Pope Benedict XVI has reorganized the Eastern-rite Catholic Church in Slovakia, raising the status of two church jurisdictions and creating a third to minister to the estimated 220,000 Eastern Catholics in the country.
Under the reorganization, announced Jan. 30 by the Vatican, the Diocese of Presov is now an archdiocese; the apostolic vicariate of Kosice is now a diocese; and a new diocese has been established in Bratislava.
The moves signal Vatican recognition of the growth and the stability of the church, which the communist government of then-Czechoslovakia tried to destroy in 1950.
Most of the church buildings, which had been confiscated by the government, were returned to the Eastern Catholics by the mid-1990s.
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