From Emmanuel, Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon
His Excellency Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
On 10 May 2023, the world commemorated the centennial of the birth of your beloved father, Heydar Aliyev, a leader of the proud Azerbaijani people and one of the founders of the independent Republic of Azerbaijan. Throughout his many dedicated years in public life, Heydar Aliyev exhibited strong leadership qualities and guided his people through the last century’s complex historical and political challenges. His efforts played a crucial role in achieving independence for his country and people. His governance skills, political determination, and unwavering conviction were particularly evident during the Soviet era when he successfully initiated many large-scale projects.
In the 1990s, after Azerbaijan restored its sovereignty, the nation faced much uncertainty because of internal and external factors, regional tension and hostilities, and economic problems. Heydar Aliyev, assuming power during a critical period when Azerbaijan’s destiny was at stake, played a vital role in rescuing the country from fragmentation and anarchy, thus laying the groundwork for sustainable development. At the time, his vision played a significant role in Azerbaijan’s economic prosperity today, mainly through the effective management of national resources.
Heydar Aliyev’s contributions to his homeland were substantial, including implementing comprehensive reforms across various domains. His state-building program resulted in achievements such as preserving the national language, commemorating significant public, political, and cultural events, and the international recognition of Azerbaijan’s ancient heritage, characterized by centuries of spiritual and cultural traditions.
Personally, I had the privilege and honour of meeting your father at the end of his political career. What left a lasting impression on me was how he respected His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and other religious leaders.
Heydar Aliyev, who left an indelible mark on the world through his leadership of Azerbaijan, was proud of being an Azerbaijani throughout his life, from his youth during the Soviet period and the early years of Azerbaijan’s freedom. It goes without saying that he is a source of national pride and is recognized as a symbol of Azerbaijan worldwide. In reflecting on his numerous contributions to your country’s society, culture, and industry, I express the hope that Azerbaijan may continue to prosper and reach new heights following the vision of one of its great leaders.
Elder Metropolitan of Chalcedon