09/16/2020, 09.10
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Kondrusiewicz is still a Belarusian citizen. Naval'nyj wants to return to Russia

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Customs authorities claim the bishop’s expulsion is part of a routine "verification". Theologian Natalia Vasilievich: These people are only capable of using force, fear and intimidation, but this childishness is not worthy of power. Daily procession in Minsk to demand the return of Kondrusiewicz and an end to persecution. Card. Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, in support of the prelate's return. Orthodox: In the face of bestiality and the offenses of dignity, the Church cannot remain neutral. Naval'nyj excludes inquiries into incident.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The entry ban into Belarus imposed on the Archbishop of Minsk, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz (photo 1), is part of a verification procedure initiated by the customs office regarding the metropolitan's citizenship, as stated by the head of the office Alexei Begun .

The verification, he specified, does not mean that he has been denied Belarusian citizenship: "the interior minister is carrying out a check on Kondrusiewicz's naturalization documents". According to the manager, over 1000 verification procedures are carried out on Belarusian citizens every year; the one on Kondrusiewicz would have started a few weeks ago, and its implementation during protests is “just a coincidence. It would have been better for us too, if the bishop had remained at home”. Kondrusiewicz's requests for clarification will be promptly considered in the coming days, according to Begun.

The Belarusian political scientist and theologian Natalja Vasilievič commented on naviny.by that the expulsion of Kondrusiewicz was a serious strategic mistake on the part of the Belarusian authorities: now the archbishop can tour all of Europe and talk about the persecutions in Belarus, "and they will certainly believe him; whoever organized the expulsion today will probably have been rewarded, while they should be fired. These people are only capable of using force, fear and intimidation, but this childishness is not worthy of power”. According to Vasilievič, this attitude does nothing but fuel the hostility of Catholics, and even the Vatican can only interpret it as a sign of the regime’s inadequacy.

In fact Card. Pietro Parolin Vatican Secretary of State, declared two days ago: "We insist that Archbishop Kondrusiewicz be allowed to return to his seat and continue to lead his flock, always remembering the role of the Church, which is to be a factor of reconciliation, of dialogue, of peace”.

On 11 September, Belarusian Catholics organized a procession, which was attended by the faithful from all the parishes of Minsk (photo 2). It is repeated in a reduced form every day around the Church of the Holy Cross, the oldest Catholic parish in the capital, with the request to "stop the persecution against the Church" and allow the return of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz.

The organizer of the processions is the parish priest of the Holy Cross, Father Jurij Sanko, together with the vicar general, bishop Jurij Kosobutskij. The latter declared that "the illegal refusal of the archbishop’s return as a serious blow to the entire Catholic community in the country, left without its pastor".

In his homily on September 14, Kosobutsky emphasized the importance of spiritual commitment, and the unacceptable judgment of others, as Jesus taught. "These days there is a very popular song by Viktor Tsoj, that speaks of the wind of change: we all have to start with a change within ourselves, of our heart. In this we are helped by prayer, solidarity and acceptance of all without exclusion, including those who offend us," said the vicar general.

 

The new Orthodox Metropolitan Venjamin (Tupeko) has released an appeal on the Spas television channel, in which he in turn invites "people who do not have peace of mind, and are forced to oppose someone, to try to also understand the reasons of the other side, not to justify the sin, but to forgive the sinner”. According to a Belarusian Orthodox priest, Fr. Aleksandr Shramko, the metropolitan invites faithful "not to oppose the lie, but try to swallow it", as he told Credo.Press.ru.

Another Orthodox priest, Father Sergij Timoshenkov, director of the missionary office of the Orthodox Church in Belarus, told the ahilla.ru website that "the Church cannot remain neutral in the face of bestiality and the offenses against human dignity". Venjamin has released a photograph where he sits alongside his predecessors, Filaret (Vakhromeev) and Pavel (Ponomarev), to show continuity in the leadership of the Belarusian Exarchate.

Uncertainty about the future of the country is also demonstrated by the lack of confidence of Belarusians in bank deposits: in August alone, more than a billion dollars was withdrawn from local banks, and bank account yields rose to over 20% per annum, as often happens in countries on the eve of radical changes. A contingent of over 1,500 Russian soldiers and over 150 technical air force and ground vehicles arrived in Belarus, officially for "concerted exercises" with the Belarusian army. Another member of the Opposition Coordination Center, Konstantin Titov, was arrested on 14 September.

To the consolation of all opponents in Russia and Belarus, Alexei Navalnyj yesterday published his first photograph from Berlin (photo 3), after the coma following the poisoning, and declared that he wanted to return to his homeland as soon as possible and has exlcuded the need for an inquiry into the incident.

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