Banned from his homeland, the head of the Catholic Church in Belarus is now in exile in Poland. During his visit to Rome, he met with Secretary of State Card Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Bishop Gallagher. The latter visited Belarus in September to get President Lukashenko to allow the return of the metropolitan.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk, head of the Catholic Church in Belarus, arrived in Rome where he met with the Vatican Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin, and Bishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, to evaluate his possible return to his homeland, Vatican Radio and the Belarusian Catholic Church website report.
“The Holy See is concerned about the archbishop's ban from returning to Belarus; every attempt is being made to rectify the existing situation as quickly as possible so that he can return to serve his flock,” read a Vatican statement.
This suggests a certain optimism about a possible positive outcome to negotiations. At present, the Vatican considers the conditions set for the prelate's return unacceptable, and is waiting to see how the situation evolves.
When the Archbishop Kondrusiewicz tried to cross the Belarusian border on 31 August, he was turned away, forcing him into exile in Poland. Since then, the prelate has made several trips to Lithuania, a country where he studied during the Soviet era, and to which he is particularly attached.
The Holy See sent Secretary Gallagher on an official visit to Minsk from 11 to 14 September together with Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who was nuncio to Moscow for several years, when Kondrusiewicz was the Archbishop of the Mother of God at Moscow.
On 11 October, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus, Archbishop Ante Jozić, arrived in Minsk. Meanwhile, the Vatican has geared up its diplomatic action in Belarus at a time when the country is going through a rough time.
Once called Alba (White) Ruthenia, Belarus has always had a full and active Catholic life.