2021-01-03 17:18:00

Pope Francis accepts Belarusian Catholic leader Kondrusiewicz's resignation

Minsk, January 3, Interfax - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the leader of the Belarusian Catholics.

"The Holy father has accepted the resignation from pastoral care, presented by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Metropolitian Archbishop of Minsk-Mohilev.

At the same time, Pope Francis "has appointed Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the same Metropolitian See Bishop Kazimierz Wielikosielec, O.P., titular Bishop of Blanda and Auxiliary of the Diocese of Pinsk".

As reported earlier, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, a Belarusian citizen, was denied entry to Belarus from Poland without any explanations on August 31, 2020. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in commenting on the situation that the archbishop had "traveled to Poland to receive consultation on how to destroy the country."

The official website of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus has published fragments from Kondrusiewicz's interview with the Polish Catholic TV channel TV Trwam, in which he said that the presidential election in Belarus on August 9, 2020 was not fair.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Belarus several times to allow Kondrusiewicz to return to his home country, and the Vatican has also insisted on allowing his return.

Kondrusiewicz returned to Belarus on December 24, 2020. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei had said two days before this that President Lukashenko had ordered looking for a solution to the incident involving the head of the Belarusian Catholics.

The same day, the Holy See's Apostolic Nunciature to Belarus was notified that there were no obstacles to Kondrusiewicz's return.

Belarus has seen continuous protests against the official results of the August 9 presidential election. The authorities declared the incumbent head of state, Alexander Lukashenko, the winner. Lukashenko has been in office since 1994.