Tadeusz Kondrusiewwicz: I don't want to be a brake in relations between our churches

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The Russian media have continued commenting on the replacement of the head of Roman Catholics in Russia. Pope Benedict XVI has replaced Belarus-born Tadeusz Kondrusievicz with the Italian pastor, Paolo Peccy who has been transferred to Moscow from St Petersburg. Kondrusiewicz is returning to his home country where he will head the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus.

Commentators are convnced that with this reshuffle Vatican wants to improve relattions with the Russian Orthodox Church.

"I am the Church's soldier. I will go wherever I am sent to. I don't want to be a brake in relations between our churches," Archbishop Kondrusievicz said in an interview with the Moscow-based Kommersant business daily.

When working in Moscowfor 16 years, Tadeusz Kondrusievicz was perceived as the man of "the former Polish Pope Jan Paul II". The Russians perceived Kondrusiewicz as a Pole too.

The Russian Orthodox Church accused Kondrusiewicz of "expansion".

Kommersant writes that some Russian analysts and church officials describe the transfer of Kondrusiewicz to Belarus as a negative sign. They suggest that Kondrusiewicz will be able to strengthen the positions of the Roman Catholic Church in this country.

"There is a danger that after signing a concordate with Vatican, the Belarusian authorities will support Roman Catholic church thus affecting the Russian Orthodox Church," says Kiril Frolov, an activist with the Union Orthodox Citizens and an expert of the Institute for CIS Countries in Moscow.