New Bishops’ Conference established for Central Asian countries

Following a decree by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan will have their own Episcopal Conference

Newsroom (11/10/2021 11:00, Gaudium Press) Following a decree from the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples last month, an episcopal conference has been established for five countries in Central Asia.

From now on Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan have a regional episcopal conference.

Until then only Kazakhstan was divided into dioceses. The other countries were organised by Apostolic Administrations.

The five Asian countries have a Muslim majority, about 80% of the population. Catholics are the third largest religious population in these countries which formerly belonged to the defunct Soviet Union.

The Bishop of Karaganda, in Kazakhstan, expressed his joy at the news: “We are very happy with the birth of this new Episcopal Conference. It is the fruit of two years of work that allows the Catholic presence to grow and mature in the country”.

He added that the countries concerned will be able “to respond together to critical issues and common challenges and at the same time to help each other in the resolution of specific problems of each country”.

Archbishop Dell’Oro listed some of the main challenges of the Asian countries. Firstly, to make the Catholic religion not lived in a cultural way but with true faith and secondly to overcome the barriers of the long history of atheism in the Soviet Union. (FM)

 

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