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Russian Orthodox, Polish Catholic leaders push for reconciliation between nations

July 16, 2012

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill dedicated a church at the site of the Katyn massacre on July 15, saying that with the acknowledgment of the Soviet execution of thousands of Poles, “finally, the truth prevailed over lies.”

In 1940, on orders approved by Stalin, Soviet troops shot many thousands of unarmed Polish military officers and civilians—the exact number is in dispute—and left them buried in the Katyn Forest. For many years the Soviet government denied the slaughter, but after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders acknowledged the deaths—while emphasizing that many Russians had died at Katyn as well.

“The Katyn tragedy united Russians and Poles, and the two people should always remain brothers,” said Patriarch Kirill as he dedicated the Church of the Resurrection. He appealed for reconciliation between Poland and Russia.

The next day, July 16, Catholic Church officials in Poland held a press conference to express their enthusiasm about plans for Patriarch Kirill to visit Poland in August, in another step toward reconciliation. During his visit the Russian prelate will sign a joint statement with Archbishop Jozef Michalik, the president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference, urging Poles and Russians to put aside old enmity and forgive past offenses.


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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jul. 16, 2012 7:56 PM ET USA

    I will believe Russian Orthodox reconciliation with Catholics when I see it. Maybe they will be more willing to reconcile with Poles, whom they do not consider part of their "canonical territory" than with Catholics of their own country or of countries the Soviet Union imprisoned with the knowledge and, I suppose, tacit approval of the Russian Orthodox Church, and whose churches and property the Russian Orthodox Church was only too willing to annex. It's these Catholics the ROC will not accept.