The 41-year-old bishop of German origin heads the diocese in southern
European Russia, which has about 40,000 Catholics.
In statements to Vatican Radio, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, described the Russians'
decision as a "positive sign."
Last year, Bishop Jerzy Mazur of St. Joseph of Irkutsk, in eastern Siberia,
was expelled from the Russian territory, as were seven priests.