November 13, 2010
The relics of St. Andrew the First Called will be brought to the Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral in Astana on November 30, in the Kazakhstan Metropolis of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This is a gift by Pope Benedict XVI to the Kazakhstan Metropolis Area of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Roman Catholic Church delegation is headed by Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Secretary of State. The ceremony will be attended by the current Secretary for Relations with States in the Roman Curia Dominique Mamberti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Kazakhstan Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendía, Catholic bishops and Metropolitan Alexander, the Metropolia head, with the Orthodox episcopate.
According to the New Testament, St. Andrew was the first Apostle to follow Jesus Christ. History goes that he preached in many eastern countries, following through Asia Minor across the Black Sea coast, and going up the Dnieper to the hills where Kiev is located now.
The Order of St. Andrew the First Called has been the highest order of the Russian Federation from July 2, 1998.
Kazakhstan has approximately 4.2 million Orthodox Christians and less than 250,000 Roman Catholics.