Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited and extended Christmas greetings to the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North) and the Hanoi Archdiocese on December 20, wishing the dignitaries and followers a merry Christmas season.

Meeting leaders of the Church, the Deputy PM briefed them on the country’s socio-economic achievements in 2014, with contributions made by Protestants nationwide.

He congratulated the Church on its development over the past years, lauding efforts by its leaders to guide followers in practicing their religion in line with law.

He said he hopes the Church will continue promoting its attainments and closely coordinating with the Government to build and develop the national great unity bloc for a country with prosperity, democracy, equality and civilisation.

Pastor Nguyen Huu Mac, head of the Church, thanked the Party and State for supporting the Church’s development and creating favourable conditions for Protestants to practice their religion.

Particularly, the approval of the establishment of the Alliance Evangelical Divinity School in Hanoi reflected the attention of the Party and State to the religion, thus encouraging followers, he said.

At a meeting with Archbishop Nguyen Van Nhon, head of the Hanoi Archdiocese, Deputy PM Phuc spoke highly of contributions of the Catholic community, especially Archbishop Nhon and dignitaries of the Vietnam Catholic Church, to the development of the country.

The relations between Vietnam and the Vatican have remarkably improved thanks to contributions of Catholic dignitaries and followers in the country, said the official.

He highlighted that the 2013 Constitution clearly reflects the Vietnamese Party and State’s view of respecting and ensuring people’s freedom to religion and belief, meeting legitimate rights and interests of followers of all religions.

The same day, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee Vu Trong Kim also paid a pre-Christmas visit to the Evangelical Church of Vietnam (North).-VNA