Mongolian President Khurlesukh Ukhaa welcomes Pope Francis
Head of the Holy See Pope Francis is paying the State Visit to Mongolia at the invitation of the President of Mongolia Khurelsukh Ukhnaa as the first-ever high-level visit from the Holy See to Mongolia. The President of Mongolia Khurelsukh Ukhnaa and the Head of the Holy See Pope Francis have just made a public address. We present a full transcript of the public address of the President of Mongolia Khurelsukh Ukhnaa.
Ambassadors and Representatives of Diplomatic Missions accredited to Mongolia,
I extend to all of you my heartfelt greetings on this historic day, when Pope Francis is paying the first-ever state visit to our exquisite country, the land of the eternal blue sky, the sacred hearth of the Mongol Empire, the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan, Man of the Millenium.
This state visit has a historical prominence in that it is being held on the occasion of the 860th anniversary of Chinggis Khaan and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and the Holy See.
The relations between Mongolia and the Holy See have a history originating from the era of The Great Mongol Empire founded by Chinggis Khaan.
Eight centuries ago, in 1246, Archbishop Plano Carpini, the envoy of Pope Innocent IV, arrived in Karakorum, the capital of the Great Mongol Empire, and presented the Pope’s message to Guyug Khaan, grandson of Chinggis Khaan, that instituted the foundation of historical ties between our countries.
It should be acknowledged that Archbishop Plano Carpini was the first-ever European envoy to enter the court of the Great Mongol Empire to establish official relations.
At that time, Papal envoy Plano Carpini had the great occasion of being invited to the Coronation ceremony of Guyug Khaan as a Guest of Honor.
His written work “History of the Mongols” which was based on memos of his journey, bestowed to the world, was the historical piece that introduced the history and culture of the Mongols to the Western world, and to this day, it still plays a significant role for Mongol studies exploring Mongolia and Eurasia of the Middle Ages.
It is, indeed chronologically and numerically a fortunate occasion that Pope Francis of the Holy See pays a visit to Mongolia, the sacred heart of the Mongol Empire, precisely 777 years since Plano Carpini’s journey to Mongolia.
Since then, the relations between our two countries have continued with the exchange of envoys and letters such as the letter of Il Khaan Abaga to Pope Gregorio X in 1274, Pope Nicolas III to Khubilai Khaan in 1278, Il Khaan Argun to Pope Honorius IV in 1285, Pope Nicolas IV to Il Khaan Argun in 1288, 1289, Il Khaan Argun to Pope Nicolas IV in 1290, Il Khaan Gazan to Pope Boniface VIII in 1302 to name a few. These exchanges of numerous envoys and official letters as well as the reports about the communications between them were preserved as important historical sources of the history of the relations between our two countries.
These historical sources not only bear witness to active engagements for official negotiations and diplomatic relations between our two countries at that time, it also present an excellent testimony of compelling assurance for a solid foundation, determining factor, and essential feature for the further consolidation of extensive ties between Western and Eastern societies.
But in the modern-day Mongolia and the Holy Sea have been observing the 31st Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries and we have been continuing our humanitarian collaboration as well as our cooperation in the areas of culture, education, and science.
As our relations have flourished, I extend our paramount appreciation to Pope Francis for his first-ever state visit to Mongolia.
Chingis Khaan and his successors, ancestors of all Mongolians, instituted the Great Mongol Empire. They established “Pax Mongolica” by uniting all the Mongol tribes, ending century-long wars and conflicts in the East and West. These achievements were prerequisites for peaceful coexistence and harmony among nations and people of Asia and Europe, which in return created a favorable environment and the opportunity to study and research, to write and compose, to produce and construct, to develop arts, sciences, and education, fostering prosperity as a whole.
As a result of these attainments world-renowned scholars and international organizations accentuate and reaffirm that the Mongols have significantly contributed to world history. Achievements of Pax Mongolica have created solid grounds for the development of mutual respect between different nations of the world, cherishing each other’s values and identities, and enabling the peaceful coexistence of various civilizations. They also confirm that the flourishing of diplomatic relations, postal system, transportation, economy and trade, science, culture as well as tolerance of religious freedom, and principles of rule of law were invaluable heritages inherited from the Mongols to mankind.
The state principles of respect statehood, and striving for peace with the ultimate goal of fostering harmony and unity were inherited from Chinggis Khaan and this legacy has been relaying throughout many centuries, and today Mongolia is pursuing a peace-loving, open, independent, and multi-pillared foreign policy, and we are working consistently towards strengthening global and regional peace and security.
With a view to peacefully contributing to the international community’s efforts in addressing regional and global security challenges, Mongolia has been offering its initiatives and we are actively engaging with our two eternal neighbors as well as our third neighbors.
Mongolia has been contributing to the noble endeavors for ensuring global peace and security and diligently fulfilling its commitments to the international community with honour, while sending over 20 thousand peacekeepers to 15 UN Peacekeeping Operations, in the most precarious places of the world, for the last 20 years.
Mongolians have ancient traditions to respect spiritual freedom and pluralism. In the era of Chinggis Khaan and the Great Mongol Empire, our ancient capital Karakorum was home to 12 monasteries of different religions co-existing peacefully side by side consisting of Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic religious traditions and Mongol Kings and statesmen had a deep respect for each religion, and every church and temple had the privilege to be exempt from state taxes.
These principles of respect for spiritual freedom and belief have been inherited to us from our ancestors and these principles were declared preserved and protected in the Constitution of Mongolia.
Since ancient times, we Mongolians, with nomadic heritage, have been preserving and treasuring Mother Earth and nature to pass it on to our future generations.
Pope Francis’ words, his position, and policies on world climate change, food scarcity, food security, and supply, are entirely in line with our national movements “Billion Trees”, “Food Revolution”, and “Healthy Mongolian” which are being implemented throughout the country. Thus, Mongolia will stand ready to cooperate with the Holy See in all areas to protect the environment, food, and security, which is the backbone of sustainable development and the destiny of mankind.
Moreover, I am convinced that our cooperation in humanitarian deeds, culture, science, education, history arts, and archives, will be constantly further strengthened.
This state visit to Mongolia will inaugurate a new pillar to our peace-loving and multi-pillared foreign policy as well as a new page in the history of our countries and will make an exceptional contribution to further strengthening our relations and cooperation, which will be engraved with golden letters.
On behalf of the people of Mongolia, I extend, to Pope Francis and to all the people of the world, my best wishes for good health, happiness, and well-being.
By the Power of Eternal Heaven, May mankind be in lasting harmony!