Greek Catholic Church in Kazakh Capital Consecrated
The dedication of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of St. Joseph the Betrothed took place on September 15 in the Kazakh capital city of Astana. It took almost 10 years to build the church, and now the pearl of Ukrainian sacred architecture has become part of the panorama of the city, which has growing rapidly in recent years, ever since the capital moved there. The church, which can be seen from different sides of the city, is situated near the river almost in the center of the capital.
According to Vatican Radio, a liturgy and rite of consecration were led by Bishop Joseph Milian, Auxiliary Bishop of Archeparchy of Kyiv of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who heads the Pastoral Migration Department, which is responsible for providing pastoral care to the faithful in the areas where there are no administrative structures of the UGCC.
Ukrainian pilgrims came from other cities of Kazakhstan to take part in a joint prayer with the local believers. The event was attended by representatives of the government and diplomatic corps of Ukraine, the United States, and Georgia. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who was also present, brought from Pope Francis a gift – a chalice and the relics of St. Josaphat, the Vatican Radio reported.
The history of the modern Greek Catholic parish in Astana began in 1999, when Father Vasyliy Hovera began to go there from at Karaganda. The Divine Liturgy for the local Greek Catholics was then celebrated in a Roman Catholic church. Starting from 2002, Greek Catholic priests began permanent pastoral work in the city. That same year, while visiting the Greek Catholics in Kazakhstan, His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, the then head of the UGCC, consecrated the cornerstone for the construction of the church. After two years, the city government allocated land and immediately construction work began.