By Euronews • Updated: 15/09/2022 – 15:57
Pope Francis attends the interfaith conference on his three-day visit of Kazakhstan – Copyright AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
The seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions is taking place in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan. The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is attending as part of his three-day visit to the country along with other religious leaders.
Chaired by Kazakh President Kasssym-Jomart Tokayev at the Independent Palace, one of the goals of this congress is to promote peace through dialogue.
“Kazakh lands have served as a bridge between the West and the East for centuries. It has witnessed various nomadic empires passing through the great steppe. The common point for all of them was religion and belief,” said Tokayev.
During the two-day congress, participants will focus on the role of religious leaders in a post-pandemic world.
“It’s absolutely necessary to have a dialogue on the challenges of this world and to have a strong, collective call for peace and justice in this world as well”, said Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
This year’s congress brings together delegates from more than 50 countries representing different world religions.
“The key for peace today in this unstable world is to engage, to talk, to be together, to try to understand each other, to know personally each other and that’s what can bring people together,” said Aron Frenkel, the chairman of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.
Professor Azza Karam, the Secretary General of Religions for Peace, said: “The most important thing that is being achieved here is to normalise the conversation between different religions through their religious leaders, it is to make it popular and important for religious leaders to come together as one, which is very rare we don’t see it very frequently.
“But it essentially normalises the space of convening between different religions and in our times and in our world it’s very important.”
Some of the participants said the pandemic has shown how connected human beings are, stressing that this is something many seem to forget.