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
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.