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New Kazakhstan Dioceses provoke sharp Russian reaction

Saturday's announcement of two new dioceses for the central former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, provoked an immediate reaction from the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Moscow Patriarchate quickly issued a statement calling the move "another serious blow" to ecumenical affairs, which could have consequences "ruinous for the relations between the two churches."

The Holy See has created two new dioceses in Kazakhstan, including a metropolitan see, to replace two apostolic administrations.

The announcement sparked immediate comparisons with the similar creation of four new dioceses in Russia in 2002. Last year's move provoked a crisis in relations between the Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate.

In predicting that the new dioceses in Kazakhstan would not cause ecumenical problems, Vatican officials pointed out that relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches in Kazakhstan are much warmer than in Russia. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said the move should be seen not as evidence of "triumphalism" but as a natural development in the Catholic community.

Catholic World News


Two New Dioceses Erected in Kazakhstan (Zenit)
Vatican Secretary of State Travels to Kazakhstan (Zenit)
The Catholic Church in Kazakhstan
The Catholic Church in Kazakhstan (

Negotiations Underway for Pope to Return Icon of Kazan to Russia (Zenit)

20 May 2003