The archbishop said that about 29,000 abortions occurred in Belarus each year, as the country also faces a “deep demographic crisis.”
“Therefore, we cannot allow the approach to abortion adopted in the European Union, which will be a genocide of our people,” he said.
Sandri, a 77-year-old Argentine cardinal, has served as the prefect for the Vatican Congregation for the Eastern Churches since 2007. He spoke during the Divine Liturgy offered in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome by Archbishop Cyril Vasiľ, the eparchial bishop of the Slovak Catholic Eparchy of Košice.
An icon of Our Lady of Klokočov was inside of the basilica for the Divine Liturgy. The Marian icon is renowned for having shed tears 350 years ago amid violence between Calvinists and Catholics.
Pope Francis venerated the icon in St. Peter’s Basilica during the Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29.
At his general audience the next day, the pope welcomed the pilgrims from Slovakia.
He said: “I greet with affection the Slovakian faithful, especially the participants in the Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving of the Eparchy of Košice, which celebrates the 350th anniversary of the miraculous weeping of the icon of Our Lady of Klokočov, led by their Ordinary Archbishop Cyril Vasiľ.”
Sandri highlighted that the pope had expressed a desire to visit Slovakia this fall.
The cardinal also expressed admiration for how both Byzantine and Latin Catholics in Slovakia endured persecution for their faith throughout history.
“Let us, therefore, look back with gratitude to all those who preceded you, especially those who were not afraid of any human regime and power, putting before us the primacy of God and the need to make Jesus known from generation to generation,” he said.
(Story continues below)
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