The Vatican released the logo and motto for Pope Francis’ September trip to Kazakhstan Tuesday.
The motto of the Sept. 13-15 visit, “Messengers of Peace and Unity,” is written in Kazakh across the top of the logo and Russian across the bottom.
Russian and Kazakh are the two official languages of the Central Asian country. Pope Francis will travel to the city of Nur-Sultan for the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
The sky blue and yellow logo includes two hands forming the image of a dove with an olive branch.
A heart on the dove's wing “represents love, fruit of reciprocal understanding, cooperation, and dialogue,” according to the Vatican press release.
The olive branch has been drawn in the shape of a typical Kazakh Ornament, a type of ancient folk art.
Behind the dove, blue lines form the image of a “shanyrak,” part of the Emblem of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The “shanyrak” symbolizes the upper dome-like portion of a yurt, the traditional round tent used by nomadic groups in Central Asia. Yellow lines inside the blue lines form a cross.
The blue and yellow of the logo are the colors of the Kazakhstan flag.
Ethnic Kazakhs are predominantly Sunni Muslims, the most commonly practiced religion in the country. According to a 2009 national census, the second most practiced religion is Russian Orthodox Christianity, at more than 20%. The country, which has approximately 250,000 Latin Rite Catholics, according to 2008 statistics, is also home to many immigrants.
Pope Francis erected an apostolic administration for Byzantine Catholics in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, in 2019, highlighting the growing number of Ukrainian Greek Catholics in the country, which some estimates put at around 10,000.
Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country but has one of the lowest population densities. The country shares borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan and adjoins part of the Caspian Sea.