DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     April 29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 84

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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FIRST RUSSIAN PRIESTS SINCE 1917 REVOLUTION

Five Seminarians to be Ordained in St. Petersburg

          ROME, APR 27 (ZENIT).- On May 23, the first five seminarians to graduate from the Queen of Apostles Seminary in St. Petersburg will be ordained to the priesthood. They will be the first Russian Catholic priests since the Revolution 82 years ago.

          The Seminary opened in Moscow in 1994 with 27 students. Because of difficulties with Russian authorities, the Seminary moved to St. Petersburg in 1995. It is directed by Italian Father Bernardo Antonini.

          The Seminary's opening was announced in 1993 by Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewick of Moscow, who is also apostolic administrator for European Russia. Father Antonini made provisional housing arrangements for the young aspirants to the priesthood, while awaiting restitution of Church property in Moscow, which would have made space available for classrooms, a library, and places of reflection and prayer.

          Although he had all the required permits from the government and the municipality, Father Antonini did not succeed in obtaining the buildings. The Church of the Immaculate Conception, for instance, was turned into a commercial cooperative; since the operators refused to leave the building, the decision was made to transfer the seminary to St. Petersburg.

          Archbishop Kondrusiewick expressed his enthusiasm for the rebirth of the Seminary. "We are very grateful to the priests of so many countries, both near and far, as for example Argentina, who come to help us and the faithful. But, sooner or later a Church must stand on its own feet. In order to do so, the Russian Church needs Russian priests." At last, the long awaited moment has arrived for the Church in Russia. ZE99042702


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April 29, 1999       volume 10, no. 84
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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