Kazakhstan President Tokayev Makes First Visit to Vatican

During his visit to Italy last week, Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made his first official visit to the Holy See at the invitation of Pope Francis.

During the meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on January 19th, Tokayev expressed gratitude to the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church for his tireless efforts to serve humanity around the world, Tokayev’s press service reported.

“Your prayer for peace instilled aspiration and new hope not only in the hearts and minds of thousands of Catholics, but of many of our fellow citizens of other religions. Today, multiethnic and multiconfessional Kazakhstan, which has been historically located at the crossroads of various civilizations, is a proud home to the largest Catholic community in Central Asia,” said Tokayev.

“We have managed to form our own model of peace and national dialogue, based on the principles of ‘unity-in-diversity’. People of various faiths have their places of worship in Kazakhstan. Fostering religious freedom is an integral part of my presidential agenda,” the Kazakh leader emphasized.

Tokayev stressed that “We should all come together as one, despite our differences, in order to preach and practice peace, facilitate an ongoing dialogue across cultures and religions, and to drive forward development for the benefit of people of all faiths.” The Pontiff thanked Tokayev for his contribution to peace and harmony.

The Kazakh president also met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations.

The Holy See’s press office said that during the meetings with president Tokayev, appreciation was expressed for the good relations between the Holy See and Kazakhstan, with particular reference to mutual collaboration in the sphere of interreligious dialogue. Regional and international themes were also discussed, with special attention to conflicts and humanitarian issues.

Pope Francis visited Kazakhstan in September 2022, when he took part in the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions held in Astana. This Congress is held in the Kazakh capital every three years, functioning as a permanent international interfaith platform for dialogue between religions.


Times of Central Asia