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On 20 February 2013, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met with Mr. Kairat Mami, chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. They were joined in the meeting by Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan and Metropolitan Vikentiy of Tashkent and Central Asia.

Speaker Mami greeted the guests and noted a special historical role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the shaping of national identity of Kazakhstan, which is a place where people and religions live in peace and harmony. He underscored that the Russian Orthodox Church was the second-large traditional religion in the country and plays a leading role in the consolidation of interconfessional accord. Speaker Mami highly appreciated the level of relations reached between the leaders of the Kazakhstan metropolitan area and state authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Metropolitan Hilarion quoted the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev who said that Kazakhstan was like a bird with two wings –   Islam and Orthodoxy. The DECR chairman added that the authorities of the Russian Orthodox Church noted with satisfaction the level and character of relations between the metropolitan area and Kazakhstan’s government bodies. He emphasized that the supreme authority of the Russian Orthodox Church pays great attention to the development of church structure in Kazakhstan and in Central Asia as general, giving an example of the professional development courses for bishops of the Kazakhstan and Central Asia metropolitan areas and of Azerbaijan held in Astana with the blessing of His Holiness the Patriarch.

Special attention in the talk was paid to the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Speaker Mami, being its secretary, invited Metropolitan Hilarion to take part in the session of its presidium that is due to take place next September.