MINSK, 20 September (BelTA) – Hosting the annual Plenary Assembly of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) is a sign of respect to Belarus, reads an address by
Archbishop Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz published on the website of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, BelTA has learned.
The Archbishop, in particular, recalled that the Plenary Assembly to be held in Minsk from 28 September to 1 October is dedicated to young people and the future of the continent as a common home. This decision was taken during the forum pf the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences last year which took place in the Principality of Monaco.
“To host the Plenary Assembly is a great honor for the church in Belarus and for our country. The event, which awaits us, is unprecedented in the history of the Catholic Church and our country. Never before has Belarus hosted fifty bishops of the Catholic Church of the old continent,” Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said.
At the same time, according to him, this is a big responsibility for the Catholic Church in Belarus. The upcoming forum is the recognition of the role of the Catholic Church in our country and in Europe. It is also a sign of the solitary of the European Catholics with Belarusian Catholics and a sign of the respect for our country,” he noted.
“We should admit that good relationships with various faiths, particularly with the Orthodox Church and the constructive dialogue with the authorities and the society played a role, in addition to the dynamic process of the Church revival, in choosing Belarus the venue of the CCEE Plenary Assembly,” the Archbishop said.
Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz also believes it symbolic that the Plenary Assembly is held in the year of the 950th anniversary of Minsk and 500 years since the publication of the Bible by Francysk Skaryna as the first printed book in the East-Slavonic world.
The bishop invited the clergy and the faithful to join the services featuring chairpersons of the European Bishop Conferences that are due to take place in a number of Minsk churches: at Sts Simeon and Helena Church (Red Church) at 19.00 on 28 September, at the Cathedral of Saint Virgin Mary at 18.30 on 29 September, and at the Church of Holy Trinity at 19.00 on 30 September.
Foreign bishops are also expected to hold services in other churches and chapels.
The Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) was set up in 1965 when thirteen Presidents of the National Dioceses in Rome decided to found a committee with a view of developing opportunities for closer cooperation at the level of local bishops. The foundation meeting for the Council was held in Rome on 23-24 March 1971. The Council comprises 39 members – European Bishops' Conferences - and a number of other hierarchical structures. The annual plenary assembly names the place for the next plenary assembly.
The final document of the Plenary Assembly in Minsk will be announced on 30 September.