Archbishop Kondrusiewicz of the Mother of God Archdiocese in Moscow sent Monday a message of gratitude to the patriarch. The prelate has been assigned to the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus. His successor, Father Paolo Pezzi of the Priestly Fraternity of Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, will be ordained archbishop Saturday. Father Pezzi, 47, was the rector of the Mary Queen of the Apostles seminary in St. Petersburg.
Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, 61, wrote to Alexy II: “After 16 years of pastoral care of Russian Catholics, I return to my home country, leaving in Moscow a part of my heart and remembering happy moments of fruitful cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church and with Your Holiness.
“With deep gratitude for the help in confronting the challenges of the modern world, I thank you for the high esteem you gave to our work in the words of welcome in the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, where you highlighted that ‘the community of Russian Catholics has sincere respect on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church.’
“Feeling faithful esteem for you, I look toward the future with the hope that our Churches will develop dialogue and cooperation.”