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New Book: Bishop Schneider Reveals Personal Information. New Book: Bishop Schneider Reveals Personal Information Soviet-born Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently published his entertaining German …More
New Book: Bishop Schneider Reveals Personal Information.

New Book: Bishop Schneider Reveals Personal Information

Soviet-born Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently published his entertaining German interview-book “Christus Vincit” where he also speaks about his ecclesiastical career. He recounts that as an adolescent he used to play the piano, loved Mozart and Schubert, and did sports, jogging and swimming.

They Liked the Cassock

When he was 15, Schneider wanted to become a Carthusian, but, at the end, joined in 1982 the Order of the Cross after having acquired his university-entrance diploma in Germany. As a priest in Brazil, Schneider was particularly active among the poor. Quote: "We came to the mission stations dressed in our cassocks and people liked it.” Then he was sent to Rome for a doctorate in order to be able to teach in the seminary of his community.

John Paul II Intervenes

While in Rome, he was asked to help teaching in Karaganda seminary, Kazakhstan. His superior gave him the permission, but only for six weeks. In 2001, Karaganda Bishop Jan Paweł Lenga wanted Father Schneider as a permanent spiritual director for his seminarians. Knowing that Schneider’s superiors would not agree, Lenga who is Polish, went to Rome and asked John Paul II for his help. John Paul II’s secretary called Father Schneider’s superiors and they gave in.

Benedict XVI Intervenes

In March 2006, Schneider received a phone call from the Nuncio in Astana, Kazakhstan, asking to see him. Schneider believed the Nuncio wanted to talk to him about an academic program for priests that was in elaboration. When Schneider arrived, the Nuncio told him that Benedict XVI had chosen him to be a bishop. Schneider asked, “The Pope appointed me bishop and I knew nothing about it before?". The Nuncio responded, "You were not allowed to know about it in advance," explaining that this was Benedict’s “personal decision”. Schneider understood that the appointment was God’s will. Quote: "But I was not happy. A kind of sadness lay upon my soul". Schneider worried about his new office.

Building a Cathedral

As an auxiliary bishop, Schneider participated in the construction of the beautiful Karaganda cathedral which is furnished with high-quality works of art and without altar table facing the people. He once saw two local Muslim women walking past the cathedral under construction. One asked the other, "What are they building here?" Her friend answered, "This is a Catholic mosque". Surprisingly, in 2011, Schneider was moved as an auxiliary bishop to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. This happened before the cathedral was consecrated. However, when the consecration took place in September 2012, an altar table facing the people was put into the sanctuary.