Cardinal Bertone to meet president in Belarus?


Minsk, Jun. 17, 2008 - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, will meet with President Aleksander Lukashenko during his visit to Belarus later this month, the APCOM news agency reports.

Cardinal Bertone will be in Belarus from June 18 to 22; he is due to stop in Minsk, Pinsk, and Grodno. The announced schedule for the cardinal's visit includes meetings with Orthodox Patriarch Filaret and with the local Byzantine Catholic community.

APCOM reports that Cardinal Bertone will also meet with President Lukashenko during his stay in the capital city, Minsk. Lukashenko, a close ally of Russia, has strongly favored the interests of the Orthodox Church, which is affiliated with the Moscow patriarchate. Belarus has tight restrictions on unregistered religious groups.