By Aisha Jabbarova
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva have expressed condolences to Russia's Patriarch Kirill over the death of Archbishop of the Baku and Azerbaijan Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Alexander Ischein, Azertag reported on June 11.
In a letter sent to Kirill, the president and the first lady have praised Archbishop Alexander’s contribution to strengthen Azerbaijani-Russian friendship and interreligious solidarity.
"Archbishop Alexander’s tireless activities, bright preaching talent, and his great personal contribution to the strengthening of Azerbaijan-Russia friendship, interfaith solidarity, and tolerance have rightly earned him deep respect among the representatives of various nations and religions. His memory will always live in our hearts," the letter reads.
"Your Holiness, please accept, in this sorrowful time, our deepest condolences over this heavy loss.”
Earlier today, Mehriban Aliyeva paid tribute to Archbishop Iscehin in a post in her Instagram account, describing him a “sincere, kind and generous person”.
“His unwavering devotion to his profession, his contribution to the development of multicultural values and the expansion of dialogue between religions and civilizations earned him great love and respect in Azerbaijan. His blessed memory will always live in our hearts. On this sad day, I pray to the Almighty God to rest his soul in peace and grant patience to his relatives and loved ones!” the post reads.
Alexander Ischein was award both by Ilham Aliyev and by Vladimir Putin during his lifetime.
President Aliyev in June 2012 awarded Ischein Dostlug Order for his outstanding achievements in the development of friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. Receiving the award in a ceremony hosted at the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations, Ischein had praised Azerbaijan for creating equal conditions for all peoples and religions, stressing that "Multinationality is our wealth. In Azerbaijan, each nation retains its own culture and traditions. Representatives of all religions enjoy equal opportunities in the country.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin also conferred Friendship Order upon Ischein in 2017 for his contribution to the activities of the Russian diaspora, as well as his role in strengthening inter-faith understanding and cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.
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