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Opinions & Interviews

2 Jul 2016

Kochanova: The Vatican for Belarus is an important partner in international relations

MINSK, 3 July (BelTA) – The Vatican is an important partner for Belarus in international relations, Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Kochanova said at the meeting with papal special envoy, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna in Minsk on 1 July, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Belarusian government.

“The Vatican for us is an important partner in international relations,” noted Natalia Kochanova. In her words, Belarus does its best to create favorable conditions for the faithful of various confessions. “A great contribution to this is made by the Minsk and Mogilev Diocese and Metropolitan Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz,” said the Vice Premier.

She stressed that the Roman Catholic Church takes an active part in the interfaith dialogue today. This was noted at the meeting with Pope Francis during the recent visit of the Belarusian President to the Vatican.

Belarus is interested in developing cooperation with the Vatican in various areas, including culture, education and science. “It is of high importance for us that the museums of the Vatican are hosting the exhibition “Belarus’ Icons of the 17th-21st Centuries from the Collection of the National Art Museum” in May-July 2016. We, in turn, invite the Vatican to visit the exhibition of the Orthodox and Catholic icons that will take place in Minsk in September-October 2016,” Natalia Kochanova said.

Belarus supports the announcement of 2016 the Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. “It is important for every country. Mercy, compassion, beneficence are the things a person of any confession should possess,” the Vice Premier is confident.

In her words, the revival of the best spiritual traditions of the Belarusian people is closely connected with the preservation and restoration of Christian holy places. The celebrations of the most venerated Icon of Budslav Mother of God, which are underway these days, let Belarusian believers feel part of the historical sacraments.

On behalf of the Belarusian government and personally Natalia Kochanova expressed gratitude to the Roman Catholic Church for its peaceful policy.

For his part, Christoph Schonborn pointed to the role of the government in creating conditions for peaceful co-existence of representatives of various religions and confessions. “I am happy to see sustainable development of the interfaith dialogue in your country,” he said. Christoph Schonborn also emphasized Belarus’ importance in the efforts to help settle the crisis in Ukraine. “Pope Francis is doing its utmost to restore peace in Ukraine. Belarus can play a very important role in this process,” he stressed.

Christoph Schonborn was appointed papal special envoy for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Minsk-Mogilev Diocese, which was held in the national sanctuary in Budslav on 1-2 July.

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