OUR MILIEU

A bird's-eye view of Yekaterinburg.

Orthodox Church - an expiatory vote for the murder of the imperial family of Romanov dynasty. The temple stands exactly on the spot where was the house where they were imprisoned and later executed.

To emphasize the Russian exoticism - the board written in Cyrillic. It says that the city of Yekaterinburg was built in honor of St. Catherine, the martyr. The first church in the city bore her name, and the day of her name was first celebrated in 1723, as the principal feast of the town and so is today. In 1930, the cathedral was blown up. There is no trace after it. Only in 1998, erected on this spot a small chapel.

In 1930, Stalin ordered to demolish the temples of all religions across Russia. The order also filled in Yekaterinburg. But not quite, because the main body of the church was left as it was handy for storage of works of art from the Hermitage, and then as a bus station. On this misty circle above (at center) the church stood until 1964, then - in fact, in our time - it was blown up with a bang. In the photo below you can see a tiny church, built by a Polish priest with great difficulties. In the nearly two-million-town, this chapel, sandwiched between the buildings of banks and embassies, is today's Catholic parish, where our sisters work with the people.

Since 1999, we've been living in a large block of flats (of red brick) at 8th and 9th floor. We are close to the church, in a walking distance of 20 minutes. Earlier, in 1998, we used to live in another place. Below, our community room.

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Pallottines came to Russia not because they had planned so. History of our call to our brothers Slavs confirms the truth about God's thought over the world. It set up atypically. The Holy Spirit breathed new sending into hearts of the sisters gathered on the General Chapter in 1992: „Go and proclaim…” further than it was till now. During debates and sessions we intensely reflected over how to meet the present needs of the Church and the world. We were not short of ideas but God gave us his own sign.

And then occurred the unusual, unexpected meeting. We were invited to the private audience to the Holy Father. Our capitular community joined an unknown to us bishop with his chaplain. Soon it turned out  that this was the first bishop, appointed after a 70-years pause, the shepherd of the greatest diocese of the world - the bishop of Siberia, Joseph Werth. In the conversation with John Paul II he asked for priests and sisters who would join the huge task of rising the Siberian Church from ruins. The Holy Father introduced the Bishop to the General Superior, present on the audience. There was her then, Sr. Maria Knaus.

Sr. Maria Knaus did not drop the opportunity. She invited both priests from Russia to the Generalate for supper. With this gesture she passed to us a signal that the request of the Holy Father was a request of Jesus to her. It become very clear – the time is done, it is necessary to go into regions hitherto inaccessible for political reasons. Catholics in Russia wait, now then God in them waits too.

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