OPENING OF THE EXHIBITION «POPE JOHN PAUL II – THE POPE OF DIALOGUE», DEDICATED TO THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

Today, the Museum of the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbassy opened the exhibition "Pope John Paul II – the Pope of dialogue", dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Pope John Paul II, as well as the official visit of the Pontiff to Kazakhstan in 2001.

The event was organized as part of the international exhibition project of the Library "Dialogue through culture" in cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Apostolic Nunciature in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In his welcoming speech, Director of the Library of Elbassy Amerkhan Rakhimzhanov noted that John Paul II left an indelible mark on the history of mankind and warm memories in the hearts of millions of people.

"The visit of Pope John Paul II, whom the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbassy Nursultan Nazarbayev described as "a man, the humanist, the philosopher and the sage", took place on the 10th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence and became a unique event in the history of a young sovereign state, having played an invaluable role in establishing inter-civilizational, interreligious and interfaith dialogue in the international political arena, as well as in strengthening dialogue and partnership between Kazakhstan and the Vatican.".

Tomorrow, on November 11, Poland celebrates Independence Day, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Kazakhstan Selim Khazbievich said during the event. In this regard, he noted the special importance of the exhibition dedicated to the famous son of the Polish people - John Paul II.

"The opening of the exhibition takes place in the hall, here in 2001 the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met with John Paul II.  Indeed, the spirit of those years has been preserved here, and you can even feel the atmosphere of that meeting. Kazakhstan is an amazing country where Islam, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church live in harmony. This is the place where true dialogue between religions takes place. This is very important for us. Today the government of Kazakhstan is pursuing a very interesting foreign and domestic policy concerning interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue not only in the Republic but also in Asian and European countries", said Selim Khazbievich.

Archbishop Francis Assisi Chullikatt, Apostolic Nuncio in Kazakhstan, greeted the audience:

      "The importance of the dialogue was the main reason for the historic visit of John Paul II to Kazakhstan, which he described as "a country open for meeting and dialogue."  In his first speech, delivered immediately after he kissed this noble Kazakh land at Nur-Sultan airport, the Pontiff highly appreciated Kazakhstan's commitment and determination to "grow in brotherhood, dialogue and mutual understanding, which are the necessary foundations for building bridges of solidarity with other nations, peoples and cultures."
      Head of the Catholic Church of Kazakhstan Tomas Pat noted at the opening of the exhibition that the historic visit of John Paul II was an unforgettable event for Kazakhstan.
       "John Paul II was delighted with Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstan was delighted with the Pope. People said a Saint had come to us. The people of Kazakhstan, led by Nursultan Nazarbayev, showed the Pope great love and hospitality. Addressing the people of Kazakhstan during the visit, the Pontiff said: "Kazakhstan has a mission to be a bridge between religions and cultures."

      The purpose of the exhibition "Pope John Paul II - the Pope of dialogue" is to highlight significant milestones in diplomatic contacts and the implementation of the policy of interfaith harmony through the prism of meetings between Elbassy and Pope John Paul II.
      Over three decades of independence, Kazakhstan has formed a new statehood and its unique model of a secular state, characterized by an active state policy aimed at creating inter-religious and inter-confessional harmony.
      In the Kazakhstani model of social development, special attention is paid to the merits of religious leaders who make a worthy contribution to the consolidation and unity of Kazakhstani society. It is thanks to their responsible contribution to society that state policy towards religion has undergone a transformation from rejecting and fighting religion to partnering with major faiths.
      2020 in Poland is proclaimed the Year of John Paul II. 100 years ago, on May 18, 1920, Karol Jozef Wojtyla was born in the Polish city of Wadowice. On October 16, 1978, Karol Wojtyla was elected head of the Roman Catholic Church at the conclave of cardinals and took the name of John Paul II. He became the second foreign pope since 1523, one of the youngest pontiffs in history and the first Pope of Slavic origin. As head of the Catholic Church, John Paul II left a bright and indelible mark on the history of mankind and warm memories in the hearts of millions of people. The Pontiff has made 104 pastoral visits outside of Italy. More than 17.6 thousand pilgrims took part in his public audiences. He made 38 official visits and held 738 meetings with heads of state.

 The official visit of John Paul II to Kazakhstan took place 19 years ago, on September 22, 2001, at the 10th anniversary of independence of Kazakhstan, and became a unique event in the history of a young sovereign state, having played an invaluable role in establishing an inter-civilizational, interreligious and interfaith dialogue in the international political arena. and in strengthening dialogue and partnership between Kazakhstan and the Vatican.

 The exhibition opened in the building of the Elbassy Library Museum, where the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbassy N. Nazarbayev met with the Pontiff, in 2001 the building was the working residence of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The exhibition consists of three sections:
1 section "Pope John Paul II – the Pope of dialogue" will introduce visitors to the biography and activities of the Pontiff, material provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the Republic of Kazakhstan;
 2 section "Meetings of Elbassy with the Pontiff" is represented by archival materials from the Personal Archive of Elbassy, testifying to the official visit of the Pontiff to Kazakhstan, as well as meetings of Elbassy with representatives of the Vatican. The exhibition presents exhibits from the collection of the Library of Elbassy: the highest state award of the Vatican - the order of Pius and diplomatic gifts from the Pope;
3 section "Kazakhstan-Poland: when friendship is priceless". On the eve of Independence Day of Poland – November 11, the Library of Elbassy organized an exhibition, telling about the history of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Poland.
The exhibition "Pope John Paul II – the Pope of dialogue" will run until December 31, 2020.