Belarus archbishop welcomes possible meeting between Pope, Russian Orthodox leader

The leader of the Church in the eastern European nation of Belarus has welcomed media reports that Pope Benedict may meet Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. Media speculation that such a meeting might take place followed Pope Benedict's recent meeting with Archbishop Hilarion, the leading Russian Orthodox ecumenical official.

"The message about a possible visit between Benedict XVI and the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill gladdened my heart," said Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev. "I always prayed for such event when I was in Moscow and I am doing it now in Belarus. Such a meeting would open a new page in our relations-- in the relations between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church."

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, who was the leading Catholic prelate in Russia from 1991 to 2007, added, "We need that new page in our relations, because challenges of the present, challenges of the secularized time are very hazardous. It is obvious that we need to answer these problems jointly : It would be a good orchestra, a Catholic-Orthodox or an Orthodox-Catholic, a Christian orchestra, which would protect Christian roots of Europe and Christian values. That's why we need to pray and ask God to make this visit and the meeting a reality."



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