Catholic / Orthodox Relations
On the Decision of John Paul II to create Catholic Dioceses in Russia
Moscow Patriarchate, 2/12/2002
Moscow - The Vatican on February 11 officially announced the decision of John Paull II to create the following dioceses: the Archdiocese of Our Lady in Moscow, Diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk, the Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov and the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk, replacing the apostolic administrations there (the now operating temporary Catholic Church structures).
The Holy See also decided to create for the Russian dioceses a unified church province, to be headed by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz as the metropolitan. This was caused, in the opinion of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, by the need to bring its organizational structure into line with the uniform standard of canonical law of the Roman Catholic Church."

The Russian side was informed of this Holy See decision via diplomatic channels on February 4. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while not casting doubt on the right of the Catholic Church to organize itself in conformity with canonical norms, but considering that this question primarily concerns interchurch relations and may be the cause of their serious complication, recommended that the Holy See should refrain at this moment from transforming the apostolic administrations into dioceses and fix that up with the Russian Orthodox Church.

It causes regret that such an important decision was taken without due consideration of the opinion of the Russian side. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterates its interest in fostering relations between the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches which would rest on an equitable basis and not inflict harm upon the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church.
© Moscow Patriarchate