Departing Archbishop Kondrusiewicz visits Baptist headquarters
M o s c o w -- In a farewell visit with representatives of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists (RUECB) in Moscow on 10 October, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the departing Roman Catholic Archbishop-Metropolitan of Moscow, called for joint charitable projects between Russian Catholics and Protestants. “It would be truly magnificent if we could do something together!” he exclaimed. Alluding to Russia’s underdeveloped inter-confessional relations he added: “Sometimes neighbours cannot get on with each other. It would therefore be a remarkable witness to the world if Catholics and Protestants could cooperate on projects of charity.”
Referring to earlier activities of the joint Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant “Christian Inter-Confessional Advisory Committee” (CIAC), he noted that its last activity before a period of hibernation had been a youth conference. “It was a truly splendid event,” he noted. “The young people understood each other immediately – between them there are no barriers. Yes, each side remains true to its theological convictions, but we belong together. It is like a garden with various flowers. And the garden is so beautiful because the flowers are all different!”
The departing Archbishop related that he had co-operated closely with former RUECB-President Peter Konovalchik within the important CIAC committee. He had gotten to know the Baptist Konovalchik as a person truly committed to proclaiming the Gospel to the world – and that not only with words. In defending moral values and in swimming against the tides of secularism,. Kondrusiewicz appealed vehemently for the continuation of inter-confessional dialogue and the CIAC. That could result in a witness which would indeed be much more than just a simple sermon. Pope Paul VI had stated years ago that “the world listens more to witnesses than it does to teachers”.
Kondrusiewicz sees no reason why joint Catholic-Protestant declarations protesting military conflicts or violations of human rights should not be issued.
Kondrusiewicz will be succeeded in Moscow by the 45-year-old Italian Paolo Pecci, who served most recently as head of a seminary in St. Petersburg. The Archbishop, who had headed the Roman Catholic church in Russia from his seat in Moscow since 1991, will be returning to his native Belarus. There he had been born into a Polish family in 1946. He will serve as head of the Archdiocese of Minsk and Mogilev.
Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz was hosted at RUECB headquarters by President Yuri Sipko and Vitaly
Vlasenko, Director of External Church Relations. The CIAC committee was refounded in December 2006, but it has not yet convened.
Dr. William Yoder
Department for External Church Relations, RUECB
Moscow, 11 October 2007
A press release of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists. May be published freely. Release #37, 382 words.