, they saw that it was surrounded by law enforcement officers in plain clothes.
When the believers gathered at the end point of the procession — at the Red Church on the Independence square, they read several psalms and prayed briefly, the pastor of the Evangelical Church Taras Telkovsky, read psalms and prayed for Belarus and the release of political prisoners. Immediately after that, the group was surrounded by riot police. All the men from this group were detained and taken to the Pieršamajski district police station where protocols were drawn up under art. 23.34. Pastor Taras Telkovsky was fined 30 basic unites (810 Belarusian rubles). He was forced to leave Belarus.
Aliaksandr Tsyrykau, pastor of the Grace Church of the Christians of Evangelical Faith in Rasony (Viciebsk voblasc).
Aliaksandr Tsyrykau, pastor of the Grace Church of the Christians of Evangelical Faith in Rasony (Viciebsk voblasc).
On 3 November 2023, pastor Tsyrykau and his wife, Nina Tsyrykava, were detained and taken to the local police station.
Pastor Tsyrikov was charged with article 24.23 part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus (Picketing), he was arrested for 10 days and served it in Polack. His case was considered by judge Alyena Yelavaya. Tsyrikova was charged with article 19.11 part 2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (Promotion of extremism), she was arrested for 5 days and served it in Vierchniadzvinsk. Her case was considered by judge Rada Daminich.
Siarhey Udalyou, pastor of the Evangelical Reformed Church, Mahilioŭ.
Signed the Open Letter of Christians in Belarus against violence (his signature is number 5577).
On September 29, 2021, a protocol was drawn up against him under Part 2 of Article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (distribution of extremist materials) for a Facebook post dated March 25, 2021. On October 13, 2021, judge of the Leninsky District Court of Mahilioŭ, Victoria Polyakova, issued a decision on an administrative penalty against the pastor in the form of a fine in the amount of 10 basic units (290 rubles), as well as confiscation of the mobile phone from which the post was made.
On 3 June 2023, Protestant pastor Siarhey Udalyou was brutally detained by riot police. According to Mahilioŭ office of the Viasna human rights organisation, the volunteers of the animal protection groups accidentally witnessed the detention. According to them, when the pastor was in his car near the Mahilioŭ Ice Sports Palace, police jumped out of a “dark car with tinted windows”; they pulled Udalyou out of his car and brutally pushed him into the ground. Volunteers managed to trace that the police car reached Pijanierskaja Street where the Mahilioŭ regional department of the KGB is located. The Christian Vision group learnt that the pastor was released after interrogation. The reasons for the detention remain unknown; it may have been suspected of political disloyalty or the fact that Udalyou studied at a Reformed Protestant seminary in Ukraine. He received threats of criminal prosecution and was forced to leave Belarus.
Aliaksandr Yashnikau, pastor of the 2nd Minsk Evangelical Christian Baptists Church of Christ, Minsk
Aliaksandr Yashnikau, pastor of the 2nd Minsk Evangelical Christian Baptists Church of Christ, Minsk
Detained on June 17, 2023. He was accused of «disobedience to the police».
Aliaksandr Zaretski, pastor of the Evangelical Church, Novalukomĺ
Pastor Aliaksandr Zaretski, Evangelical Church in Novalukomĺ (Čašnicki district, Viciebsk region).
On 8 July 2021, a search took place in the house of Aliaksandr Zaretski, pastor of the Evangelical Church in Novalukomĺ (Čašnicki district, Viciebsk voblasc). After signing a letter against violence, Zaretski was invited to the local police station and to the district’s Head of Ideology department. Currently, Zaretski’s status is one of a witness; he is under a non-disclosure agreement.
On 4 November 2021, the Akciabarski district court of Viciebsk (judge Uladzimir Tsarykau) considered an administrative case against the Evangelical Church under Part 3 of Art. 15.5 of the Administrative Code (Submission of inaccurate information about the goods at declaring goods or in an application for release of goods before filing a declaration for goods to the customs authority). The case was initiated by Viciebsk Customs, which claimed that church representatives incorrectly declared the trademarks of some goods received from a partner organisation in Sweden. Due to the insignificance of the offence, the court decided to release the religious organisation from liability.
Pastor Aliaksandr Zaretsky was detained on April 20, 2023, judge Irina Kruchinina subjected him to administrative arrest for a period of 15 days under Article 19.11 of the Code of Administrative Offenses for liking and commenting on online publications on resources recognized as extremist by the authorities. Immediately after the period of administrative arrest expired, he was again detained and arrested for 15 days by the same judge under the same article. 19.11 Code of Administrative Offenses (distribution of extremist materials). Such materials were considered to be a photograph of him with a child against the background of a white-white flag, which was accompanied by graphic images of the TUT.BY logo, as well as a publication from the Internet community Radio Svaboda.