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Russia: 25th anniversary of Catholic Church facilities. Message from the bishops of the 4 dioceses

“Let’s look ahead and let’s thank God for all the good of the last 25 years! Let’s have a thanksgiving novena and let’s say a prayer of gratitude, often and in different circumstances, so that joy and gratitude will not cool down in our hearts”: this has been written by the bishops of the four dioceses of the Russian Federation, who will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their reinstatement on 13th April. In a letter partly written for the Holy Year the bishops go over “the Way of the Cross of 70 long years”, the “cruellest persecutions” and the destruction of their structures, “tragic but glorious pages in the history of the Russian Church”. Then, the “epoch-marking meeting” between Pope Jon Paul II and Gorbachev had enabled the Vatican delegate, mgr. Francesco Colauonno, to go to Moscow: “The Holy See acted quickly and confidently, and on 13th April 1991, after 70 years of underground life, the Catholic Church in Russia and in the Central Asian Republics found new life in the restored Church facilities”. “The XXI-century believers” are called to “cherish the memory of the XX-century martyrs and confessors”. In the Russian Federation, they are the archdiocese of Mother of God in Moscow (mgr. Paolo Pezzi), the diocese of St Clement in Saratov (mgr. Clemens Pickel); the diocese of Transfiguration in Novosibirsk (mgr. Joseph Werth) and the diocese of St Joseph in Irkutsk (mgr. Kirill Climovic), which stretches out as far as the border with China.

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