A mass for health and speedy release of Andrei Sannikov, a presidential candidate in Belarus, Zmitser Bandarenka, "European Belarus" coordinator, and all Belarusian political prisoners was celebrated on August 21 in the St. Bartholomew church in Vilnius by father Yan Shutkevich, a former dean of Minsk cathedral.
"Today we are praying for Andrei Sannikov, Zmitser Bandarenka and all Belarusian political prisoners, who were thrown into Belarusian prisons because they had been fighting for freedom of their country. Today entire Belarus is fighting for freedom. Let us thank God for the people who sacrifice their freedom for the sake of us all. When I was a dean of Minsk cathedral, I told President Lukashenka (Lukashenko) personally: "All those who take up the sword against their nation, will perish by the sword." These are the words of Jesus Christ," said Father Yan Shutkevich during the mass.
Father Yan has also noted during the mass that "efforts of any dictator are futile against the will of Jesus Christ, who said that all people should be equal and free."
St. Bartholomew church was filled to capacity. Public activists and human rights watchdogs from Belarus and Lithuania, as well as Vilnius common residents, attended the service.