Belarus claims model status for Orthodox-Catholic collaboration
November 17, 2011
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus boasted that his country offers a model for ecumenical cooperation, as he met with Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity; and Orthodox Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk.
Cardinal Koch was in Minsk for a conference on the Christian contribution to Europe; the event was co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Belarusian Orthodox Church. A statement released at the conclusion of the conference said that the event nourished a shared interest “in promoting and defending Christian values in Europe.”
The statement called attention to the strong presence of the Catholic Church in Belarus, a nation that has remained strongly allied with Russia and with the Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow. It noted “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 Belarusian Orthodox Church, and the civil authorities.”