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History of Apostolic Administration of Atyrau

In 1999, the Holy See (Vatican), in accordance with the Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Kazakhstan on relations of September 24, 1998, founded the Apostolic Administration in Atyrau. On March 29, 2000, the Atyrau Apostolic Administration received state registration for a legal entity. On August 4, 2002 in Atyrau, our church was consecrated by the Apostolic Nuncio of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, Archbishop Jozef Veselovsky, with the participation of all the bishops of Kazakhstan, as well as priests from Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the consecration of the Catholic cathedral church “Transfiguration of the Lord” in . Atyrau.

In addition to parishioners, invited guests and many interested parties, the consecration ceremony was attended by the Ambassador of Poland to Kazakhstan Zdislav Novitsky, Consul of Poland to Kazakhstan Michal Grechilo, as well as the deputy of the city of Atyrau, head of the Council for Relations with Religious Associations under the Akim of the region, and a representative of the Atyrau imam.

The consecration became possible thanks to the personal material support of Pope John Paul II and more than thirty other church, public and individual donations. The entire architectural complex was designed by the Polish architect Elzbieta Langer, and includes the building of the temple, the premises of the church center, the Apostolic Administration, as well as housing for three sisters from the Congregation of Sisters from Poor Child Jesus.

Apostolic Administrator of Atyrau

Monsignor Peter Sakmar was born on October 12, 1978 in the city of Levoča (Slovakia), in the Spis Diocese. After graduating from high school in 1997 and completing military service in 1999-2000, he entered the Theological Seminary and completed his studies at the Faculty of Theology at the Theological Institute in Spisske Podhradie.

On June 17, 2006, he was ordained as priest in the town of Spisske Podhradie and served as a priest assistent in the village of Oravska Polgora since 2006 to 2008.

In July 2008, he began ministry in the Atyrau Apostolic Administration. He was appointened as a priest assistent in the parish of “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” from 2008 to 2011, and then as parish priest from 2015 to 2017. From 2015 he served as an exorcist in the same church district.

From 2017 to 2020 he served as a spiritual director at the Inter-Diocesan Higher Theological Seminary “Mary – Mother of the Church” in Karaganda and took part in a school for confessors in Krakow, Poland. In addition, since 2019, he has served as Coordinator of Exorcists in Kazakhstan.

Besides Slovak, he speaks Russian, Polish, and English.

On December 08, 2020, Pope Francis appointed Father Peter Sakmar as Apostolic Administrator of the Roman Catholic Atyrau Apostolic Administration.