Lukashenko: Archbishop Kondrusiewicz 'persona non grata' in Russia and Belarus
For the Belarusian president, he is part of "a list of undesirable people", shared by the two nations. He claims the metropolitan left the country "unexpectedly" to "receive particular directives" in Poland. Archbishop Kondrusiewicz participated in Marian celebrations in Częstochowa. Orthodox Church: "Strange and incomprehensible" the refusal of entry to Kondrusiewicz.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has justified refusal to allow Archbishop Kondrusiewicz’s to enter his country, declaring that the metropolitan "has ended up on a list of unwanted people, shared by Russia and Belarus".
This is an agreement between the two countries, to block undesirable people at the first western border of the "Russian world". Lukashenko said he “does not have all the information, because it changes constantly. We now check very carefully on all those who enter and leave the country”.
The president added that the head of the Catholic Church in Belarus left the country “unexpectedly" to "receive particular directives" in Poland, and then returned to Belarus ending up on the unwanted list.
His words attempt to imply that Kondrusiewicz was on an espionage mission (which explains why the list of unwanted persons is compiled. In reality, the Metropolitan of Minsk had been to some Marian celebrations in Częstochowa.
"He is not the only one on the list, but he is a very well-known person," said Lukashenko, adding that Kondrusiewicz has multiple nationalities, without specifying which ones. In fact, when he was Archbishop of Moscow, Msgr. Kondrusiewicz was in possession of a Russian passport, but this shouldn't be a problem for returning to Belarus; another matter for his Polish or Vatican passports.
“For us it doesn't matter whether he is the leader of the Catholics, the Orthodox or the Muslims; the important thing is that everything is regular according to the law. Of course, if you then get involved in politics and try to influence believers, Catholics - who are wonderful people - then you have a dual responsibility ", Lukashenko said, adding "we do not close Catholic churches, on the contrary, we seek to help and protect them. You have seen in Independence Square (where the "red church" is located - ed), even if they then reported fake news, as if we had forbidden entry into the church ", continued the president. "We allow entry of the most diverse people, Kondrusiewicz or Lukashenko and others, but the churches work and will continue to work, because prayer, believers, their path to the church, are the most sacred things for us, and we venerate them”.
The head of state promised that "the state will not threaten the Catholic or Orthodox Church, or Muslims or Jews, whoever they are, we will not allow it, because our pride is the interfaith world, our national world, and we will always be proud of it”.
The head of the information office of the Orthodox Church in Belarus, Priest Sergij Lepin, defined the refusal of Kondrusiewicz's entry as "strange and incomprehensible", and hoped for "a positive solution to the unexpected situation", assuring "the fraternal support for the entire Catholic community of Belarus ”. Lepin also wished that "a confessional opposition will not be created in our country, because some provocateurs would also like to open this front ... there is a great lack of love, against the background of an excess of gossip and incessant prophecies", wrote Lepin on his blog.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz sent a request to the Belarusian Customs Committee after spending the night in a parish of Bialystok in Poland, and a similar request for clarification was sent today by the Archdiocese of Minsk. If there is no reply, a request will be made directly to the presidential administration, as explained by the diocesan spokesman Jurij Sanko. The customs administration has so far refused to comment on the incident. According to lawyers, to refuse entry to a regular citizen of Belarus, it is first necessary to deprive him of his citizenship.
The metropolitan did not want to speculate on the reasons for the refusal of entry, stating that "he does not want to guess at answers from reading tea leaves" and to wait for an official explanation, "cell phones and e-mails exist today, but so far no one has replied ... I am sorry, but everything that I have done is for the good of the whole country, and not only on the spiritual level, even in the past years, like when in 2017 I gathered all the presidents of the European Bishops' Conferences in Minsk".
"I hope it is only an unfortunate misunderstanding", concluded the Archbishop, asking all the Catholic faithful of Belarus to pray for him and for peace in the country, so that "even this episode does not fuel discord, and everyone is still capable of forgiveness".