THE DIOCESE OF CHIȘINĂU
The current territory of the Republic of Moldova (without the territory of Transnistria) but with the Romanian province Moldavia, together constituted the fedual Moldovan State which lasted from 1359 until 1812, when the Russian Tsar took Bessarabia under his protection, and established a Tsarist government there.
Tradition tells us that this territory, too, was evangelised by the apostle Andrew who, according to Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History, was active in Scythia Minor (today identified as Dobruja).
The first Catholic structures date back to 1227, when Pope Gregory IX approved the institution of the Diocese of the Cumans, in the Vrancea (Romanian Moldavia) area. Up until 1812 the Catholic structures were under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Bacau (Romania). After 1812 the Catholic communities of this territory passed to the jurisdiction of the bishops of Kaminez Podolski (the Ukraine). From 1848 until 1918 the Catholics of Bessarabia were under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Tiraspol.
In the last century, between 1918 and 1944, the Catholic communities passed to the jurisdiction of the Romanian Diocese of Iaşi. Subsequently, during the period of Soviet occupation, parishes were abolished, churches closed and priests forced to leave the country. The only parish which remained for all the Catholics in Moldova was that of Chisinau which was administered by a priest who was under the jurisdiction of the bishops of Riga.
With the fall of the Soviet regime, the Apostolic Administration of Chişinău was created on 28 October 1993; on 27 October 2001 it was raised to the dignity of diocese and called the Diocese of Chişinău. The Apostolic Administrator, in the person of Mgr Anton Cosa, who in the meantime was consecrated bishop in Rome by Blessed John Paul II (on 6 January 2000), was appointed the first Bishop of Chişinău.
The Diocese has the following juridical and pastoral structures:
- Episcopal Curia and Ecclesiastical Tribunal
- Office for Social Communications
- Office for Migrants
- Office for social pastoral issues
- Commission for university pastoral work
- Commission for liturgy and catechesis
- Commission for pastoral work with young people
- Office for religious – CCCM (Co-ordinating Committee for Communities of Consecrated Life in Moldavia)