- The Holy Father has erected the apostolic administration for faithful of Byzantine rite in Belarus, appointing the Reverend Archimandrite Jan Sergiusz Gajek, M.I.C., until now apostolic visitator for the same faithful, as apostolic administrator without episcopal rank of the same ecclesiastical circumscription.

Curriculum vitae

The Reverend Archimandrite Jan Sergiusz Gajek, M.I.C., was born on 8 February 1949 in Łyszkowice, Poland. In 1963 he received his middle school diploma in Łyszkowice, and four years later, he graduated from high school in Łowicz. He subsequently entered the Congregation of Marian Clerics, assuming the monastic name Sergiusz.

From 1967 to 1974 he studied at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Lublin and later at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he was awarded a doctorate in 1983. On 15 August 1973 he gave his religious vows in the Congregation of Marian Clerics, and was ordained a priest on 23 June the following year.

After ordination he provided pastoral service in the Latin parish of Głuchołazy, and collaborated with the Byzantine parish of Kostomłoty. From 1983 to 1999 he taught theology of the Eastern Churches at the Ecumenical Institute of the Catholic University of Lublin. In 1993, Pope John Paul II appointed him apostolic visitator for the Greek-Catholic faithful in Belarus. In 1996, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.

Historical background on the Catholic communities of the Byzantine rite in Belarus

The Catholic community of the Byzantine rite in Belarus is heir to the union of Brest, dating back to 1596.

In 1798, the eparchy of Minsk (of the Ruthenians) was erected, which, in 1839, was impeded, but was never suppressed. The Pontifical Yearbook mentioned it until 1924. In 1939 the Belarusian Exarchate was erected by Metropolitan Andriy Sheptysky, archbishop of Lviv, who was confirmed as apostolic administrator by Pope Pius XII in 1941. This office remained vacant in 1943. In 1988, the faithful began to reorganize, continuing with the civil registration of parishes. Since 1993 they have been entrusted to the pastoral care of the Most Reverend Archimandrite Sergiusz Gajek, M.IC., as apostolic visitator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.

There are currently about 5,000 faithful, organized in 16 parishes and assisted by 16 priests and 3 deacons. There are 4 seminarians.