Pope Francis Arrives in Kazakhstan and says "I come there in the course of the mad and tragic war originating from the invasion of Ukraine, while other clashes and threats of conflict endanger our times. I come to amplify the cry of many who implore peace..."

(13 - 15 SEPTEMBER 2022)
"Qazaq Concert Hall" (Nur-Sultan)
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Mr. President of the Republic,
Distinguished Members of the Government and the Diplomatic Corps,
distinguished religious and civil authorities,
distinguished representatives of civil society and the world of culture,
Ladies and gentlemen!
I greet you cordially, grateful to the President for the words he addressed to me. I am honored to be here with you, in this land as extensive as it is ancient, to which I come as a pilgrim of peace, in search of dialogue and unity. Our world urgently needs it, it needs to find harmony. Harmony that in this country can be well represented by a traditional and characteristic musical instrument, of which I have come to know: the dombra. It is a cultural emblem and one of the most important symbols of Kazakhstan, so much so that a specific day was recently dedicated to it. I would like to take dombra as an element around which to articulate what I wish to share with you.
Preparing for this trip, I learned that some versions of the dombra had already been played in medieval times and that, over the centuries, it has accompanied the musical tales of sagas and poetic works, linking the past to the present. 
(English Commentary Starts at the 1:00 Mark on the Video Below:)
 A symbol of continuity in diversity, it therefore punctuates the memory of the country, and thus recalls the importance, in the face of the rapid economic and social changes underway, of not neglecting the links with the life of those who preceded us, even through those traditions that they allow you to treasure the past and enhance what has been inherited. I am thinking, for example, of the beautiful custom here widespread of baking seven loaves in honor of the ancestors on Friday mornings.
The memory of Kazakhstan, which Pope John Paul II, here a pilgrim, defined as "Land of martyrs and believers, Land of deportees and heroes, Land of thinkers and artists" (Speech during the welcome ceremony, 22.9.2001), it bears a glorious history of culture, humanity and suffering. How can we forget, in particular, the prison camps and mass deportations that have seen the oppression of so many populations in the cities and boundless steppes of these regions? But the Kazakhs did not allow themselves to be imprisoned by these abuses: the cure for inclusion flourished from the memory of imprisonment. In this land, traveled since ancient times by great displacements of peoples, the memory of the suffering and trials experienced is an indispensable baggage to set out towards the future, putting the dignity of man, of every man, and of every person first. ethnic, social, religious group.

Let's go back to the dombra: it is played by plucking its two strings. Kazakhstan is also characterized by the ability to proceed by creating harmony between “two parallel ropes”: temperatures as cold in winter as they are high in summer; tradition and progress, well symbolized by the meeting of historic cities with other modern ones, such as this capital. Above all, the notes of two souls resound in the country, the Asian and the European, which make it a permanent "mission of connection between two continents" (Id., Address to young people, 23.9.2001); "A bridge between Europe and Asia", a "link between East and West" (Id., Speech in the farewell ceremony, 25.9.2001). The strings of the dombra usually resonate together with other stringed instruments typical of these places: harmony matures and grows as a whole, in the chorality that makes social life harmonious. "The source of success is unity," says a beautiful local proverb. If this is true everywhere, here in particular: the approximately one hundred and fifty ethnic groups and more than eighty languages ​​present in the country, with varied histories, cultural and religious traditions, compose an extraordinary symphony and make Kazakhstan a multi-ethnic, multi-ethnic laboratory. unique cultural and multi-religious, revealing its particular vocation, that of being a country of encounter.
I am here to underline the importance and urgency of this aspect, to which religions are called to contribute in a particular way; therefore I will have the honor of taking part in the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. Appropriately, the Constitution of Kazakhstan, in defining it as secular, provides for freedom of religion and belief. A healthy secularism, which recognizes the precious and irreplaceable role of religion and contrasts the extremism that corrodes it, represents an essential condition for the equal treatment of every citizen, as well as for fostering the sense of belonging to the country by all its citizens. ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious components. Religions, in fact, while playing the irreplaceable role of seeking and witnessing the Absolute, need the freedom to express themselves. And therefore religious freedom constitutes the best channel for civil coexistence.
It is a need inscribed in the name of this people, in the word "Kazakh", which evokes precisely free and independent walking. The protection of freedom, an aspiration written in the heart of every man, the only condition for the encounter between people and groups to be real and not artificial, is translated into civil society mainly through the recognition of rights, accompanied by duties. I would like to express appreciation, from this point of view, for the affirmation of the value of human life through the abolition of the death penalty, in the name of the right to hope for every human being. Alongside this, it is important to guarantee freedom of thought, conscience and expression, to give space to the unique and equal role that everyone plays for the whole.
