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ODYSSEY OF 300 RUSSIAN YOUTH TO ATTEND WORLD YOUTH DAY

VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org).- "Your Holiness, come to Moscow!" cried the Russian youth gathered in Rome to take part in World Youth Day. Most of the 300 Russian youth attending the Jubilee event traveled thousands of miles by bus from all corners of their immense country, including places as far as Novosibirsk, Siberia, and the Urals, to St. Petersburg, and the Volga region. In addition, about 100 young people from Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between the Baltic countries and Poland, joined a group of Polish youth from Warsaw.

For the 1991 World Youth Day in Czestochowa, Poland, thousands of Russians appeared at the last minute for the meeting with the Pope. Poland was nearby and no visa was necessary to cross the borders. "At that time, the Soviet Union was still in existence. Many youthful nonbelievers arrived led by simple curiosity and the desire to discover faith," Moscow's Catholic Archbishop, Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, said.

At present, the situation in Russia has changed radically and the trip to Rome has been a very complicated process to obtain visas for all the countries whose borders the youth cross and very expensive. Many have only been able to travel thanks to the help of the Episcopal Conference of the Russian Federation. 




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