Cardinal Kurt Koch Visits Minsk

VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2011 (VIS) — Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has visited Minsk, the capital of Belarus, at the invitation of Filaret, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk and head of the Orthodox Church of Belarus, which is dependent upon the Patriarchate of Moscow.

While in Minsk, Cardinal Koch participated in an international conference on the theme “Catholic–Orthodox Dialogue: the ethical values of Christianity as a contribution to social life in Europe.” The event was organized by the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue and Interconfessional Communication of the Synod of the Orthodox Church of Belarus, and by the Sts. Methodius and Cyril Christian Education Center [which CNEWA supports with an annual grant], in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

According to a communique made public today, the conference “served to underline the desire to continue dialogue on matters of mutual interest, and to develop concrete collaboration in promoting and defending Christian values in Europe.”

On Monday, 14 November, Cardinal Koch and Metropolitan Filaret were received by Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, who expressed his satisfaction at the good relations that exist between the two confessions in the country.

“The visit to Belarus by the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity,” the communique continues, “has highlighted certain specific elements of great importance: the fact that the Catholic Church has been able to restructure and reorganize herself following the fall of the Soviet Union, and that this has happened in harmony with, and often with the support of, the Orthodox Church of Belarus, and the civil authorities.

“The spirit of ecumenical fraternity — in a country that among the states of the former Soviet Union is second only to Lithuania in number of Catholics — has consolidated itself over time, becoming a fact of everyday life and a model of reference.”

Also read: An Ecumenical Academic Endeavor

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