Catholic Dioceses in Russia
Pope Loved Russia in a Special Way, Says Kondrusiewicz
ZENIT, 4/15/2005
Russia - MOSCOW, APRIL 15, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II is "the conscience of our time," who gave back to the world its "lost hope," said a Russian archbishop.
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of the Archdiocese of the Mother of
God in Moscow, spoke last week to members of his archdiocese about the
"Slav Pope" who loved Russia "in a particular way."

"How many gestures of good will he showed during his pontificate, signs
of respect for our homeland, for the Russian Orthodox Church, and for
the great Russian culture!" he said.

"And did we notice it? Have we known how to appreciate his significance
and courage? Have we supported the pontificate's insistence that Europe
breathe with two lungs, that of the East and of the West? Have we used
all the occasions the Pope tirelessly gave us in these more than 26
years?" the archbishop asked.

John Paul II, who consecrated the archbishop more than 15 years ago,
met with the Russian prelate for the last time on March 8, an occasion
in which the Pope asked him: "How is Moscow?"

The Pope left this question to Russia "as a testament," said Archbishop
Kondrusiewicz.

"May it be the crucial question of our examination of conscience! he
exhorted. "Let us constantly ask ourselves: How is Moscow? How does the
archdiocese live? What can we do, all together and each for his part,
to improve things? Do we live in accordance with the moral principles
of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church?"

"The Golgotha of John Paul II's last months of life were an illustrious
example of fulfillment of the will of God, a model of how in weakness a
titanic force of the spirit is manifested, capable of changing the
world," the prelate told the faithful. "His silent passing away in joy
and in confidence in Mary was an incomparable sermon before the entire
world.

"His illness and death united the world in prayer and solidarity. The
Pope's death became a type of Spiritual Exercises of unprecedented
caliber and breadth. People wept and applauded. The tears of
inconsolable loss have overflowed with signs of gratitude."

"The devotion for John Paul II, which arose immediately after his death
and spread impetuously throughout the world these days, highlights the
true dimensions of the personality of the deceased and allows for hope
in a speedy beginning of the process that leads to the recognition of
his worth," Archbishop Kondrusiewicz stated.

"The loss being grave, we contemplate it through the prism of the
Resurrection, hoping that the deceased Pontiff will be great in the
kingdom of heaven and will become our intercessor," the prelate said.

He added: "Our holy duty is to pray to God, so that through the
election of the College of Cardinals, the Holy Spirit will show who
will be at the helm of Peter's boat and lead the Roman Catholic Church
in the future on the stormy waters of the beginning of the 21st
century."
ZE05041501
© ZENIT