Restructuring the OFM presence in Russia and Kazakhstan

On October 1st, 2018, a Decree from the Minister General separated the two Kazakhstan Fraternities of Almaty and Taldikorgan from the Foundation of “St. Francis of Assisi in Russia and Kazakhstan”, dependent on the Minister General. The Kazakhstan fraternities were entrusted to the Province of St. Hedwig in Poland, and the Foundation is now named “St. Francis of Assisi in Russia.” The friars located in the territory of the Russian Federation are members of the Foundation, which includes fraternities in St. Petersburg (European Russia), Novosibirsk (Siberia) and Ussurijsk (the Russian Far East).

Five friars (three Poles and two Koreans) make up the Kazakhstan Fraternities that now depend on the Province of St. Hedwig. They have pastoral care of the Holy Trinity parish at Almaty Cathedral, as well as the Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Taldikorgan. In Almaty and in several nearby villages, the friars also offer great service to the poor through their soup kitchen and clinic.

Seven friars (three Italians, two Russians, two Poles) make up the Fraternities in Russia. They are responsible for four parishes, run a state-recognized Catholic School for children from poor families, and have a center for the homeless as well as programs for disabled children and disadvantaged families. In both Russia and Kazakhstan, the friars seek dialogue with other Christian denominations and with other religions, and they also help to build up the local Church through teaching in the inter-diocesan Seminary and working in a diocesan Curia.