Secretary on foreign relations of the State Secretariat of Vatican Jean-Louis Tauran and other officials visited the Azerbaijan State Committee on work with religious structures.

Chairman of the State Committee Rafig Aliyev updated the guests upon the structure and activity of the Committee and catholic community of Azerbaijan. He noted that following the visit of Pope of Rome John Paul II to Azerbaijan, many problems were tackled and now the community has a residence where Vatican representative works. Also, the church is being constructed. R. Aliyev said that the Committee is to adjust inter-religious relations and render help in cooperation.

Having expressed his gratitude for warm welcome, Mr. Jean-Louis Tauran remained convinced with Azerbaijani nation’s tolerance and equilibrium between the religions in Azerbaijan. The dialogue between religion and state is vital, according to the guest, catholic community in Azerbaijan is not numerous but it can do much good and benefit. The main goal of the church is to participate in the social life of the country and it must be known by its businesses.

Mr. Tauran presented a medal with an image of Virgin Maria to R. Aliyev.


Head of the Caucasian Clerical Office Sheikulislam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade received the Secretary on foreign relations of the State Secretariat of Vatican, archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and his retinue at his residence.

Greeting the guests, Sheikulislam noted that thanks to the policy pursued by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev, all the main confessions, including the Rome catholic confession, function in the Country. Religious tolerance and respect for all the peoples is a tradition in Azerbaijan. Every confession has its church in our Republic, but a friend in need is a friend in deed, he stressed. We expect you to partake in the fair resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Moreover, Vatican can call on its co-believers - the Armenians, for peaceful solution of the problem.

Then Sheikulislam reminded the visit of Pope of Rome John Paul II to Azerbaijan, expressing a hope that he is to appeal to His Highness to promote in bringing the realities on Azerbaijan to the world’s notice.

Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran expressed his gratitude for warm reception, stressing that he was satisfied with the activity of the Catholic community. He also thanked for hospitality during the visit of His Highness to Baku.

The reception was attended by All-Caspian archbishop Father Alexander, head of the Highland Jews Semyon Ikhiilov, head of the European Jews Gennady Zelmanovich, who welcomed the guests.

Sheikulislam Haji Allahshukur Pashazade gave a dinner in honor of the guests.


The same day, delegation of Vatican met with the Catholic community residing in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The Archbishop prayed at the Baku Catholic Church temoporarily placed in the residence of the community.

Then, he inaugurated the site of construction of the future Catholic Church in Baku.

Representatives of the foreign ministry of Azerbaijan, Catholic believers, representatives of other religions, as well as journalists attended the ceremony.

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