One of main reasons why I am so much interested in Khabarovsk is the distance between Niigata and Khabarovsk. The Vladivostok Air has 2 weekly direct flights from Niigata to Khabarovsk on Mondays and Fridays. Flight time? Less than 2 hours. As you know very well, Khabarovsk Catholic Church belongs to the diocese of Irkutsk. Flight time between Khabarovsk and Irkutsk? More than 3 and half hours. So Niigata is much closer to Khabarovsk than Irkutsk. That is one of the main reasons why I think that we should show our solidarity to the Catholic community in Khabarovsk since we are their immediate neighbour.
But during this visit, I also got to know that traveling from Khabarovsk to European cities are cheaper than traveling to Japan. In fact, for this case, distance does not matter for Air company to set the price. After all Russia is a part of Europe. It is also the same situation for us, Japanese. In order to obtain Visa, we have to book air travel and hotel stay together for entire schedule beforehand. And hotel in Siberia is not so cheap. So the same amount of price of a week stay in Siberia may provide one much more days in other tourist destinations in, say, Europe. This could create a future problem when we think about frequent visits to and from Khabarovsk.
Photo above is the former Catholic Church in Irkutsk which is serving as a concert hall at this moment. As what I heard so far, former communist regime took over church buildings in Russia and used them for other purposes such as store rooms. As for the former Catholic Church in Irkutsk which had been used as the concert hall, a pipe organ from Germany has been installed. It seems that for the city government, relocation of this pipe organ is not so easy since the organ was designed specifically for this chapel. By the way, the organ is placed at where an alter should be.
So it seems that this situation makes returning of the church building to Catholic Church difficult. At least a small ground level room had been released for Catholic Church as a chapel. And this place has been the second Catholic Church in Irkutsk. (Photo above. Former Catholic Church in Irkutsk, and now it is the concert hall for the city.)