09/01/2020, 09.38
BELARUS - RUSSIA
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Msgr. Kondrusiewicz stopped from returning to Belarus

by Vladimir Rozanskij

He had been in Poland for a few days to participate in some Marian celebrations in Częstochowa. The Belarus State Border Commission gives no reasons for the ban. Suspicions that Lukashenko did not like the archbishop’s gestures and comments on the elections and his closeness to the prisoners. The Orthodox Metropolitan of Minsk, Pavel, is transferred to Russia. The new Orthodox Metropolitan of Minsk is Venjamin Tupeko.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Minsk-Mogilev, Mgr. Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, was blocked yesterday at the Belarusian border, returning from Poland where he had participated in some celebrations in honor of Our Lady of Częstochowa. Kondrusiewicz himself told Radio Svoboda that he was stopped at the border post of Kuznitsa Belostokskaja, a few kilometers from his hometown of Grodno, where border guards prevented him from returning to his homeland.

Yesterday evening, the official car of the prelate with the driver crossed the border and arrived in Minsk, while the metropolitan returned to Poland, awaiting developments. The press office explains that the prelate trusts in article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, which states: "Every citizen of the Republic has the right to move freely, and choose his residence throughout the territory of the Republic of Belarus, of leave the territory and go back without obstacles ". The right to return to one's homeland is also guaranteed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by Belarus.

Questioned by journalists, the Belarus State Border Commission replied with a "No comment".

Through the catholic.by site, local Catholics ask for prayers for their metropolitan: "In a difficult time for all of us, let's mobilize in prayer, show special solidarity and support each other in every situation, because we are one big family ".

Some Catholics speculate that the ban is caused by the prelate's interventions and appeals to dialogue, in addition to the initiative to assist those arrested in the latest demonstrations. Although Kondrusiewicz had good relations with President Alexandr Lukashenko in the past, his latest comments were not welcomed by the Belarusian leader.

In recent days, the archbishop gave an extensive interview to the Polish religious television channel TV Trwam, defending the rights of the Belarusian population.

On the same day, the Orthodox Metropolitan Pavel (Ponomarev, photo 3) was transferred from Minsk to a southern Russian seat in Kuban, together with a group of priests among those closest to him. The prelate thanked the many faithful present at the morning farewell liturgy, assuring that "he never made distinctions between people for political reasons, indeed, woe to the priests who get involved in politics ... we must speak only in church, not in the press or on the internet, there are already people in charge of this”.

In the evening, the new Metropolitan of Minsk, Venjamin (Tupeko, photo 4), presided over a moleben to the Mother of God. In his homily he observed that "the Belarusian people have had a great trial, precisely in the year of the coronavirus pandemic, with the social unrest of these days ... when a building falls apart, you don't argue about how it was built, but you work together to put it back on its feet”. Venjamin proposed that everyone commit themselves to "great and fruitful prayer, the only work that gives real results".

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