Nur-Sultan, Sep 14 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Wednesday called for peace and urged religious leaders to work against violence and war during his address at the seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions taking place in Kazakhstan.
“God is peace. He guides us always in the way of peace, never that of war,” Francis stressed in his opening speech at the religious gathering, which brings together some 100 delegations from 50 countries in the Kazakh capital Nur-Sultan.
“Let us never justify violence. Let us not allow the sacred to be instrumentalized by what is profane. Let the sacred not be supported by power and power not be supported by sacredness,” the 85-year-old pontiff said.
Although he did not mention the war in Ukraine, his remarks appeared to criticize the invasion launched by president Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, which Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has supported.
A meeting between Francis and Kirill was expected to take place at the event but the latter recently decided against traveling to Nur-Sultan without providing an explanation, although Kirill has sent a delegation from the Russian Orthodox Church to the congress.
Following the first session, Francis held private meetings with several religious leaders, including Egypt’s Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb and Kazakhstan’s Grand Mufti Nauryzbay Kazhy Taganuly.
The head of the Catholic Church also met with Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Baruch Lau and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef.EFE