Church in Tajikistan Joins Internet

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DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, OCT. 5, 2004 (Zenit.org).- On the seventh anniversary of its establishment, the Catholic Church's mission in Tajikistan has inaugurated its official Internet site, www.catholic.tj.



Father Carlos Avila, superior of the mission "sui iuris" (in its own right), told ZENIT that the site "is incorporated in the net thanks to the enthusiasm and effort of several young members of our incipient Catholic community."

The first Catholics arrived during the Soviet-era deportations. Starting in 1974, they began to have a structure when the first churches were built in Dushanbe and in the southern city of Kurgan Tubie.

The collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a civil war in the republic, obliging many Catholics to leave the country.

In 1997, John Paul II established the mission in Tajikistan, in part to provide more attention to the Catholic faithful there. The mission was entrusted to the Incarnate Word Institute.

Today there are three parishes and a missionary center in Tajikistan. Five priests of the Incarnate Word Institute and four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity nuns work in the territory.

About 97% of Tajikistan's 7 million inhabitants are Muslim, both Sunni and Shiite. Christians, mostly Orthodox, comprise most of the rest of the population.