Orthodox Archbishop Grateful for Aid

Catholic Group Supported Seminary

KAZAN, Russia, AUG. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The organization Aid to the Church in Need extended its helping hand during difficult times when our seminary was still in a very pitiable condition, said Orthodox Archbishop Anastazy.

Archbishop Anastazy of Kazan and Tatarstan expressed his thanks to the international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, for the “selfless help” it has given to the region’s Orthodox Church since the end of communism.

Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan, is some 470 miles east of Moscow; 60% of its population is Muslim, and only 5% are Christians.

Today, thanks to the “invaluable help” of the organization, the seminary has become a “strong spiritual school” with an outstanding academic staff that is technically well equipped, the archbishop said.

Archbishop Anastazy mentioned another sign of Catholic-Orthodox cooperation. He spoke of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in August 2004, by Pope John Paul II. The icon ended up in the Vatican during the communist era.

Orthodox and Catholic Christians now flock to the image, Archbishop Anastazy said.

He believes the much-revered icon has even greater importance because the late Pope returned it. Indeed, many come to visit it expressly for this reason, the archbishop explained.