Metropolitan Pavel: President’s Invitation Not Enough For Pope’s Visit To Belarus



Belarusian president’s invitation is not enough for Pope’s visit to Bilarus – it must be coordinated with Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, said Patriarchal Exarch all Belarus, Metropolitan of Minsk and Zaslaul Pavel in his interview to Belarus-24 channel.

According to him, president’s invitation would suffice if the Pontiff will come to Minsk as the head of Vatican but not as the primate of the Catholic Church. “Because Belarus is a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church”, – he emphasized.

Catholic Metropolitan of Minsk and Mahiliou Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz admitted that Vatican always adhered to a right not to visit countries without the permission of the Church of the local majority. He also expressed his hope that Pope’s visit to Belarus will nevertheless take place and will possibly coincide with his another meeting with the Patriarch of Moscow.

At the same time the hierarchs agreed that Pope’s and Patriarch’s meeting in Cuba will make Pontiff’s visit to Minsk more possible. They emphasized the importance and necessity of this meeting in the face of modern world’s challenges, while noticing that we have to defend Christian values together, and called to peace and dialog.

Metropolitan Pavel: Situation in Belarus was strained

Metropolitan Kondrusiewicz mentioned that dialog is with Muslims is necessary to avoid a clash of civilizations.

Metropolitan Pavel also stated that “situation in Belarus was – and still is – strained” “because of certain pseudo-historians and pseudo-experts in religion claim that in Belarus Catholics are represented by Poles and Italians, that Orthodoxes are represented by Russians and that national church is allegedly the Uniate church”. But, according to him, the joint Declaration has shown that “we have nothing to divide”.

Considering the criticism on behalf of several Orthodox fundamentalists Metropolitan Pavel noted that there wasn’t any treason. “Patriarch meets Muslims. Are we Muslims now? He met Zyuganov. Does it mean that we are Communists now? Definitely not”, – he said.

In his turn Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz noted that “our giving of Gospel and faith to others depends on Christian unity and our witnessing Christian values”. He also opposed new crusades, swords and revolutions by giving Christians’ service to refugees as an example. According to him, problems must be solved by addressing their causes: wounds must be healed, not just bandaged.