Ecumenical Celebrations in Belarus: A Big Loaf of Bread

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January 31, 2011
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January 31, 2011

Ecumenical Celebrations in Belarus: A Big Loaf of Bread

Minsk, Belarus, Jan 30, 2011 / 07:20 pm (CNA).- Catholic leaders in Belarus celebrated the annual week dedicated to Christian unity by gathering and breaking bread with local heads of Orthodox, Lutheran and other other Christian denominations.

From January 18 – 25, Christians around the globe marked the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity,  a time when members from various denominations traditionally meet to pray together for unification efforts among the faithful.

In Minsk, the capital of Belarus, Catholic Archbishop Kondrusiewicz and Orthodox Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Sluzk hosted various initiatives, including daily prayer with Belarusians from numerous Christian backgrounds and traditions.

At a joint celebration on Jan. 22, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Minsk, Catholics, Orthodox, Eastern Catholics, Lutherans and Christians of other denominations gathered to pray, preach and symbolically share a large loaf of bread.

In a Jan. 20 interview with global charity Aid to the Church in Need, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz remembered the words of Pope John Paul II, who said the churches in East and West were like two separate “lungs” and that “Europe must breathe again with both lungs.”

The archbishop said that not only do all the Christian denominations “share the desire for unity,” but that they also seek  dialogue with the Jewish and Muslim communities as well.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz said that the relationship between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches is very peaceful and cordial. The Orthodox Church accounts for roughly 80 percent of the citizens of Belarus, while 14 percent or around 300,000 are Catholics.

He said leaders from both traditions meet together regularly, and both churches see it as their common mission to live the Christian faith and share it with others.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz also spoke on the issues that individuals are facing in modern Belarus such as alcoholism, drug addiction, and high rates of divorce and abortions. He said that these problems call upon Christians more than ever to unify and be effective witnesses within society.

“Giving witness means that all the faithful, and above all the laity, are called to become more active,” he said. 

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  1. […] The event, on the 19th, marks the 5th Anniversary of the signing of the ‘Act of Canonical Communion’ which brought a large portion of the institutional ROCOR into communion with the formerly anathematized Sergianist Moscow Patriarchate. This comes on the heels of the memorial services carried out in Jordanville for the former head of the MP, Patriarch Alexis II. The festivities through the ROCOR-MP to commemorate the ‘glorious union’ with the church in the fatherland were widely noted on ROCOR-MP sites. But, let us ask these question. Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev), who’s recent statements that the Polish Roman church is a Sister Church to Orthodoxy, as well as his extensive involvement in planning the papal visit to Russia, and his high level participation in ecumenical dialogue that is now overshadowing that of the Phanar, seems to be the type of representative MP hierarch that everyone was told the MP was not!  What good was the statement by the MP that it would no longer participate in the ecumenical movement, if it does? Not to mention the large scale celebrations held about 2 years ago in Belarus where the MP Met. of Minsk presided over a mock communion service? […]

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