On December 24, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz returned to Belarus and immediately went to the Apostolic Nunciature in Minsk to personally express gratitude for the return of Pope Francis and his representative in Belarus, Apostolic Nuncio Ante Jozic, catholic.by writes.
On December 24 and 25, Metropolitan of Minsk-Mahiliou Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz held the service of solemn holy masses in two Minsk churches.
For more than three months, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz could not return to his homeland. Soon after the presidential elections in Belarus, the head of the Catholic episcopate called on the security forces and protesters to stop the violence, and Lukashenka and officials to start “a constructive dialogue with society, stop the violence and immediately release all innocent citizens detained at peaceful rallies.”
On August 31, the border guards did not allow Archbishop Kondrusiewicz to enter Belarus from Poland without explaining the reasons. Later, the Ministry of Internal Affairs declared Kondrusiewicz’s passport invalid. Lukashenka also accused Kondrusiewicz of going to Poland “for consultations”.
Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz told how he managed to return to Belarus.
First, the apostolic nunciature, together with the Foreign Ministry, agreed on the plan, time and route of the Metropolitan’s arrival. A Polish priest drove him from Sokolka to the border, and at the border he was met by Bishop Jozef Staniewski from Hrodna, who took him across the border.
After arriving in Belarus, Kondrusiewicz asked to stop the car, got out and knelt down to thank God for the opportunity to return home.
Kondrusiewicz stressed that he is a citizen of Belarus, he was born here, therefore he wants to live and serve in Belarus in the future.
The archbishop said that he was in Poland to take part in the recognition of the first communion for children. He also wanted to visit doctors, as he had back problems and had an operation. Upon his return, he was detained at the border and told that entry into Belarus was prohibited. He lived mainly in the Polish Sokolka, near the border – 15 km from Belarus, and was sad to not being able to return to his homeland.
The Metropolitan thanked Pope Francis, diplomat and bishop of other countries, and stressed that the Vatican has a long history and decides matters not in a spectacular but rather in effective manner.