President receives members of religious and minority organisations

2020-01-14 17:23 update: 2020-01-15, 15:06
President Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda. Photo PAP/Radek Pietruszka
The Polish presidential couple held a New Year's meeting with representatives of churches and religious denominations as well as national and ethnic minorities present in Poland, at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday.

President Duda thanked those gathered for their presence which, in his view, shows "a unique community rite of contemporary Poland."

The guests included Catholic Primate of Poland Archbishop Wojciech Polak, Greek Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Przemysl and Warsaw Eugeniusz Popowicz and Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.

"(This meeting- PAP) reminds us of the historical heritage and dimension of our homeland - Poland, where over the centuries people of many nationalities, denominations and cultures settled (...) bringing their tradition into what we now call Polish culture," Duda said.

He added that all churches and denominations have their place in Poland, and most importantly, in his view, they form communities open to dialogue, "to what I would like to call brotherhood, good coexistence."

Referring to difficult issues concerning religious minorities in Poland, Duda said developments were sometimes very dramatic, quoting the example of the Holocaust which almost wiped out the entire community of Polish Jews during World War II. He said Holocaust victims will be commemorated at an annual ceremony at the Nazi German death camp Auschwitz on January 27.

"We need to draw conclusions from all the most difficult moments, relations between co-existing nations, between co-existing ethnic groups and denominations, from problems that used to linger and grow," the president said.

"I appreciate your being here today, which is a testimony to the existence of community, and I appreciate that you have come to the Presidential Palace to show this community and unity," Duda said.

The presidential meeting also featured a performance by the ecumenical Sienna Gospel Choir. (PAP)