Belarus Hopeful for Possible Papal Visit

Minsk Prelate Says It Would Be Dream Come True

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MINSK, Belarus, SEPT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev expressed his enthusiasm at the possibility that Benedict XVI could soon visit Belarus and meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.



Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said this in comments posted on the Catholic.by Web page, in response to statements made over the weekend by Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev.

Archbishop Hilarion, who since March has been the chairman of the Department of External Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, met Friday with Benedict XVI, later telling a group of journalists that he hopes the Holy Father and Patriarch Kirill will be able to meet soon.

"This message, though not officially corroborated, was met with joy by all our believers," Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said. "The priests, who learned about this message during a Mass on completion of the recollections in Minsk, rejoiced, because all of us were waiting for this event to occur. It would be great if it were true, because at last what Belarusian Catholics have been dreaming for years could become a reality.

"We also know that the president of the Republic of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukasenko, officially invited the Pope. The pontiff said at the time that he would come when God opened the doors. Maybe, it is already the time that God is about to do this."

"The message about a possible meeting between Benedict XVI and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill gladdened my heart," he added. "I am dreaming of such a meeting.

"I always prayed for such an event when I was in Moscow and I am doing it now in Belarus. Such a meeting would open a new page in our relations -- in the relations between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church."

"We need that new page in our relations, because the challenges of the present, the challenges of the secularized time are very hazardous. It is obvious that we need to answer these problems jointly," Archbishop Kondrusiewicz underlined.

"It would be a good orchestra, a Catholic-Orthodox or an Orthodox-Catholic, a Christian orchestra, which would protect Christian roots of Europe and Christian values," the archbishop concluded. "That's why we need to pray and ask God to make this visit and the meeting a reality."