Athanasius Schneider

His excellency Athanasius Schneider O.R.C. (born Anton Schneider on 7 April 1961) is a Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. He is a member of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra.

His Excellency was born as Anton Schneider in the town of Tokmok, Kirgiz SSR, the Soviet Union on 7 April 1961. He was baptised by a clandenstine Lithuanian priest, Pater Antonius Šeškevicius S.J. His German parents from Odessa in the Ukraine were deported by Stalin to a Gulag labour camp in the Ural Mountains after the Second World War. When they were released, they moved to Kirghiz SSR. In Krasnokamsk, the family was closely involved with the underground church. Anton’s mother, Maria, was one of several women who helped shelter the Blessed P. Oleksa Zaryckyj, who would later be imprisoned in the infamous Karlag  (near Karaganda) by the Soviet regime for his ministry; he would eventually be martyred in 1963. Anton received his first Holy Communion in 1973 in secret.

Shortly afterwards his family moved to Germany. In 1982 he joined the Canons Regular of Holy Cross of Coimbra (Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Sanctae Crucis) where he was given the religious name Athanasius after his patron Saint Athanasius. He made religious vows and was ordained a priest by Bishop Manuel Pestana Filho on 25 March 1990. After studying in Rome, where in 1997 he obtained the doctoral degree in Theology and Patristic Sciences at the Patristic Institute “Augustinianum”, in 1999 he started to lecture in patristics at Mary, Mother of the Church Seminary in Karaganda. On 8 April 2006 he was appointed titular bishop of Celerina and auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Karaganda in Kazakhstan. On 2 June 2006 he was consecrated a bishop at the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome by Cardinal Angelo Sodano. On 5 February 2011 he was transferred to the position of auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Astana. He is General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan. During his first visit to Hungary (2016) he had been a priest and a bishop for nearly 26 and 10 years respectively.

About the Holy Communion

Bishop Schneider supports the posture of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling in the liturgy. This is the theme of the Bishop’s book Dominus Est [It Is the Lord!] was published in the spring of 2008 in Italian by the publishing house of the Holy See (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Cittá del Vaticano 2008) and was soon translated into English, German, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian and Chinese. The book contains a foreword written by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, then the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the current Archbishop of Colombo and Metropolitan head of the church in Sri Lanka. The book is martyrological and patristic evidence of, and witness to, the Catholic Church’s ancient practice and principle of receiving Holy Communion, indicating that administering and receiving the Sacrament cannot be separated from the adoration of the Lord. Schneider writes that receiving Holy Communion in this way had become standard practice in the Church by the 5th century, and that several synods of the Western Church from the 7th to the 9th centuries strongly chastised priests who refused to follow this tradition. Receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and knees, where reception and adoration are inextricably interwoven, is the most worthy manner of taking the Sacrament. The general modern practice of receiving Communion in the hand is related to the Lord’s Supper of the Calvinists, who deny the Real Presence.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s first visit to Hungary

The Bishop’s visit took place from 4 to 7 March 2016 (Friday to Monday). March 4-7, 2016 was the first time (Rorate Caeli) that Bishop Athanasius Schneider had visited at the invitation and organization of Dániel Fülep, as a guest at the Newman Center in Sümeg. He held three lectures altogether, all of which were attended by a large audience. The first two in Budapest were about ”The Unchangeable Truth about Marriage and Sexuality” and ”Catholic Faith and Martyrdom” and the third one at the headquarters of the Newman Center in Sümeg about ”The Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church”. Crowning his visit on Laetare Sunday, Bishop Schneider celebrated Pontifical High Mass in the Franciscan Shrine Church of Sümeg on 6 March according to the usus antiquior („forma extraordinaria”). There was a huge attendance not only from all over the country but also from Transylvania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Italy and Austria. This was due not only to the Bishop’s person but also to the fact that it was the first time in over 45 years, i.e. since the introduction of Novus Ordo, that a bishop had celebrated the Sunday Mass in Hungary according to the traditional form of the Roman Rite. 

The teaching of the bishop, who is world-famous for his books Dominus est and Corpus Christi on the Eucharist and the worthy reception of Holy Communion, published by Szent István Társulat and Stella Maris Alapítvány, was well received by the Hungarian public, too.

Recommended readings

His Excellency’s own homepage: GLORIADEI.IO

Schneider, Athanasius; Fülep Dániel (6 March 2016). Exclusive interview with His Excellence DR. ATHANASIUS SCHNEIDER O.R.C. by Dániel Fülep director (Newman Center of Hungary)

Schneider, Athanasius; Fülep Dániel. REGNUM EUCHARISTICUM. The first visit of Bishop Athanasius Schneider to Hungary. Three lectures, a sermon and an exclusive interview. Hungarian and English language e-book version: (For the English version, see page 77)

Schneider, Athanasius; Fülep Dániel (July 2018). CATHOLIC CHURCH: WHERE ARE YOU HEADING?, Interview book, Theologian Dániel Fülep’s interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana. The e-book is free download. Hungarian Electronic Library


The Rosary (latin) – Sorrowful Mysteries – His Excellency Athanasius Schneider O.R.C.