Russian Orthodox, Polish Catholic leaders push for reconciliation between nations
CWN – July 16, 2012
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill dedicated a church at the site of the Katyn massacre on July 15, saying that with the acknowledgment of the Soviet execution of thousands of Poles, “finally, the truth prevailed over lies.”
In 1940, on orders approved by Stalin, Soviet troops shot many thousands of unarmed Polish military officers and civilians—the exact number is in dispute—and left them buried in the Katyn Forest. For many years the Soviet government denied the slaughter, but after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian leaders acknowledged the deaths—while emphasizing that many Russians had died at Katyn as well.
“The Katyn tragedy united Russians and Poles, and the two people should always remain brothers,” said Patriarch Kirill as he dedicated the Church of the Resurrection. He appealed for reconciliation between Poland and Russia.
The next day, July 16, Catholic Church officials in Poland held a press conference to express their enthusiasm about plans for Patriarch Kirill to visit Poland in August, in another step toward reconciliation. During his visit the Russian prelate will sign a joint statement with Archbishop Jozef Michalik, the president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference, urging Poles and Russians to put aside old enmity and forgive past offenses.
Additional sources for this story: Polish church hopes visit by Russian patriarch will bring reconciliation (AP) www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/polish-church-hopes-visit-by-russian-patriarch-will-bring-reconciliation/2012/07/16/gJQAyNHQoW_story.html