Archbishop Kondrusiewicz has recently been at the center of a furor created by the Vatican’s decision Monday, February 11, 2002, to create dioceses in Russia as replacements for the “apostolic administrations” the Catholic Church has used to serve the Russian Catholic faithful since the fall of communism in Russia in 1991.
Some members of the Russian Orthodox Church have protested the move, citing a violation of what it calls its “canonical territory.” Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls stated that in erecting the dioceses the Catholic Church has done no more than apply the same standard the Russian Orthodox have applied to the West. The pope’s decision arises from “the same pastoral concern that has led the Russian Orthodox Church to create dioceses and other organizational structures for the faithful who live outside the traditional territory,” said Navarro-Valls. The Russian Orthodox patriarchate has, for example, created dioceses in Vienna, Berlin, and Brussels.
Approximately 1,300,000 native Russians are Roman Catholics, many of them descendants of victims of forced Communist deportation to concentration camps and settlements
in Siberia and elsewhere within the former Soviet Union. As head of the Russian bishops conference, Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, a native Russian, is the spiritual leader of Russian Catholics.
Aid to the Church in Russia (A. C. R.) will host Archbishop Kondrusiewicz March 3-8 in Washington, D. C. Aid to the Church in Russia is a northern Virginia non-profit founded in 1994 to assist in Russia’s spiritual, cultural, and humanitarian recovery from communist tyranny.
On March 6, 2002, at 6:30pm, A. C. R., will host a benefit dinner for the archbishop. The invitation-only event, which will be attended by His Excellency Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, papal nuncio to the United States, will be held at the St. Regis Hotel (923 16th Street, NW).
Rev. Marcel Guarnizo, president and founder of A. C. R. and an American priest serving under Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, is available for immediate commentary on the developments in Russia.
To speak with Rev. Guarnizo, for details about the event at the St. Regis, and for information about contacting Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, please contact: Christopher B. Briggs: 703-757-9756, firstname.lastname@example.org.