12/28/2020, 09.47
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Msgr. Kondrusiewicz returns to Minsk and celebrates Christmas mass in the cathedral

by Vladimir Rozanskij

After 4 months of forced exile, the Metropolitan of Minsk, returned to his homeland. Following a press conference, he celebrated Christmas mass in the cathedral. After crossing the border, he knelt down and kissed the Belarusian land. Thanks to Pope Francis and to the nuncio Msgr. Ante Jozic for his return. Religious freedom in Russia after three generations of atheism is a responsibility.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Church in Belarus is celebrating the return of its metropolitan, Msgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who was forced into exile for 4 months, far from his homeland and his flock. The archbishop was accused of plotting with foreign forces against the government of his country.

He was able to cross the border on the morning of 24 December. In the afternoon, when he arrived in Minsk, he held a press conference for journalists in the Cathedral of the Most Holy Name of Mary (photo 2). Archbishop Kondrusievic said that after crossing the border, he asked the driver to stop, got out of the car and on his knees, thanked God for his return, kissing the earth. With a voice broken by tears, the prelate added: "It is my land! I grew up here! I have never said anything against Belarus, I have always defended its interests, and I will do so again in the future”.

The metropolitan explained the reasons for his visit to Poland, for which he was accused by President Lukashenko of "having gone to take orders". "There is no secret, I went for the first communion of the children of a relative of mine, which was scheduled for May, but had been postponed due to the pandemic. I took the opportunity to get examined by the doctors, since last year I underwent a very complex operation to stabilize my spine. They told me to come for check-ups from time to time, now I'm fine after that operation ".

During the months in Poland, the Archbishop read news reports on the situation at home, but - he specified, "the pastor must stay with his family, even if today, thanks to modern means of communication, it is much easier to stay in touch”. He was able to hold retreats and conferences via the internet, viewed by over 40 thousand people, "an enormous number of people, which is difficult to gather live".

His return home was made possible by the negotiations between the nunciature and the Belarusian foreign ministry, and the archbishop expressed gratitude to all those who helped for the success.

On the evening of December 24, the metropolitan celebrated a solemn mass in the cathedral (photo 1). The celebration was attended by the apostolic nuncio to Belarus, Archbishop Ante Jozic, and the vicar general of the archdiocese of Minsk-Mogilev, Monsignor Jurij Kosobutskij. The Mass was also broadcast online, for over 4 thousand spectators. The Archbishop thanked Pope Francis, represented by the apostolic nuncio, for the miracle of his return.

In his homily, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz focused on exalting the place of Jesus Christ in human hearts. "The unexpected challenges that have hit the world and our country have shown both the fragility of the modern world order and its vulnerability, and the spiritual problems of modern man," said the metropolitan.

"Man has entrusted himself not to God, but to himself, to his intellect, to the development of science, technology and culture. The outbreak proved that this was too little, as the microscopic size of the virus began to challenge the mighty of this world and bring them to their knees. The coronavirus has changed the normal way of life of the modern world, and made us reflect on the place of God and man in our life and in human history ".

"The difficult socio-political situation in our country, which has become a new challenge, also calls us to pay more attention to God and to the observance of God's law", added the archbishop, "how different our homeland would be and our lives if we lived according to the law of love for God and neighbour! If only we could forgive each other! If only, by being different, we were united in caring for the common good! Mary's answer to God it changed the history of the world, as it brought in the Saviour, whose Nativity we celebrate today. What would our history be like if we agreed with God's will, if we gave him our "Yes"! "

Kondrusiewicz recalled that “the doors of the former Soviet Union, where militant atheism reigned for three generations, have opened to Christ. We have freedom, including religious freedom. Unfortunately, we forgot all too soon that freedom is not only a gift, but also a responsibility. As a result, we were enchanted by the golden calf of material prosperity, pleasures and unbridled freedom without moral responsibility, and we have begun to worship it ... So let us open our door, dear brothers and sisters, to Jesus, who was born to inaugurate the ministry of the Church, and let him visit us".

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