Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday awarded Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the Order of Peoples' Friendship.
Lukashenko praised the patriarch's dedication to preserving the unity of the church and the “Slavic fraternity.”
“This fully corresponds to the aspirations of the peoples of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine” he said. “You are a true friend of our country, and have proved this on numerous occasions, supporting us in the most difficult of situations.”
The relationship between Russia and Belarus has long been strained, with gas supply prices being a particular bone of contention.
Belarus saw relations with its western neighbors pushed almost to breaking point earlier this year, after a Swedish stunt involving the air-lifting in of “pro-democracy teddy bears.”