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On 1 October 2017, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia attended a grand meeting that marked the 145th anniversary of the Tashkent diocese.

Prior to the meeting that took place at the Turkiston Palace in Tashkent, His Holiness met with Mrs. Tatyana Karimova, widow of the first President of Uzbekistan.

Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan delivered an opening address, in which he dwelt on the history of the Tashkent diocese and noted good neighbourly relations between the Orthodox Christians and Muslims in Uzbekistan.

The head of the Central Asia metropolitan area expressed his gratitude to President Shavkat Mirzyoyev, to Mr. Ortiqbek Yusupov, chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs of Uzbekistan, and to the governing bodies of the country for the assistance rendered to the diocese.

Mr. Rustam Kamilov, State Advisor to the President of Uzbekistan, read out a message of greetings from Mr. Shavkat Mirzyoyev:

“I wholeheartedly congratulate you on this memorable date – the 145th anniversary of the establishment of the Tashkent and Uzbekistan diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The celebrations are being held with great solemnity thanks to the participation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is nowadays a constructive and unifying power and a symbol of faith for a very big part of our planet’s population.

“The history of the Russian Orthodox Church’s activities in the territory of Uzbekistan has deep roots. We highly appreciate its role in strengthening interethnic and civil accord in the country, as well as in promoting friendship and mutual understanding between people of different religions.

“At all times, religious tolerance has been an integral part of mentality of the Uzbek people. During various difficult historical periods, Muslims of our land showed mercy and kindness to the Orthodox Christians, rendering them aid and assistance. Today Orthodoxy is the second largest religion after Islam in Uzbekistan.

“Over all these years of independence, our country has been consistently implementing a government policy aimed at preserving and strengthening the interethnic and interfaith accord. The favourable environment has been created in our society, enabling the Orthodox Christians to lead a full life. For instance, there have been built and restored many Orthodox churches. We will, of course, continue this work. In compliance with Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy for 2017-2021, a series of measures is being implemented at the moment with the view of further promoting in our life the principles of tolerance, mutual respect and kindness, and safeguarding the rights of believers.

“Today, when the world is facing various increasing conflicts and confrontations and the peaceful life and security have been jeopardized, it is of particular importance to ensure the unity of our multiethnic and multi-religious society, to educate our youth in respect to universal human values and in eagerness to learn and grow spiritually, as well as to strengthen the institution of family.

“It should be noted that the Tashkent and Uzbekistan diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church makes its valuable contribution to this honourable endeavour. I am sure that it will continue its efforts aimed at promoting spiritual traditions of solidarity among our multiethnic people.

“I wish you good health, peace and well-being.”

During the grand meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill delivered an address.

The official part of the meeting was followed by a concert.

Among those who attended the celebrations were members of the official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, accompanying His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on his visit to the Tashkent diocese, as well as the clergy of the Central Asia metropolitan area, ambassadors of several foreign states, and the Uzbek statesmen and public leaders.

Patriarchal Press Service/

DECR Communication Service

Photo by the Patriarchal Press Service