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Belarusian president meets with Pope

May 23, 2016

Pope Francis received President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus in audience on May 21.

Following their meeting, the Belarusian leader met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States.

The parties discussed “the life of the Church in Belarus and the peaceful co-existence between Catholic and Orthodox communities, and with other religious confessions,” according to a statement from the Holy See Press Office.

The Pope gave Lukashenko copies of three of his most important documents—Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, and Amoris Laetitia—while Lukashenko gave the Pope a cross, an icon, and “a model of a carriage made from homemade pasta,” Vatican Radio reported.

Lukashenko, in office since 1994, has been the nation’s sole president since its independence from the former Soviet Union. The Eastern European nation of 9.5 million is 80% Eastern Orthodox and 14% Catholic.

 
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