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Thursday, November 17, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 17 NOV 2011 (VIS) - Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has visited Minsk, the capital of Belarus, at the invitation of Filaret, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk and head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church which is dependant upon the Patriarchate of Moscow.

  While in Minsk, Cardinal Koch participated in an international conference on the theme: "Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue: the ethical values of Christianity as a contribution to social life in Europe". The event was organised by the Institute for Inter-religious Dialogue and Inter-confessional Communication of the Synod of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, and by the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Christian Education Centre, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

  According to a communique made public today, the conference "served to underline the desire to continue dialogue on matters of mutual interest, and to develop concrete collaboration in promoting and defending Christian values in Europe".

  On Monday 14 November, Cardinal Koch and Metropolitan Filaret were received by Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus, who expressed his satisfaction at the good relations that exist between the two confessions in the country".

  "The visit to Belarus by the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity", the communique continues, "has highlighted certain specific elements of great importance: the fact that the Catholic Church has been able to restructure and reorganise 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.

  "The spirit of ecumenical fraternity - in a country which among the States of the former Soviet Union is second only to Lithuania in number of Catholics - has consolidated itself over time, becoming a fact of everyday life and a model of reference".
OP/                                    VIS 20111117 (310)

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