The gathering of religious leaders is also a fruit of St. John Paul II’s pilgrimage to Kazakhstan in 2001, Peta said: “In a predominantly Muslim country, 40,000 people gathered for Mass in Mother of the Homeland Square. In his homily to the followers of many religions, John Paul II called on Kazakhstan to become a bridge between continents, countries, religions, and cultures. These words inspired then President Nursultan Nazarbayev to hold the first congress in the national capital two years later.”
The Catholic prelate told CNA the country has achieved a largely peaceful diversity of religions for profound reasons.
“One of them is history,” he said. “Kazakhstan was an ‘ocean of blood and tears,’ home to the largest concentration camps during the Soviet era. The Karaganda camp was the size of today’s France. Prisoners of different religions helped one another to survive.”
Peta told CNA: “When there was a Christian holiday, Muslims would take on the work of…