ASIA/UZBEKISTAN - Art at the service of ecumenical dialogue

Saturday, 22 February 2020 ecumenicalism   dialogue   local churches  

Tashkent (Agenzia Fides) - The community of Catholic faithful of Uzbekistan is deeply involved in the path of dialogue with other Christian denominations. The Apostolic Administrator of Uzbekistan, the Franciscan Fr. Jerzy Maculewicz: "In the municipal theater of the city of Fergana we organized an event that involved all the Christian communities present in the area. The members of the various confessions prepared musical pieces or small theatrical performances, each of which preceded by the greeting of the respective Pastor. It was a precious moment of meeting and dialogue that involved seven different communities: the theater was packed, there were even many people standing. Many asked to repeat the event, also extending it to the faithful of other cities".
The vocation to ecumenical dialogue is a prerogative of the Uzbek Catholic Church which, at various times of the year, organizes moments of meeting with other confessions: one of the main occasions is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In this regard, the apostolic administrator tells us: "Also this year we organized a prayer meeting in which representatives and faithful of four confessions took part: the Lutherans, the Armenians, the Protestants of the Full Gospel and the Protestants of the New Apostolic Church. This year's theme was 'They treated us kindly', a phrase taken from the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which talks about the shipwreck of Saint Paul in Malta. Each religious representative prayed for Christian unity and we concluded the moment of prayer by distributing bread among those present, as a symbol of hospitality".
In Uzbekistan, the Catholic faith is recognized as a "traditional religion", as well as Islamic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Armenian and Jewish: the community of faithful therefore enjoys recognition and respect by the population. The Country represents a great laboratory of inter-ethnic and interreligious dialogue: in fact, there are representatives of 80 different nationalities who gather in cultural centers with which the Catholic community constantly relates. 80% of the Uzbek population is Islamic, 8% recognize themselves in the Russian Orthodox Church, while other religious denominations are minorities. (LF) (Agenzia Fides, 22/2/2020)