Holy See Signs Accord With Azerbaijan

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BAKU, Azerbaijan, MAY 1, 2011 (Zenit.org).- On Friday the Holy See and Azerbaijan signed an accord regulating juridical relations between the Catholic Church and that nation.

Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio to Azerbaijan, met in Baku with Hidayat Orujov, chairman of that country’s State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations, for the signing of the accord.

The agreement, which consists of eight articles, ensures the freedom to publicly profess and practice the Catholic faith in that Eurasian country.

It also guarantees the Church’s right to organize and exercise its mission in conformity with ecclesiastic legislation.

The accord recognizes the juridical status of the Church and its institutions, acknowledging the Holy See’s right to freely elect the local ordinaries.

It also regulates the concession of residence and work visas for ecclesiastical personnel.

Some 99% of Azerbaijan’s 8 million citizens are Muslims. There are only around 250 Catholics in the country, which is a secular state with a constitution that ensures religious freedom.

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