Gomel oblast lies to the southeast of Belarus and borders on Briansk oblast /Russia/, Kiev , Chernigov and Zhitomir oblasts /Ukraine/.

The territory of Gomel oblast is 40,400 square kilometers. One third of the territory is covered with forests; the biggest rivers – the Dnepr, the Sozh, the Berezina and the Pripiat – are the most important navigable ways of Belarus .

There is the national park Pripiatskiy and the Polesye radiation-ecological reserve in the oblast.

Today there are 23 museums and 4 theaters and philharmonic societies in Gomel oblast numbers.

The region has 2,540 monuments, 1,360 of them are monuments of history and culture, 140 – of architecture and 1,040 – of archeology. And if the latter /they include ancient settlements and burial places/ are of interest only to archeologists and historians, the other places stir deep interest of the people who appreciate architectural masterpieces and are fond of the Belarusian history.

Metropolitan Pavel: My mission in Belarus is to continue good work of my predecessors

MINSK, 4 January (BelTA) - Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, said that his mission in Belarus is to continue the good work of his predecessors. He made this statement upon his arrival in Minsk on 4 January, BelTA learned.

“My mission is benevolent: to spread the Gospel, love, preach about salvation of every human soul and to do good, bring love to the people who live in Belarus,” Metropolitan Pavel said.

According to him, before going to Belarus he was very anxious as to how he would be received, though he had visited many countries, with different missions. Today, however, the role is totally new for the Metropolitan. “I am very excited. Addressing all citizens of Belarus I would like to say that I have the same flaws as all of you, but together we can do a lot of good,” Metropolitan Pavel said.

As was reported, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus, retired having reached the age of 75. Metropolitan Pavel of Ryazan and Mikhailov has been appointed Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk.

Metropolitan Pavel was born in Karaganda on 19 February 1952. In 1973-1976, he attended the Moscow School of Theology. In 1980 he graduated from the Moscow Theological Academy with a degree in theology. On 19 February 1992 by the decision of the Holy Synod he was appointed Bishop of Zaraisk and was put in charge of the patriarchal parishes in the United States and in Canada. In 1999, he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria. In 2001 he became Archbishop with the title of Vienna and Budapest. On 5-6 October 2011 following the decision of the Holy Synod, he was given the title of Ryazan and Mikhailov, and was appointed head of the newly created metropolia of Ryazan. On 8 October 2011 he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.

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Development, informational and technical support: BELTA, 2006