Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, arrived in Minsk on the night between June 3 and 4.
On Thursday, Msgr. Tauran is scheduled to have a meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, according to the Belarusian government’s news agency BelTA.
On July 5 and 6, the cardinal will attend festive events to be held in Budslaw, a village in the Myadzel district, Minsk region, to celebrate 400 years since the Budslaw Mother of God Icon was placed inside the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Budslaw.
The Budslaw pilgrims will be able to venerate both the icon and the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux, which will be brought from France.
On July 7, Msgr. Tauran is expected to conduct a mass at the Blessed Virgin Mary Cathedral in Liberty Square.
On June 4, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Apostolic Nuncio Claudio Gugerotti discussed preparations for the cardinal’s visit.
Msgr. Gugerotti said that Belarus deserved respect in every regard, and that the forthcoming visit was an indication of how much the Vatican valued its relations with the country.
Mr. Lukashenka said that Belarus was grateful to the Vatican for helping it improve its relations with the European Union.
“I simply must thank [you] for supporting our efforts to improve relations with the EU,” Mr. Lukashenka said. “Whether or not they yield a result, I know that you want it very much.”
While meeting with Msgr. Gugerotti on June 21, Pope Francis sent his greetings to all Belarusians, especially “brothers in the Orthodox Church,” catholic.by, the official website of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus, reported last week.
The pontiff displayed his “solidarity with Belarus” by appointing Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran to represent the Vatican at festive events that will be held in Budslaw, the report said.