Unexpected resignation of the Archbishop of Minsk



It is a resignation that did not fail to surprise. A few days after being readmitted to his country, the Archbishop of Minsk, Mgr Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz handed over his office to Pope Francis, the Vatican announced on Sunday (January 3rd). This departure, which officially takes place for reasons of age, on the day of the Belarusian prelate’s 75th birthday, is nevertheless very unexpected.

Indeed, a few days before, the Archbishop of Minsk had just been readmitted to the Belarusian capital, after being blocked by the authorities for almost four months at the Polish border.

A number of negative things about this person ”

The Belarusian government blamed Bishop Kondrusiewicz for taking too much of a part in political debates, especially alongside Catholic groups who oppose President Alexander Lukashenko, since his re-election on August 9.

This situation could only change after mediation by the Vatican. “According to information received from the competent national authorities, there is no longer any obstacle to Bishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz returning to the territory of the Republic of Belarus”, announced Bishop Ante Jozić, the pope’s representative in the country, in a press release published on December 22.

But Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei nevertheless stressed that there was ” a number of negative things about this person ”, thus maintaining the pressure on the Archbishop.

Once back in the country, two days later, the one who is also president of the Conference of Bishops of Belarus, had been able to celebrate several Christmas masses.

An actor in the renewal of Catholicism in the country

The resignation of Archbishop Kondrusiewicz is all the more surprising as during the Christmas celebrations, the apostolic nuncio in the country, Archbishop Ante Jozić, was present alongside the Archbishop of Minsk. “The negotiations between the Vatican and the Belarusian authorities for his return obviously presupposed the immediate resignation of the prelate”, estimates the AsiaNews news portal.

Bishop Kondrusiewicz was Archbishop of Minsk 2007, where he is seen as having been a major player in the revival of Catholicism there. Between 2004 and 2016, the number of Catholics thus increased from 210,000 to 625,000, and the number of parishes from 89 to 222, according to official statistics from the Holy See.

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