14 September, 2022 137

President of the Republic of Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan is home to the largest Catholic community in Central Asia

At the end of the bilateral meeting, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Pope Francis took a walk to the Central Concert Hall "Kazakhstan", where they held a joint meeting with representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps.

This was reported by the press service of Akorda.

After the negotiations, the President of Kazakhstan and the Pope of Rome held a joint meeting with representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps in the central concert hall "Kazakhstan".

Opening the event, the Head of our state emphasized the historical significance of today.

“Pope Francis is making an apostolic visit to Kazakhstan for the first time. This year marks 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and the Vatican. Your visit coincided with this significant date. We attach particular importance to this event, since today's meeting is designed to bring our cooperation in various fields to a new level,” the President said.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev welcomed the tireless and selfless efforts of the Pontiff for the benefit of mankind.

“You arrived in Kazakhstan at a turning point in the history of mankind. I believe that the time has come for representatives of different cultures and religions to show wisdom and energy in order to unite people in the name of peace, social harmony and mutual support,” the Head of State said.

The leader of Kazakhstan noted that over the 30 years of Independence, our country has formed its own model of interethnic and interreligious harmony, based on the principle of "unity in diversity."

“Today, Kazakhstan is home to the largest Catholic community in Central Asia. Christians, along with other believers, make a great contribution to building a Just Kazakhstan, where an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect reigns,” the President emphasized.

In his speech, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev focused on the fact that an integral element of Kazakhstan's efforts aimed at ensuring harmony and dialogue in the world is the holding of congresses of leaders of world and traditional religions.

“Since its first convening in 2003, the Congress has served as a good example of bringing people together, despite their differences. I firmly believe that only dialogue, human brotherhood and respect will make peaceful coexistence and tolerance possible. In this vein, I highly appreciate the deep involvement and invaluable support of the work of the Congress by the Holy See,” the Head of State said.

Summing up, the President expressed confidence that the personal participation of the Head of the Catholic Church in the upcoming Congress will ensure its great success and instill joy and happiness in the hearts of Catholics around the world.

Then Pope Francis addressed the participants of the event. In his speech, he expressed satisfaction with his apostolic visit to the ancient Kazakh land. As the Pontifex said, he came here as a pilgrim of peace in order to seek dialogue and unity.

“The local saying goes: the beginning of success is unity. This is certainly important everywhere, but especially here. The country has almost one hundred and fifty ethnic groups and more than eighty languages. These are peoples with different histories, cultural and religious traditions, which together form an incredible symphony and make Kazakhstan a unique multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-confessional laboratory, pointing to its special vocation - to be a meeting place,” the Pontifex noted.

The head of the Catholic Church welcomed the decision of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to abolish the death penalty in the country. In his opinion, this serves as a statement of the value of human life in the name of the right to hope for every individual.

The Pope has called for intensified diplomatic efforts to promote the dialogue needed in the current geopolitical tensions.

“It is time to learn not to exacerbate enmity and stop strengthening opposing blocs. We need leaders who at the international level could promote mutual understanding and dialogue between peoples and revive the “Helsinki spirit”, the desire to strengthen multilateralism, build a more stable and peaceful world, taking care of new generations. This requires understanding, patience and dialogue with everyone. I repeat, with everyone!” said Pope Francis.

The pontiff highly appreciated the efforts of Kazakhstan in disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, decarbonization of the economy and investment in alternative energy sources.

“Along with concern for interreligious dialogue, these are all the seeds of hope planted in the common soil of humanity, which we must cultivate for the sake of new generations, youth. The Holy See supports you on this path,” said the Pope.

The head of the Catholic Church expressed his gratitude to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for his hospitality, wishing peace and unity to our country.

At the end of the event, the President of Kazakhstan thanked the Pontiff for his warm wishes and respect for our country, as well as for his inspiring speech.

Photo akorda.kz

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