Even in this there can be a stimulus the dombra. It is mainly a popular musical instrument and, as such, communicates the beauty of preserving the genius and liveliness of a people. This is entrusted above all to the civil authorities, primarily responsible for promoting the common good, and is implemented in a special way through support for democracy, which is the most suitable way for power to be translated into service for the entire people and not only. of a few. I know that, especially in recent months, a democratization process has been launched aimed at strengthening the powers of Parliament and local authorities and, more generally, a greater distribution of power. It is a meritorious and demanding journey, certainly not a short one, which requires you to continue towards your goal without looking back. In fact, trust in those who govern increases when promises are not instrumental, but are actually implemented.
Everywhere it is necessary that democracy and modernization are not relegated to proclamations, but converge in a concrete service to the people: a good policy made up of listening to the people and responding to their legitimate needs, of constant involvement of civil society and non-governmental organizations and humanitarian, with particular attention to workers, young people and the most vulnerable. And also - every country in the world needs them - measures to combat corruption. This truly democratic political style is the most effective response to possible extremisms, personalisms, populisms, which threaten the stability and well-being of peoples. I also think of the need for a certain economic security, which here at the beginning of the year was invoked in regions where, despite the considerable energy resources, there are various difficulties. It is a challenge that concerns not only Kazakhstan, but the whole world, whose integral development is held hostage by widespread injustice, whereby resources are unequally distributed. And it is the task of the state, but also of the private sector, to treat all components of the population with justice and equal rights and duties, and to promote economic development not on the basis of the earnings of a few, but of the dignity of each worker.
Let's go back to dombra for the last time - they will say that this Pope is a musician -. It unites Kazakhstan with several countries in the surrounding area and contributes to spreading its culture throughout the world. Likewise, I hope that the name of this great country will continue to be synonymous with harmony and peace. Kazakhstan is configured as a crossroads of relevant geopolitical hubs: it, therefore, plays a fundamental role in mitigating conflicts. Here John Paul II came to sow hope immediately after the tragic attacks of 2001. I come there in the course of the mad and tragic war originating from the invasion of Ukraine, while other clashes and threats of conflict endanger our times. I come to amplify the cry of many who implore peace, an essential development path for our globalized world. And peace is this: an essential development path for our globalized world.
The need to broaden the diplomatic commitment in favor of dialogue and encounter is therefore increasingly pressing, because the problem of someone is everyone's problem today, and those who hold more power in the world have more responsibility towards others, especially those in the world. Countries put in greater crisis by conflicting logics. This should be looked at, not just at the interests that fall to one's advantage. It is time to avoid the intensification of rivalry and the strengthening of opposing blocks. We need leaders who, at the international level, allow peoples to understand each other and dialogue, and generate a new "spirit of Helsinki", the will to strengthen multilateralism, to build a more stable and peaceful world thinking of the new generations. And to do this we need understanding, patience and dialogue with everyone. I repeat, with everyone.
Thinking of the global commitment to peace, I express deep appreciation for the renunciation of nuclear weapons that this country has undertaken with determination; as well as for the development of energy and environmental policies focused on decarbonisation and investment in clean sources, which the International Exhibition five years ago highlighted. Together with attention to interreligious dialogue, they are concrete seeds of hope planted in the common ground of humanity, which it is up to us to cultivate for generations to come; for young people, whose desires it is necessary to look at in order to make the choices of today and tomorrow. The Holy See is close to you on this journey: diplomatic relations were established immediately after the independence of the country, thirty years ago and I am happy to visit the country in the run-up to this anniversary. I assure you that Catholics, present in Central Asia since ancient times, wish to continue to bear witness to the spirit of openness and respectful dialogue that distinguishes this land. And they do it without a spirit of proselytism.
Mr. President, dear friends, I thank you for the welcome you have given me and which reveals your well-known sense of hospitality, as well as for the opportunity to spend these days of fraternal dialogue with the leaders of many religions. May the Most High bless the vocation of peace and unity of Kazakhstan, the country of encounter. To you, who have the primary responsibility for the common good, and to each of its inhabitants, I express my joy of being here and the willingness to accompany with prayer and closeness every effort for a prosperous and harmonious future of this great country. Raqmét! [thank you!] God bless Kazakhstan!
Source: Vatican.va