Byelorussian Church

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Like their Ukrainian counterparts [see the Ukrainian Catholic Church], Belarusan Catholics originated in the Union of Brest (1595-1596). But the Belarusan Greek Catholic Church was suppressed by the Russian imperial government along with the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the 19th century.

After World War I, a community of about 30,000 Greek Catholics emerged in areas of Belarus that had been annexed by Poland. An apostolic visitator was appointed for them in 1931, and an exarch in 1940. But after World War II, when the area was absorbed by the Soviet Union, the church was again suppressed and integrated into the Russian Orthodox Church.

Following the collapse of communism and the independence of Belarus in 1991, Belarusan Greek Catholics began to emerge once again. By early 1992 three priests and two deacons were at work and, unlike most of their Roman Catholic and Orthodox colleagues, were celebrating the liturgy in Belarusan. Although gaining legal recognition was proving difficult, at least ten parishes had applied for registration. A survey of religious affiliation undertaken by the Belarus State University in 1992 indicated that about 100,000 Belarusans identified themselves as Greek Catholic.

There are about 5,000 Belarusan Greek Catholics in the diaspora. They have a parish in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and a Religious and Cultural Center in London, England.

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