6 December 2018 at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in the Moscow Danilov monastery, a solemn meeting of the Presidium of the Interreligious Council of Russia, devoted to the 20th anniversary of the founding of this organization. The meeting was chaired by honorary President of MSR, his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, reports patriarhiei.
The meeting was attended by members of the Presidium MSR: Chairman of Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Central spiritual administration of Muslims of Russia (tsdum) Sheikh-ul-Islam mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin, Chairman of the coordination center of North Caucasus Muslims, mufti Ismail Berdiyev, chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar and the Executive Secretary of the Interreligious Council of Russia Dimitry Safonov.
From among the representatives of religious communities — members of the MCP the meeting was attended by: first Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation D. H. Gizatullin, Vice-President of the Congress of Jewish religious communities and organizations of Russia for relations with state, public organizations and Z. L. Kogan, Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual administration of Muslims of Tatarstan I. R. Khasanov, Plenipotentiary representative of the Buddhist traditional Sangha of Russia in Moscow Sanjay Lama, the President of the Federation of Jewish communities of Russia A. M. Boroda, representatives of the Central spiritual administration of Muslims of Russia S. M. and R. S. Kadyrgulov Bogatova, the Plenipotentiary of the coordination center of North Caucasus Muslims in Moscow S. A. Pshikhachev.
From the stewardship Committee of the Interreligious Council of Russia was attended by the Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian society, Chairman of the Committee of MSR S. V. Stepashin, Secretary of the stewardship Committee O. V. Bludov.
The participants of the meeting were also the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and society and the media V. Legoida, assistant of the Russian President’s Directorate for domestic policy, Executive Secretary of the Council for cooperation with religious associations under the President of Russia Sergey A. Melnikov and Deputy Chairman of the IOPS Agapova.
The event was also attended by staff from the DECR Secretariat for inter-religious relations of deacon Elijah Kashitsyn, S. V. Miller.
Before the meeting, his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill awarded the order of Glory and honor I degree of tsdum Chairman of the Supreme mufti, Sheikh-ul-Islam Talgat Tadzhuddin in consideration of the merits in strengthening peace and friendship among religions and peoples and in connection with the 70th birthday.
Then came the report of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. His Holiness, in particular, noted that the Interreligious Council of Russia — the most authoritative interreligious organization in our country that enables leaders of traditional religions to work together to respond to the challenges of modernity.
“The history of relations between the believers of our country is unique, for it includes not only the glorious pages of mutual aid and unity in facing a common enemy, but also the tragic experience of persecution under the atheist regime — testified to His Holiness. — This experience, in my opinion, contributes to a favorable dialogue with people of other views and beliefs, learn to appreciate the opportunity to live and develop in accordance with their religious-cultural tradition. As stated in the statement of the Interreligious Council of Russia, adopted in 2010, Russia is a common home for representatives of different ethnic groups and cultures, so we are called to respect the national feelings and way of life of any nation, to cherish and increase centuries-old traditions of good-neighbourliness and cooperation for the prosperity of our Fatherland.”
Greeting the participants of the meeting of the Presidium of the Interreligious Council of Russia sent the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. The message the President announced the Executive Secretary of the Council for cooperation with religious associations under the President of the Russian Federation A. S. Melnikov:
“Your Holiness! Dear participants of the meeting!
I cordially greet and congratulate you on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Interreligious Council of Russia.
Established in 1998, the Council has become an influential platform to maintain a fruitful dialogue of religious leaders and representatives of traditional religions of Russia on major issues of the country’s life and society. Among the key priorities of the Council’s activities is the conservation of our priceless spiritual, cultural and historical heritage, harmonization of interethnic and interreligious interaction, development of fruitful cooperation with state authorities in the sphere of education, charity, strengthening the family institution and family values, upbringing of the younger generation.
Such a large, multi-faceted activity — worthy of the deepest respect and support. And of course, it served to consolidate civil peace and harmony in the country.
I am confident that your meeting will be fruitful, constructive, and suggestions and recommendations will be translated into real actions and initiatives.”
Further meeting were the Chairman of the Central spiritual administration of Muslims of Russia mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin, who in particular noted that the inter-religious Council of Russia was created during the transitional period in the life of the Russian state and society. “In this difficult period of our history the Interreligious Council of Russia has made a worthy contribution, playing an important role in strengthening peace and harmony between adherents of the traditional confessions of our country, — he stressed. The people of our country and followers of traditional religions have always rallied and were United in repelling the external enemy and to strengthen its sovereignty”.
