Belarus, like all of the former Soviet republics, suffered for decades from the bondage of the brutal communist regime. The persecution of dissenters affected all, especially Christians. The exercise of Christian worship was restricted. Many church buildings were either closed or demolished. The faith survived thanks to the passing down of traditional family values. With the unset of the political thaw to turn of the 80s and 90s, "perestroika", persecutions of the Church greatly diminished. But as Mons. Aleksander Kaszkiewicz, Bishop of Hrodna, said: "The biggest effort has to be applied to rebuilding a living Church for the people. It is probably easier to build a house of God, the church a sanctuary from bricks and stones; much more difficult to rebuild a human being from the inside, spirituality".