Statement of the Interreligious Council of Russia in connection with the situation of believers in Ukraine

The decision on the adoption of the joint statement on the situation in Ukraine was adopted at the meeting of the Interreligious Council of Russia on 6 December 2018.

    

We, heads and representatives of traditional religious communities of Russia, with deep concern and empathy observe what is happening in Ukraine events, which led to significant changes in the position of believing citizens of the brotherly country.

One of the most important principles of our religions is the commandment of love of neighbor. The violation of this fundamental basis of human existence is fraught with the appearance of mutual hostility, anger and resentment, many disasters and temptations that destroy as an individual and society as a whole. Call on all spiritual and political leaders of Ukraine, people of different nationalities and religions, members of the media, intellectuals and other social strata to show solidarity in the pursuit of the main goal – ensuring the good of each individual. The most precious to the believer is able to live in accordance with traditions and norms of their religion, to participate in its rites and sacraments, freely to join the Shrine.

The state should advocate for peace and unity among the citizens, and not to divide them and sow discord. Unacceptable to use religion to extract political dividends, neglect recognized in all civilized societies, the right to freedom of conscience and religion, the gross interference of the state in the internal life of religious associations. As a personal wound the perceived increase in Ukrainian society the level of intolerance and mutual exclusion, unprecedented pressure on the clergy, including through threats of criminal prosecution, threat of unlawful confiscation of property of religious communities, illegal restriction of movement of citizens of the country, the creation of artificial obstacles for the clergy when crossing the state border of Ukraine, threat to the normal functioning of religious objects.

We respect the right of all citizens of Ukraine, and various public groups to freely choose its development path. We hope that the Ukrainian authorities will find the wisdom and courage to respect the God-given gift of freedom, and without resorting to violence, gives Christians the right to determine their religious affiliation. It is essential to provide the conditions to make this choice was made without coercion from the state and without haste, not in an atmosphere of fear and in the heat of the confrontation, not during the riots and conflicts, and through an equitable, trusting and friendly dialogue. We condemn the use of force as a tool of solving the problems, inciting ethnic conflicts and assertion of the human soul of the image of the enemy. Any discrimination on religious, political, ethnic or linguistic grounds is perceived as a daring challenge to the moral rules of our religions.

Convinced believers must not become hostage to personal ambitions of the political players to experience pressure from the media ideology of aggressive nationalism, ethnic exclusivity and xenophobia. The path of love involves the rejection of attempts to manipulate the people, respect for the dignity and right of choice of every individual, wise moderation, mutual help and support, willingness to sacrifice, commitment to finding a peaceful and mutually acceptable to overcome existing differences.

The people of Ukraine is going through a difficult period of its history. Our countries have a long tradition of friendship and common historical, cultural and civilizational heritage. Believers should bear good in the world, to cherish and increase our deep connections and shared spiritual heritage. For its part, our religious communities are ready to do everything we can to strengthen good-neighborly relations and promote the peaceful settlement of all conflicts in Ukraine and in its relations with Russia.

Prayerfully wish our faithful brethren and all the people of Ukraine peace, prosperity and prosperity.

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