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Diocese of Minsk

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A suffragan of Mohileff, in Western Russia. The city of Minsk is situated on the Swislotsch, a tributary of the Beresina, which, again, flows into the Dnieper. In 1879 it numbered 91,500 inhabitants, of whom 27,280 were Catholics. It is the nominal see of a Roman Catholic, a Græco-Ruthenian Uniat, and a Russian Orthodox bishop. After the suppressidn of the Sees of Smolensk and Livland, Catherine II sought and obtained from the pope the establishment of the metropolitan See of Mohilew, at the same time arbitrarily abolishing the See of Kieff. To make amends for this suppression, Paul I, with the concurrence of Pius VI, established, 17 Nov., 1798, the Latin See of Minsk, and it under the Metropolitan of Mohileff. The first bishop was Jacob Ignatius Dederko, formerly a canon of Wilna (died 1829). After his resignation (1816), the see remained vacant until 1831. In 1839 Pope Gregory XVI appointed Mathias Lipski, after whose death the see again remained for some time without an occupant, the pope and the Russian Government being unable to agree as to a successor. Like the other dioceses of Western Russia and of Poland, Minsk suffered much from the violent attempts at proselytism on the part of Emperors Nicholas I and Alexander II, by whom the Uniat Lithuanians and Ruthenians were driven out. After the death of Bishop Hermann Woitkiewicz (1852-69) no successor was appointed, owing to governmental opposition, and since then the diocese has been administered by the Archbishop of Mohileff. According to the census of the Archdiocese of Mohileff for 1910, the Diocese of Minsk contained 51 parishes, with 77 priests and 262,374 faithful. The Uniat Ruthenian See of Minsk was erected by Pius VI, 9 August, 1798, but has been left vacant on account of the opposition of the Russian Government. (See RUSSIA.)

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