To mark the 50th anniversary of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Bishkek and the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Chair in the Study of World Culture and Religions at the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University named after B. N. Yeltsin, an international conference "Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Modernity. The international scientific conference "Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Modernity" was held at the B. N. Yeltsin Kyrgyz National University.
On May 13, 2019, the solemn opening of the International Scientific Conference "Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Modernity" was held at the UNESCO Chair for the Study of World Culture and Religions at KRSU. Rector of KRSU, Professor V.I. Nifadyev, as well as the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Church in Kyrgyzstan, Father Anthony Corcoran, made a welcoming speech at the opening of the conference. Father Anthony Corcoran noted the importance of the event: "Our conference is focused on the range of academic issues related to the history of Christianity in Kyrgyzstan, but Christians have always been in a complex historical and cultural world context of events.
We are well aware that "history" is not some distant "fairy tale, myth," or something as if unrelated to contemporary events and issues in our society. Christians comprehend their history as a history inextricably linked to the lives and events of other religious and ethnic groups. "Yesterday's people may not know what is happening in the present, but today's people know what happened yesterday ... but tomorrow today's will become yesterday's," so the great writer Chingiz Aitmatov once said. If Christianity has been present in Central Asia since the first centuries of its existence, the experience of people who have been here in different historical epochs has ultimately determined their character, mentality, the character of the Christian and modern citizen of Kyrgyzstan as a whole.
The first day of the conference on May 13 was devoted to research and scholarly issues related to the history of Nestorianism in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, current approaches, and prospects for the academic study of Christianity.
In session 1 ("History of Nestorianism in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia") the following people made reports: Pier Giorgio Borbone, professor at the University of Pisa (Italy), "Nestorianism in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia in the Middle Ages"; Jumagulov Ch.D., professor, honored cultural worker of Kyrgyzstan, Deputy Chief Editor of the Kyrgyz National Encyclopedia "Nestorian epigraphic monuments of Kyrgyzstan"; Manasa CTU professor, PhD in history, Tabaldiev K. Sh. archaeologist "Research of archaeological monuments of Nestorianism in Kyrgyzstan".
The 2nd session of the conference included a presentation by Father Lorenzo Turci of the UFM, Ph. Theologian Institute of Assisi, "The Mission of the Franciscans among the Nomads of Central Asia in the Middle Ages: Giovani del Plano Carpini and Guillaume de Rubruck; Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kyrgyzstan Nikolai Baranov, "History of Lutherans in Kyrgyzstan"; Pastor Alexander Shumilin, chairman of the Evangelical Christian Association, "History of Evangelical Churches in Kyrgyzstan".
In the framework of the 3rd session the following reports were made: Pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church "Concordia" Kurmanbakeev M.S. "Activity of "Union of godless" in relation to Protestant confessions on the territory of Kirgiz SSR (according to archival materials)"; PhD in Physics, Doctor of Political Science, Head of the Center for the Study of problems of religion and society of the Institute of Europe RAS Lunkin R.N. "Christian renaissance in modern society: are scientists ready for the new reality? The first day of the sessional sessions ended with discussion of the reports, debates on the topics proposed by the scholars, and summarizing of the results.
On May 14, 2019, the second day of the conference "Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Modernity" was successfully held, which included sessions 4,5,6.
At the 4th session "Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. State-confessional relations" made the following reports: professor, Dr. Ozmitel E. E. "Martirologii of the Orthodox Church in Kyrgyzstan" (the report was read by Archpriest Alexei Syromyatnikov); Candidate of Historical Sciences, employee of GCAU and Institute of Political and Ethnic National Studies of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Rubleva Natalia "History of Catholics in Kyrgyzstan"; Master of History Burgart L.A. (presentation by L.V. Epaneshnikova) "Father Michael Koehler - Pastor of the German Catholics in the Soviet Union. Historical Times and Conditions of Service".
The 5th session "Scientific study of Christianity in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia" included reports of researchers: Professor of Tyumen State University, Yarkov A.P. "About Christianity in Kyrgyzstan since the Silk Road"; Associate Professor of History and Cultural Studies Department of KRSU, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Nosova E.V. "State-religious relations in Kyrgyzstan during the Soviet period"; lecturer of the UNESCO Department for the Study of World Culture and Religion Pavlichenko Z.Yu. "Monuments of the Christian Fergana Valley as an object of pilgrimage and tourism in the KR".
The 6th session "Student Section" was represented by the reports of 3rd year students of KRSU "Religious Studies". Listening to the speeches of students was especially pleasant, as young scientists chose interesting and new, relevant topics of research. There were 7 reports: Gladyshko Olga, Maratova Begimai, Atambaev Bektur, Martynov Alexei and Kabanova Milana, Temirkhanov Ruslan, Hlystikova Marina, Belyaeva Arina. The best of the heard reports were recognized as the following:
1. Begimai Maratova ("Concept of Human Rights in Christianity");
2. A. Martynov and M. Kabanova. ("Destructive DND and the Role of Christianity in Combating this Problem");
3. R. Temirkhanov ("Attitudes toward non-traditional medicine in everyday practice of Orthodox believers").
We express our deep gratitude to all the organizers, participants, speakers, and guests of the international scientific conference "Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Modernity"! Special thanks to the Bible Society of Kyrgyzstan for presenting the exhibition "The Way of the Bible from Sinai to Kyrgyzstan" to a wide audience on May 13-14 during the conference. Our joint work will have an obligatory continuation.