Russia Denies Permit to Build Catholic Church

Archbishop Pezzi Laments Decision

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By Anita S. Bourdin

PSKOV, Russia, OCT. 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of the Diocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, Russia, is protesting against the rejection of a permit to build a Catholic church in the northeastern Russian town of Pskov.

In a statement published on Tuesday, Archbishop Pezzi lamented this "deliberate discrimination against the Catholic population of Pskov," reported Vatican Radio.

The prelate criticized the local administration's refusal to renew the permit to build a Catholic church, dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity, with the pretext that construction had not begun before the previous permit ran out.

In fact, construction began 10 years ago, and the parish complex is already completed, noted Archbishop Pezzi.

Construction began in the year 2000 because the authorities refused to restore to the Catholic Church its cathedral. It is the only Catholic church in this city of close to 200,000 inhabitants.

In 2005, the then president of the Russian Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, consecrated the lower part of the church under construction. The work was financed by the faithful and donations.

Every day the faithful prepare food for the poor and handicapped children. They also have an educational project for street children and help families with handicapped children. This help is given to everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation.