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Pope Francis visits the Heydar Aliyev Center

Pope Francis addressed religious leaders and members of the public at the Heydar Aliyev Center as part of his visit to Baku.

“I am pleased to be visiting Azerbaijan, and I thank you for your warm welcome to this city, the country’s capital, on the shore of the Caspian Sea, a city which has been radically transformed with new buildings, such as the one where we are meeting,” Francis said.

“I have come to this country full of admiration for the intricacy and richness of your culture, fruit of the contribution of so many peoples who in the course of history have inhabited these lands,” he continued. “They have given life to a fabric of experiences, values and distinctive features which characterize contemporary society and are reflected in the prosperity of the modern Azeri state. This coming 18 October Azerbaijan will celebrate twenty-five years of independence. This occasion affords the possibility of taking comprehensive stock of these decades, of the progress achieved and of the challenges which the country is facing.”

“It is a path which requires constant attention towards all, especially the weakest, and one which is possible thanks to a society which recognizes the benefits of multiculturalism and of the necessary complementarity of cultures. This in turn leads to mutual collaboration and respect among the various components of civil society and among the adherents of various religious confessions,” explained Francis.


TIME magazine

(Above image: Reuters/NYT)