Tashkent, September 29, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sees positive dynamics in the relations between Orthodox Christians and Uzbekistan's Muslims.
"It is good that the relations between Islam and the Orthodox Church are so good, and they are even more advanced now than they were at the time when I [last] visited Uzbekistan," he told reporters upon arriving in Tashkent on Friday.
Many citizens of Uzbekistan work in Russia, he said. "The fact that such a good exchange exists now is a good guarantee that relations between our countries will always be good," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch timed his visit to the 145th anniversary of the start of active church life in the Tashkent Diocese.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Uzbekistan is the second-largest religious organization in the country, after the Directorate of Muslims. There are 38 churches, as well as monasteries and cloisters, in the country. The newspaper Slovo Zhizni and the magazine Vostok Svyshe are published there. There is also a seminary, the Tashkent Orthodox Spiritual Seminary, where students from Uzbekistan and neighboring countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Russia) are studying.
According to the republic's committee on religious affairs, over 2,220 religious organizations, of which 95% are Muslim, are registered on its territory. In addition, there are 159 Christian organizations, eight Jewish communities, six Baha'i communities, one Krishna society and one Buddhist temple n Uzbekistan.