The Chairman of the coordination center of North Caucasus Muslims, mufti Ismail Berdiyev congratulated all those present on the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Council of Russia and, in particular, said: “we all bear responsibility, and what we do — we do it for the benefit of our people, which is a single organism”.
For its part, the chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar drew attention to the fact that representatives of different religions can always find a common language. “For 20 years we worked without internal disagreements — he said. — It is a great experience that different religions can live together without conflict, and spiritual leaders work together to solve important issues.”
“Tolerance is part of love, it allows you to look into the eyes of another and see the image of God, in Whose image we are created. Recognition of the value of each faith is the only way of successfully combating the global rise of violence perpetrated “in the name of God”, — noted in turn the Vice-President of the Congress of Jewish religious communities and organizations of Russia for relations with state, public organizations and Z. L. Kogan.
In his speech Z. L. Kogan also stressed that the Russian language remains the language of interethnic communication in the former Soviet space. According to him, consolidation of the Russian lands the important role played by the Orthodox Church, the religious tolerance of traditional religions, tolerance for the cultures of peoples, the desire to preserve identity.
On behalf of the Spiritual administration of Muslims of Russia and the Chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia Ravil gainuddin the participants welcomed the first Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual administration of Muslims of the Russian Federation D. H. Gizatullin, testified: “the Solidarity and unanimity of the members of the Council for the protection of the rights and freedoms of believers and the rejection of extremism, radicalism, different kinds of extremes, manifestations of humiliation of religious feelings and the use of religion for political purposes — a huge our heritage”.
The words of welcome by the DUM of Tatarstan and mufti of Tatarstan Kamil gave Samigullina, Deputy Chairman of the Spiritual administration of Muslims of Tatarstan Ilfar Khasanov. “The interreligious Council of Russia today — one of the most important social institutions, which allows us to find collective methods of solving complex social, national and religious problems in our country”, — stated I. Hasanov, underlining that good-neighbourliness between the many Nations and faiths is one of the most important features of the Russian nation.
“The interreligious Council of Russia for many years engaged in various fields of spiritual, moral, educational society, education, culture, art and in many other ways,” — said in his speech at the meeting of the Plenipotentiary representative of the Buddhist traditional Sangha of Russia in Moscow Sanjay Lama. The representative of Buddhism, in particular, stressed that cooperation with other religious institutions is the undisputed authority Interreligious Council of Russia.
Speaking at the meeting, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Interreligious Council of Russia, Chairman of the Department for external Church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, in particular, noted that the Interreligious Council of Russia in the twenty years of its existence, participated in the development of key solutions in the field of state-religious and inter-religious relations in our country. “It can be stated that in the Council’s activities, taking statements, as in a mirror reflected the major concerns of our society, problems and events. This suggests that religious communities now play a major role in the life of the country and can contribute to strengthening social peace and solidarity,” stressed the Hierarch.
The Lord has presented to attention of participants a brochure entitled “the Interreligious Council of Russia: 20 years of service to first name”, prepared for the anniversary meeting of the MSD. As he noted, the brochure describes the Council’s composition and discusses the main directions of its activities during its existence: strengthening interethnic and interfaith peace and harmony, the assertion of traditional moral and family values, interaction with the state authorities, including development of theological education and science, combating extremism and terrorism, understanding of the concept of rights and freedoms of man and many other topics.
In its report, the DECR Chairman also spoke about the development of theological education and science in Russia, noting that “currently there is a major progress in the development of theology in Russia and changes in the perception of this discipline in society.”
“The promotion of theology as a scientific discipline, the training of personnel capable to teach theological subjects — a very important topic — in particular, his Holiness the Patriarch, commenting on the speech of Metropolitan Hilarion. — All this, of course, will enrich our academic community with knowledge, which for decades was out of the agenda of the scientific community”.
His Holiness also thanked the company’s President RATM holding, Deputy Chairman of the stewardship Committee of MSR, E. A. Taran for their support in the edition of the booklet prepared for the anniversary meeting of the Interreligious Council of Russia.
Then the floor was given to Chairman of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian society, Chairman of the stewardship Committee of MSR S. V. Stepashin, who, in particular, noted the unique experience of effective inter-religious dialogue in modern Russia. In his speech, the Chairman of IOPS also touched on the subject of humanitarian assistance to the people of the Middle East that the Russian Orthodox Church has, together with representatives of other traditional confessions of the Russian Federation.
The meeting was concluded with a commemorative photograph of the members of the Presidium of the Interreligious Council of Russia.