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Catholics in Crimea isolated, fear losses

Catholic World News - April 10, 2014

Catholics living in the Crimea have been cut off from their co-religionists in Ukraine since Russia seized the province, a bishop serving in Crimea has reported to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

Bishop Jacek Pyl, an auxiliary of the Odessa-Simferopol diocese, told ACN: “We only communicate by phone or email; even the aid packages are kept back at the border.”

Although there are only about 2,000 Catholics in the Crimea, the Catholic Church there has sought to provide assistance for needy families, especially during the political crisis. Bishop Pyl said that he did not know how many Catholics have left since the Russian takeover.

With Crimea now under Moscow’s control, many Catholic priests who are serving there with residency permits from the Ukrainian government may be required to leave. Also, negotiations with Ukrainian officials for the restoration of Catholic parish properties confiscated during the Stalin era have been abandoned.

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