Christianity in Kyrgyzstan

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Eastern Orthodox Christianity is the largest Christian denomination in Kyrgyzstan with between 700,000 to 1.1 million followers which are made up of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians. A small minority of ethnic Germans are also Christian, mostly Lutheran and Anabaptist as well as a Roman Catholic community of approximately 1500.[1] [1]

Roman Catholic Church [2][edit]

The Catholics are mentioned in this region since 14th century, mainly on the territory of today’s Kazakhstan. The Roman Catholic missionaries came in Kyrgyzstan mainly from China, till turn of 19th and 20th centuries. Since 1918 to 1930, the area of Kyrgyzstan came under the parish of Tashkent. In 1937, there started the persecution of Roman Catholic Church, the churches were destroyed and all priests were deported or executed. In that time, because of mass deportations into Central Asia (that had no parallel even in tsar era), came to influx of Catholics from Volga area, Ukraine, Poland and Baltic Sea area. On 13 May 1991, there was created apostolic administration of Kazakhstan and Central Asia that included five post-Soviet Central Asian republics, from which four gained a status of mission sui iuris later – church in Kyrgyzstan on 22 December 1997. Status sui iuris means that it is an autonomous unit – independent juristic person, based on own discipline, heritage, or culture, but it is always dependent on Roman pope.

In Kyrgyzstan, there were 268 Christians in 1999. Part of them were descendants of German, Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian deportees and part are citizens of other states (diplomats, workers of international organisations).

On the other hand, it is necessary to mention that for the whole time of existence of the Catholic Church in Bishkek (it was officially registered already in 1969), there took place no one christening of any Kyrgyz.

On 18 March 2006, there was found the apostolic administration in Kyrgyzstan (region under administration of any clergyman authorised by pope), now under administration of bishop Nicolas Messmer, which was born (similarly as his predecessor in the administration of Kyrgyzstan Alexander Kan) in Kazakhs Karaghanda. The relationship to Kazakhs bishopric was always very strong; also the Catholic literature or songbooks are printed in Kazakhstan.

In the capitol Bishkek, there is a church (among the associated societies belong e.g. Belovodskoe, Chaldybar, Tuz, Nurmanbet, Ivanovka, Iskra, Niznevostochnoe, Kamyshanovka, Oktjabrskoe), the worships in Talas take place in a bought house, newly was found the parish on the south of Kyrgyzstan (Djalalabad and Osh) too and another parish is in Karakol.

In Bishkek, up to now, the Roman Catholic Church is connected with German population and therefore also the church uses to be marked as “German” by the Kyrgyz (немецкая церковь) – in contrary to Orthodox church that is “Russian” (русская церковь). Among the visitors of the church are (except the foreigners) really such a Bishkek citizens that have German origin (although they do not speak German) and next, there are here also descendants of Poles.

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