AZERBAIJAN – Vatican representatives meet Caucasus Muslim leaders
A meeting between a delegation from the Vatican and a delegation of the Caucasus Muslim Department (CMD) has taken place in Baku, a little over a month before Pope Francis’ visit to the country. The meeting was chaired by Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazadeh, chairman of the DMC, and Bishop Mauricio Rueda Beltz, organizer of papal trips. Pope Francis will meet with Sheikh Allahshukur Pashazadeh during his visit to Azerbaijan on 2 October.
During the exchange, the “important” meetings between religious leaders and the deepening of ties between Catholics and Muslims was highlighted. Referring to the multicultural values of Azerbaijan, the two sides expressed satisfaction with the good relations between the Caucasian countries and the Holy See, and discussed the development prospects of religious and spiritual relationship with the DMC. According to figures supplied by Aid to the Church in Need, Muslims represent almost 97% of the Azerbaijani population.
Pope Francis will visit Azerbaijan on 2 October, the last day of his Caucasian tour, after spending two days in Georgia. He will celebrate Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the Salesian center of Baku and have lunch with the Salesian community. He will also be received by President Ilham Aliyev.
The Pope will participate in interreligious and ecumenical meetings with Sheikh of Caucasus Muslims Allahshukur Pashazade in the capital’s mosque, the Orthodox Bishop of Baku and the president of the Jewish community.