Azerbaijani ambassador presents his credentials to Pope Francis [PHOTO]
Azerbaijani ambassador to the Holy See Ilgar Muxtarov presented his credentials to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, Azernews reports.
The ambassador conveyed the greetings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva to Pope Francis as well as an invitation to visit Azerbaijan. The ambassador stated that over the past 30 years, relations between Azerbaijan and the Holy See have progressed significantly due to mutual respect. Ilgar Muxtarov recalled the official visits of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva to the Holy See, as well as the visit of Pope Francis to Azerbaijan.
The opening of the Azerbaijani embassy in the Holy See was cited as evidence of the importance placed on bilateral relations.
During the conversation, Pope Francis expressed gratitude for the greetings and asked to convey greetings to President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva. The Pope recalled with satisfaction his visit to Azerbaijan in 2016 at the invitation of President Ilham Aliyev and the meeting with representatives of religious communities during the visit. He stated that he was warmly welcomed in Azerbaijan and that the visit left him with a positive impression.
The Roman Catholic Church leader inquired about the situation in the region and emphasized the importance of Azerbaijan's multiculturalism and tolerance, as well as the importance of the country's activities promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue.
Noting the Holy See's effective collaboration with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Pope Francis stated that the Foundation's restoration of a number of historical monuments of universal significance in the Vatican is an excellent job in the field of cultural heritage protection. It was noted that these projects serve to protect the world's cultural, historical, and religious heritage, as well as to foster intercultural and interreligious relations.
The ambassador responded by stating that the initiatives, undertaken in the Vatican by First Vice-President of Azerbaijan and President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva, have reaffirmed Azerbaijan's historical position as a nation dedicated to and actively promoting multicultural values.
Pope Francis asked the ambassador to send the Azerbaijani people his sincere greetings and best wishes.
Also, during the meeting of the Azerbaijani ambassador to the Vatican, Ilgar Muxtarov, with the Holy See's Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, it was announced that the Secretary of State will visit Azerbaijan.
At the meeting, satisfaction was expressed with the high level of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Vatican, the importance of this interaction was emphasized in terms of civilizational and inter-religious dialogue, as well as promoting tolerance in the world.
The Secretary of State of the Holy See asked the ambassador to convey his greetings to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva and said that he would visit our country this year.
In addition to announcing his impending visit to Azerbaijan this year, Pietro Parolin asked the ambassador to send greetings to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, and First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva.
Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Vatican were established in 1992.
In 2008, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Roman Catholic Religious Community. The document envisages the implementation of measures aimed at the ethnocultural development of the people inhabiting Azerbaijan, as well as the support for the reconstruction projects, social and religious facilities in the areas identified in the document.
In the same year, the Catholic Church was inaugurated in Baku. The Catholic Church in Baku was first built in 1912, but in 1934 the church was destroyed by the Soviet authorities.
Azerbaijani expo dedicated to the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations was held in the Vatican museums in 2012. It was the first Muslim country fair in the Vatican. The exhibition "Historical Review of Azerbaijan's Pearls" opened in the Vatican on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and the Vatican with the initiative and support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in 2012. One of the main features of the exhibition was the presentation of Azerbaijan as a crossroads of cultures and civilizations.
The archaeological materials found in the territory of Azerbaijan, reflecting the culture and lifestyle of Azerbaijan, various art samples, Azerbaijani carpets, ancient manuscripts, and holy books of different religions were demonstrated at the exhibition. Various editions of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Italian were also presented.
In 2012, the "Bilateral Agreement on the Restoration of Roman Catholic Cities” was signed between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Holy See. The Foundation has funded the restoration of a number of historical monuments and churches in the Vatican.
In 2015, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Vatican's Saint Marcellino and Pietro Catacombs were opened after the major repair and reconstruction. Saint Marcellino and Pietro catacombs are one of the most important and most interesting monuments for the Christian world among the approximately 60 catacombs around Rome, located on Labicana Street. Countless paintings are also stored here.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz