Europe with two lungs

Letter from the CCEE Presidency to mark the jubilee of the re-organisation of the Catholic Church in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

13 April 2016

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On 13 April 1991, with a provision made by Saint John Paul II, the Latin Rite Catholic Church in the Soviet republics of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan was re-organised.

On the jubilee marking this official restoration, the CCEE Presidency wanted to address a message to the Catholic bishops of these three countries, in the person of their three Presidents.

The CCEE Presidency writes that “we wish, on behalf of all CCEE members, to unite ourselves with your joy, recalling at the same time those many people who preserved the faith even at the cost of their lives. ... After more than seventy years of silence and persecutions, ‘tragic and at the same time glorious pages’ for the vitalilty of the faith (cf. Pastoral Letter of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Russia for the Jubilee Year of Mercy), the re-discovered religious freedom has enabled the Catholic Church to grow and bring the faith and hope which for many years seemed to have been wiped out”.

By this letter, the Presidency of the body which brings together the Bishops’ Conferences in Europe, wanted to recall how “the Church in Europe breathes with two lungs and the Catholic Church in Russia and in Belarus is crucial for the future of the Church in the whole of Europe. In this Year of Mercy may this commemoration become for all the faithful Catholics of these three countries an opportunity to renew their hope in Christ and their missionary dynamic. Furthermore, may the institutional relationships with the State, with the Orthodox Church in your countries and with the other episcopal Conferences of Europe become an ever-shining light of Christ for a world seeking peace and reconciliation in the defence of the common good and progressing with hope in history”.

Finally, the letter concludes with an invitation to continue in the common work of the proclamation of the Gospel. “In today’s world, many people still do not know God. May we work unceasingly so that the whole of humanity may know and love the true God”.

Attached is the Pastoral Letter of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Russia for the Jubilee Year of Mercy (PDF in Italian, English and Russian).

The signatories from the CCEE Presidency are:
His Eminence Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and President of CCEE
His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa and Vice-President of CCEE
His Grace Mgr Angelo Massafra, Archbishop of Shkodrë-Pult and Vice-President of CCEE

The Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences to whom the letter is addressed are:
His Grace Mgr Paolo Pezzi, President of the Bishops’ Conference of the Russian Federation
His Grace Mgr Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Belarus
His Lordship Mgr José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan

  English and Italiano press release