Throughout its history, Belarus has always had a large variety of people of various national and ethnic backgrounds, and there should be no surprise that there have always been a wide range of religious organizations as well.
There are many other Internet resources about the world's religions and the following list does not attempt to be exhaustive. I refer you to the various search tools and other Internet forums to locate such information. Also, search your list of usenet newsgroups for groups containing the word "religion" as well as the name of the religion you are interested in.
Among the organizations currently providing much-needed aid in Belarus related to the aftermath of the Chornobyl disaster, there are also evangelical Christian organizations.
There are entries for several religions on the www.belarus.net Web site. There are also "place holders" that indicate there are plans to include links for Judaism, Islam, and other religion-related information within Belarus.
See also Religion in Belarus,
An essay summarizing the history of religion in Belarus. At The Virtual Guide to Belarus Web Site, which is the best source on the Web for cultural information about Belarus.
See also Holidays and traditional celebrations in Belarus,
A calendar of holidays: ancient pagan, religious, & Soviet. (Includes translation of the Belarusian month names into English.) This information is also at The Virtual Guide to Belarus Web Site, which is the best source on the Web for cultural information about Belarus.
Web site does give (in Belarusian) a list of churches and their schedules within Mensk. (Note: Otherwise, not much information here as yet directly about Belarus; mostly links to world-wide Catholic Web sites and news.)
Placeholder for Catholic Christian (from Cardinal Kasimierz Svientek) information at www.belarus.net in Belarus
Introductory Notes: Religious theology among the various Orthodox Christian factions is very similar. However, religion in Belarus has always been political.
An independent Orthodox Christian church has not existed in Belarus since the late 18th century. In the late 19th century, about the time of Belarusian nationalistic uprisings, including those led by Kastus Kalinouski, people were forcibly converted to the Russian Orthodox religion, and churches were built in many villages, as part of Russification. They have always espoused pro-Russian political ideology, whether Czarist, Soviet, or Lukashism, and up through the present, they have included agents of the Soviet/Russian intelligence service.
Today (2001), the Russian Orthodox church in Belarus has a favored position in many ways. Other religions are often persecuted at the hands of the government. It is also alleged to be the largest importer of tax-free cigarettes and alcohol, and the personal wealth of the church's leader, Metropolitan Filaret, is said to be second only to Mr. Lukashenka and his cronies.
Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church
The Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (BAOC) continues the legacy of a Belarusian national church, and was revived shortly after World War II.
The Orthodox Christianity Internet mailing list provides a forum for the discussion of all issues pertaining to church history, all matters liturgical, meetings/seminars/workshops, church music, the practice of being Orthodox, calls for, as well as discussion of, prayer, Orthodox in Russia, sainthood and saints, readings and references.
The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) Web site provides extensive information about parishes in North America. This organization encompasses many ethnic and national backgrounds, and is not part of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchy of Moscow.
Note: The three, Belarusan Autocephalous Orthodox Churches listed on this page do not appear to belong to OCA.
"According to Mr (Ismail) Aleksandrovich, mufti of Belarus' Islamic community, there are now about 44,000 Muslims, including about 20,000 Azerbaijanis, 12,500 Tatars, 5,000 Uzbeks, nearly 2,500 Kazakhs, appoximately 2,000 Tajiks and Turkmens, and about 1,500 Arab students.
"The country also has four mosques (in Ivye, Novogrudok [Navahradak], Slonim, and Smilovichi). 'We will soon have a fifth mosque, as the Muslim community in the settlement of Vidzy in the Braslav district of the Vitebsk region has been given a building for this purpose,' Mr Aleksandrovich added." Source: BelaPAN, No. 94; Tuesday, July 28, 1998; 7:50 p.m.
The third congress of the Belarusian Muslim associations took place in March, 1998. The venue was the House of Friendship in Mensk, and delegates from 23 Muslim communities were in attendance.
There is a "place holder" at the www.belarus.net Web
site within Belarus for Islam. Check back with that site.
"At the turn of the century, over 50 percent of the population of Mensk, Hrodna, Mogiliev, and Viciebsk were Jewish (98 percent of native Belarusians lived in the countryside). Today, Jews consititute one percent of the national population." Information from the Minsk in Your Pocket guide, Summer, 1997, page 30; Winter, 1997-98, page 31.
Union of Religious Jewish Congregations of the Republic of Belarus
"This organisation has at least 20,000 members and has twelve regional offices. It effectively represents virtually the entire observant community and the Jewish community at large. It supplies humanitarian and medical aid and is affiliated with World Jewish Relief in the United Kingdom and B'nai B'rith in the States. Our offices welcome everyone regardless of faith and
we are glad to offer assistance and advice to visitors to Belarus. We are
very keen to build bridges between Belarus and the West."
The Main Synagogue of Minsk is also located at the same site and has daily morning and evening services.
Rabbi of the Minsk Central Synagogue: Iosif Gruzman
I think this is the same organization as the Judaic Religious Association (JRA), since they both have the same president.
More than 700,000 Jews were killed in 163 ghettoes in Belarus
during World War II.
Zaslavskaya, behind Hotel Yubileynaya and not far from the Hotel Planeta (About a few hundred meters (quarter of a mile), across the intersection in a park-like low area & at the base of several apartment buildings.)
The memorial stone commemorates some 5,000 Jews who were shot and buried, some still alive, in this gully in 1941.
In February, 2000, it was announced that a monument to Holocaust victims is to be erected on Sukhaya Street in Mensk. In part, the monument is to to commemorate members of the 42 Belarusian families that saved Jews from executions.
There is a "place holder" at the www.belarus.net Web
site within Belarus for Judaism. Check back with that site.
Judaism - outside of Belarus (emigre)
The Eastern European Jewish History Internet mailing list provides a forum for the discussion of all issues pertaining to the history and culture of Jews in the lands of eastern Europe, including Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belarus, and the Russian Federation.