ASIA - Synodal and ecumenical journey in Central Asia

Friday, 21 April 2023

Karaganda (Agenzia Fides) - "We shared our impressions and the legacy that Pope Francis left us after visiting this land, during his trip to Kazakhstan in September 2022, through a sincere account of this apostolic journey that left a trace of deep joy and hope. In addition, we have dedicated a lot of space to the synodal journey, which the faithful of Central Asia carry out in communion with the Church: we feel the strength to walk together, in communion and in fraternity", explains to Agenzia Fides Msgr. José Luis Mumbiela Sierra, Bishop of the Holy Trinity in Almaty and President of the Episcopal Conference of Central Asia, as the Plenary Assembly of the Conference ends today, April 21, in the Kazakh city of Karaganda, after four days of work.
The assembly, reported the Archbishop, was also the occasion for an important testimony of Christian unity in Central Asia: "Providence wanted the Synod of the Orthodox Church in Kazakhstan to be held in the same days in Karaganda. We therefore organized a meeting in our cathedral, during which we were able to deepen our knowledge and pray together with the Orthodox Bishops. It was a blessing, a very strong and important moment. We can say that it is a historic moment for the history of the Church in Central Asia".
The assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Central Asia is the second meeting of the body, which was officially created in September 2021 by a decree of the former Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (now Dicastery for Evangelization). Bishops from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan participated in the meeting in Karaganda. The meeting, concluded Msgr. Mumbiela, "represents a precious opportunity to share and compare experiences and projects that everyone carries out in their own dioceses. It is a fruitful exchange in which we learn from each other, and we all follow the Master, as disciples of the Lord".
Yesterday morning, Thursday April 20, the members of the Episcopal Conference also celebrated a Eucharist and a meeting at the Interdiocesan Major Seminary dedicated to "Sancta Maria Mater Ecclesiae" in Karaganda, which welcomes seminarians from Kazakhstan and other neighboring countries. "All the seminarians - he concludes - are confidently maturing their vocation, which brings us joy and gives us hope". The structure, where 10 seminarians currently reside, celebrates 25 years of its foundation. In 1998 it was established as a diocesan seminary and then, in 2005, it became inter-diocesan and also international, welcoming students from all the countries of Central Asia. (PA/LF) (Agenzia Fides, 21/4/2023)