Vatican Insists On Repatriation Of Belarusian Catholic Church Head

The Vatican is looking into the case of Belarusian Catholic Church Head Tadeusz Kondrusevich, who couldn’t return to Belarus from Poland for more than two weeks now. The Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said this on Tuesday, 15 September.

Cardinal Parolin said that the Vatican has intervened in the situation of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz. Recall that on 30 August, Kondrusiewicz wrote that the country faced an “unprecedented socio-political crisis” and the prospect of civil war.

Days before that, Kondrusiewicz condemned security forces for blocking the entrance to the Church of Saints Symon and Alena in Minsk. On 31 August, the archbishop was denied entry to Belarus from neighbouring Poland without explanation.

Head of the Catholic Church of Belarus Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz

According to Parolin, the decision to intervene was made after Secretary for Relations with States within the Holy See’s Secretariat of State Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher [*Minister of Foreign Affairs] visited Minsk on 11-14 September.

“In any case, we insist that the bishop can return and continue to lead his flock,” the cardinal said, adding that the church should always be “an incentive for dialogue, harmony and peace.”

At the same time, Archbishop Galagher acknowledged receipt of the invitation to Pope Francis to visit Belarus.“I think this is one of the visits that the Pope will consider,” said Parolin.

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On 1 September, President Alexander Lukashenko stated that the Catholic hierarch left the country for consultations in Warsaw and, “after receiving certain tasks” returned to Belarus, where he was included in the list of travelers prohibited from entry. He also said that Kondrusiewicz, in addition to Belarusian, had citizenship of another country.

On 14 September, it became known that the formal reason was that the passport of the Kondrusiewicz was declared invalid.

The head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs said the next day that he was not deprived of Belarusian citizenship, and the recognition of his passport as invalid is connected with the verification of “his belonging to the citizenship of the Republic of Belarus and the documents he submitted during the naturalization procedure”.