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For stable peace

· At the conclusion of the visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan, the Pope reiterates the need for dialogue and negotiation in the Caucasus region ·

A appeal for peace addressed to the political authorities and to the religious leaders of the Caucasus region concluded Pope Francis' visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the afternoon of Sunday, 2 October, before leaving the capital of Azerbaijan to return to Rome, the Pope met with Authorities and the Diplomatic Corps of the country, stressing the need to initiate “a new phase for stable peace in the region” and invited everyone to “grasp every opportunity to reach a satisfactory solution”. Soon after, during the visit to the mosque, the Pope said that the name of God “cannot be used for personal interests and selfish ends” nor can it be used to “justify any form of fundamentalism, imperialism or colonialism”, entrusting to the different religions the task to be “active agents working to overcome the tragedies of the past and the tensions of the present”.

The Pope spent the entire Sunday in Azerbaijan. The day started with Holy Mass celebrated in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Baku.

The Pope had arrived at the airport of the capital city in the early hours, after departing from Georgia, on Saturday afternoon, where the last three significant events of the visit to the country took place: the meeting with priests and religious in the Church of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary; the meeting with volunteers and charity workers, and the greeting to Catholicos Ilia II in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Mtskheta.

During the flight from Baku to Rome, the Pope discussed main issues of his papal journey with journalists. Faith, ecumenism and peace were the topics Francis discussed in depth, he especially spoke about “ideological colonization” through gender theory and the need to accompany homosexual people.

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Sept. 23, 2018

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