Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Catholic Church of Kazakhstan Joins FABC
How big is a Universal Church? It is soooo big! The Catholic Church of Kazakhstan has just joined Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference. Kazakhstan is a nation of 15 million, of which 60 % are Shiite Muslims. The other 40 % consists of Catholics (250,000), Greek Catholics and the majority of the 40% are Orthodox.
This is a huge country, larger than all of the nations that make up the European Union. So,tolerance is important.
Christianity is not new to Kazakhstan. Roman prisoners in the 2nd century (who lost to the Persians) brought Christianity to the area. By the 4th century there were Melkite monasteries in the country. The Catholic influence is a result of forced deportations of Catholics to Kazakhstan by Stalin. So the influences are old and new.
In 1991 Pope John Paul II established an Apostolic Administrative structure for the country. In 1999 the structure became a diocese. In 2003 there was full diplomatic relations established between Kazakhstan and the Vatican.
Kazak Song of Worship
So back to the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference. It now has 15 members and 10 associate members. That is a vast area influencing millions of lives and I never knew it existed. My ignorance and the universe, they just go on and on and on and…..