Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moscow Patriarchate: Lukashenko's visit to Vatican may positively impact Orthodox-Catholic relations

Moscow, April 21, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church says the upcoming visit by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to the Vatican may promote a peaceful co-existence of the Orthodox and Catholic communities of Belarus.

"Many Catholics live in Belarus, especially in the western part of the country. For this reason, the relationships between the Orthodox and catholic communities in Belarus are an important factor of stability and calm development of this situation. Consequently, the Belarusian president's visit to the Vatican may promote a peaceful co-existence of these two communities," Archpriest Georgy Ryabykh, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

The Russian Orthodox Church has direct contacts with the Roman Catholic Church at the highest level, he said.

Belarusian President may visit Italy in the nearest future. He may meet with Pope Benedict XVI during that visit.