Poland's Orthodox Church will build cathedral near Warsaw's airport

Roman Catholic officials criticize plan

Poland's minority Orthodox Church is to build a cathedral near Warsaw's airport for Orthodox Christians serving in the nation's armed forces. The cathedral will be the first new Orthodox place of worship for a century in this predominantly Roman Catholic city. It will also be highly visible to all those arriving at the Polish capital's main airport. A church leader said the Greek-style cathedral, on Defense Ministry land adjoining Okecie Airport, would testify to the Orthodox presence and add a "prestigious feature" to the capital.

"We are already building many beautiful churches in Poland, so this is really nothing unusual," said Bishop Miron of Hajnowka, head of the Orthodox ministry to the nation's military forces. "Our church occupies a legal position in this country, and is noticed by everyone. The numerous Orthodox community shows no sign of declining, so the cathedral is clearly needed."

The 42-year-old bishop told Ecumenical News International (ENI) that the cathedral, with seating for at least a thousand worshippers, would be built in the Byzantine form common in the Peloponnese region, without the onion-shaped domes characteristic of Russian Orthodox architecture.He added that the cost would be known when one of several architectural designs was accepted.The bishop will ask the Polish government to share the bill. "Since it will stand on Polish Army land, the [Defense] Ministry should be ready to help," Bishop Miron told ENI. "Meanwhile, as a prestigious feature, the Warsaw [city] council should also be prepared to contribute."

However, the chancellor of Warsaw's Roman Catholic curia has criticized the plan, saying Catholic Church leaders had not been notified and had heard about the project from the press. "The Orthodox ...

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