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New cathedral inaugurated in Karaganda

10 september 2012, 19:36
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Photo courtesy of info-tses.kz
Photo courtesy of info-tses.kz
Opening of the new cathedral in Karaganda is a thrilling event not only for Kazakhstan, but for the whole Central Asia, KazTAG reports citing Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Envoy of the Pope.

“This is an important event for Karaganda, for Kazakhstan and for the whole Central Asia. This is a message of a big religious freedom for all the people,” he said at the completion of the holy mass and the sanctification ceremony in the new cathedral on Sunday. According to the Cardinal, “Europe and America, the whole world knows that there is religious freedom here in Kazakhstan, in the heart of Asia.”

Angelo Sodano passed a religious symbol, monstrance, to the new cathedral on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI. “This cathedral will become one of the sights of Karaganda and a spiritual harbor for all Catholics in Kazakhstan,” Akim (Governor) of Karaganda oblast Abelgazi Kussainov said.

According to Karaganda bishop Yanush Kaleto, the cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima erected in Karaganda is the biggest cathedral in Central Asia. “Many countries helped build it. We received donations from around the world: from Kazakhstan, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, America and even South Africa,” he said.

In his view, construction of the cathedral would have been impossible without the good-minded attitude of Kazakhstan authorities to Catholics. “We are very grateful for this support,” Yanush Kaleto said. He stressed that the cathedral was initially meant to “become a memorial to victims of Karlag (Karaganda labor camp of Stalinist era), a place of prayer for the victims of the totalitarian regime”.

The opening ceremony was also attended by Vatican ambassador to Kazakhstan archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia and chairman of Kazakhstan Agency on Religious Issues Kairat Lama Sharif. Cardinal Angelo Sodano has been in Kazakhstan with a work visit since September 5. Construction of the cathedral in Karaganda started in 2003. Cardinal Sodano performed the sanctification ceremony at the construction area on the same year.

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