The former Soviet republic Kazakhstan has been independent since 1991. The vast country in Central Asia covers 2.7 million square kilometres and is rich in natural resources. About 70% of the 18 million inhabitants are Muslim, while there are only 300,000 Catholic Christians in the country. ACN is aware of the concerns of the local Church and therefore provides support for construction projects, mobility, education and material aid to strengthen the Church’s presence in the country.
Although Muslims are in the vast majority in Kazakhstan, Christians here are largely spared discrimination and persecution, unlike in many other Asian countries. The relationship between Russian Orthodox and Catholic Christians is also rather relaxed. This makes Kazakhstan a good example of the friendly cooperation and coexistence of both Christian denominations. There are joint initiatives and open discussions on many important issues which both churches are confronted with today.
» This country is a good example of the friendly coexistence of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. «
Of the 300,000 Catholics in the country, most are descendants of former deportees and have Polish, German, Baltic or Ukrainian roots. In order to survive economically, the Catholic community here urgently needs help from abroad.
ACN helps finance vehicles for pastoral care, supports church building projects and provides assistance to foreign priests and members of the order in obtaining residence visas. In addition, it provides material aid to sisters and funds training for future priests.