Archd., 1; dioc., 3; card., 1; abp., 1; bp., 5; parishes, 382; priests, 339 ( 182 dioc., 157 rel.); sem., 196; bros., 10; srs., 335; bap., 7,064; Caths., 1,037,000 (10%)., tot. pop., 9,970,000.
Independent republic (1991) in eastern Europe; former Soviet republic; capital, Minsk. Slow recovery of the Church was reported after years of repression of the Soviet Union, although in the mid-1990s under the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenka, the church encountered tensions, especially in refusal of permits for foreign religious workers.
In December 2000, the nation's bishops asked forgiveness for the "human weaknesses" of Church members throughout the centuries and said the Church forgave acts of Soviet-era persecution. In October 2002, Belarus adopted one of the most restrictive religion laws in the former Soviet Union, but by April 2003 government officials had granted the Catholic Church full legal status.
(The above exert comes from Our Sunday Visitor's 2004 Catholic Almanac and is used on this web site with the publisher's permission.)