Orthodox Leaders Call for Removal of Moscow's Catholic Archbishop

Rome Rejects Petition

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MOSCOW, JAN. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See has not accepted a petition from the Russian Orthodox patriarchate to remove Catholic Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz as a condition to renew the dialogue with Rome.

«The bishops of the Catholic Church are appointed and replaced by the Pope of Rome and not by leaders of other Churches,» Father Thomas Grysa told the Russian Catholic news agency Cathnews.Ru.

Father Grysa is temporarily in charge of affairs at the Holy See’s representation in the Russian Federation.

The post of representative of the Holy See in Russia has been vacant since the appointment of Archbishop Giorgio Zur as apostolic nuncio in Austria.

Archbishop Kondrusiewicz heads the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow. That archdiocese, and three other dioceses in Russia, were established by the Pope last year.

«The decisions of John Paul II to raise apostolic administrations to the rank of dioceses, the appointment of ordinary bishops, as well as the institution of the metropolitan see and the metropolitan have an irreversible character,» Father Grysa said.

«Indeed these decisions determine the development of the Catholic Church in Russia in the near future,» he added.

In recent days, rumors were spread in Russia that the Vatican had accepted the ultimatum of Orthodox leaders.

Father Grysa added that bishops will remain in their sees, including Bishop Jerzy Mazur, expelled from Russia last April, who is now governing his Diocese of St. Joseph of Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia, from abroad.

Civil authorities’ pressure on Catholics and the ultimatum of other religious associations were described by Father Grysa as «inopportune and incorrect.»

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