Rome (Italy). From 13 to 15 September 2022, Pope Francis will make an apostolic journey to Kazakhstan, a country visited by John Paul II in 2001, where the VIICongress of Leaders of World and traditional Religions is held in the capital Nur-Sultan for religious leaders and traditional religions of the world. The event aims to affirm peace, harmony, and tolerance as essential principles of human existence; achieve mutual respect and tolerance between religions, denominations, nations, and ethnic groups; prevent the use of people’s religious feelings to fuel conflict and hostilities.

The Congress will be attended by about 100 delegations from 60 countries, including representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shinto, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, as well as the Supreme Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad al -Tayeb, Pope Francis, and other religious leaders and representatives of international organizations (Official website).

Voyage logo

“Messengers of peace and of unity” is the motto of the journey, shown at the top in the Kazakh language, and, at the bottom, in the Russian language.

The logo depicts a dove with an olive branch, whose wings are two joined hands, a symbol of the messengers of peace and unity. The heart inside the wings represents love, the fruit of mutual understanding, cooperation, and dialogue. The stylized olive branch is depicted through a typical Kazakh ornamental image. The light blue lines in the background depict a ‘shanyrak’, an element of the traditional home of the people of the country, the ‘yurt’ with a yellow cross inside.

The colors used, light blue and yellow, are the same as the flag of Kazakhstan; the yellow and white, those of the Vatican flag, while the green of the twig symbolizes hope.

The program

On the evening of 13 September, Pope Francis will arrive at Nur-Sultan airport, where he will be officially welcomed. The welcome ceremony at the Presidential Palace will be followed by a courtesy visit to the President of the Republic, Kassim-Jomart Tokayev, and a meeting with authorities, civil society, and the diplomatic corps.

On 14 September, after the silent prayer of religious leaders, the Congress will officially open at the “Independence Palace” and the Plenary Session will begin. Afterwards, the Pope will have private meetings with some religious leaders and will preside over the Holy Mass in the forecourt of the Expo.

Several meetings are scheduled for 15 September: the private one with the members of the Society of Jesus, which will be followed by the one with the Bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated persons, seminarians, and pastoral workers, at the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Perpetual Help. In the afternoon, before returning to Rome, Pope Francis will participate in the reading of the Final Declaration and at the conclusion of the Congress at the “Independence Palace”.

In the Angelus of Sunday 11 September, Pope Francis recalled this important journey, asking to accompany him with prayer:

“The day after tomorrow I will leave for a three-day trip to Kazakhstan, where I will take part in the Congress of the Heads of World and Traditional Religions. It will be an opportunity to meet many religious representatives and dialogue as brothers, animated by the common desire for peace, peace for which our world is thirsting. Already now, I would like to extend a cordial greeting to the participants, as well as to the Authorities, the Christian communities, and the entire population of that vast country. I am grateful for the preparations and for the work done in view of my visit. I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of dialogue and peace with prayer”.


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