Updated at 15:27,23-09-2020

Russian Orthodox Synod Appoints New Head Of Belarusian Church

Rferl

Russian Orthodox Synod Appoints New Head Of Belarusian Church
Bishop Veniamin of Borisov and Maryina Gorka has been appointed the patriarch's exarch of all Belarus. (file photo)
MINSK -- The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has granted a petition from Metropolitan Paval of Minsk and Zaslavl to dismiss him from his post as the patriarch's exarch of all Belarus.

Bishop Veniamin of Borisov and Maryina Gorka has been appointed the patriarch's exarch of all Belarus while remaining the temporary head of the Borisov diocese, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vladimir Legoyda said.

The synod appointed Metropolitan Paval head of the Kuban metropolitanate, Legoyda said.

The previous metropolitan of Kuban, Isidor, died on August 8 of complications from COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Paval became head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church in 2013.

Paval has been criticized by the Belarusian opposition for congratulating President Alyaksandr Lukashenka after an official tally from Belarus's August 9 presidential election showed he had won a landslide victory.

Paval has also been criticized for failing to react to the mass arrests and beatings of protesters amid demonstrations against the vote tally, which is disputed by opposition candidate Svyatlana Tsihanouskaya and her supporters.

"Compatriots place great hopes in you to protect the sovereignty of Belarus, while preserving our nation’s spiritual and cultural heritage," Paval said in an open letter to Lukashenka following the August 9 presidential poll.