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Interreligious Council in Russia holds regular session in Moscow

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH DEPARTMENT FOR EXTERNAL CHURCH RELATIONS Office of Communication =================================================== Press-release,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2004
      Office of Communication
      Press-release, September 22. 2004

      The Interreligious Council in Russia holds its regular session in Moscow
      The Interreligious Council in Russia (ICR) met for a regular session on
      September 22, 2004, at the Moscow Patriarchate Pilgrimage Center. The
      meeting was attended by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad,
      chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church
      Relations, Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, chairman of the Council of Muftis in
      Russia, Berl Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia (Federation of Jewish Communities
      in Russia), A. S. Shaevich, Chief Rabbi of Russia (Congress of Jewish
      Religious Organizations and Associations), Mufti Muhammadgali Khuzin,
      vice-chairman of the Central Muslim Board in Russia, Kharis Saubyanov,
      chief of the staff of the Council of Muftis in Russia, Sanjey-Lama,
      Buddhist Traditional Sangha in Russia, Z. L. Kogan, chairman of the
      Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations in Russia, and
      Mufti Shafig Pshikhachev, executive director of the North Caucasus Muslim
      Coordinating Center.
      The Council discussed such topical themes as consequences of the terrorist
      action in Beslan and prospects of the work of the Executive Committee of
      the CIS Interreligious Council. An initiative was voiced that the 4th of
      November be given the status of national holiday as the day when the Time
      of Trouble ended in 1612.
      The Council adopted a Message and a Statement, the text of which are given

      Message from the Interreligious Council in Russia
      Twenty days have passed since the tragedy in Beslan. Our grief has not
      subsided. At the same time, today we can look from a distance at the
      developments in North Ossetia and the consequences of this tragedy for all
      Hundreds of children and adults were killed in Beslan. We pray for the rest
      of their souls, for the healing of the injured, for the consolation of
      their relatives and friends. We are grieving together with them. We condemn
      those who planned and realized this monstrous action. Many of them have
      already been recompensed, and we hope that just retribution will soon find
      the rest.
      The act of terrorism in Beslan has dealt a heavy blow on our society,
      which, though, is still capable of withstanding trials. However, people's
      hearts continue to harden. Counting precisely on this, international
      terrorism leaders try to use the religious factor and play on the political
      controversies in the country and the world. We are confident that the high
      level of inter-ethnic relations in Russia will remain a safeguard against
      the continued attempts to set Christians, Muslims, Jews and Buddhists on to
      We should be united today as never before. We remember how Christians and
      Muslims, Europeans, Arabs, Tartars and Persians united in the Middle Ages
      against the common enemy - the terrorist sect of Ismailite Assassins. It
      was useless to try to prevail upon them by words, just as it is with
      today's terrorists, since there was only hatred and fear for their own life
      that remained in their mortified souls. The language of power was the only
      language they understood.
      There must be no fear of dispensing justice to terrorists and their
      accomplices, and if needs be they should be annihilated whoever and
      wherever they may be and whatever slogans they may use as a cover. We
      insist that they are beyond any religion, serving the Satan and dreaming of
      plunging humanity into an abyss of despair and of taking over the world.
      The State is obliged to destroy the designs of terrorists long before they
      are realized. However, it is not only the authorities and the
      law-enforcement bodies who are called to fight the evil of terrorism.
      People in every city and village, especially in regions in difficult
      political and economic situations, should unite to resist the formidable
      threat. Religious communities can become one of the centers and organizers
      of such unity. We continue to consolidate the efforts of believers for
      keeping order, taking care of each other's security, remaining vigilant in
      face of common threats and helping the law-enforcement in their work. Our
      communities give aid to the victims, and we call upon everyone to continue
      these efforts. Society should not forget what has happened. Russia should
      become different, should come to her senses and, realizing the threats she
      faces, unite for the sake of her future.

      We will continue to preach peace and dialogue, opposing those who try to
      place the sentiments of believers at the service of evil. We hope that an
      end will be put to the dangerous vacuum in the positive knowledge of
      religion, so easily filled with extremist ideas. Again and again we offer
      to the authorities and society our firm hand in doing good works together
      for the benefit of the Russian people who unite people of various ethnic
      backgrounds and faiths.
      Statement from the Interreligious Council in Russia

      Today Russia is going through a period of hard trials. An undeclared war
      against our people is designed by its instigators to generate chaos and
      lack of faith in Russia and in her future.
      We must win in this war and we will win if we are united.
      This civic unity which we seek and which is so necessary to us was
      destroyed for many long years on the day of the tragic division of Russia
      on November 7, 1917.
      That day initiated a civil war in which brother raised arms against brother
      and son against father.
      That day has never become and could not become a Day of Harmony and
      The adherents of communist ideology still mark on this day an anniversary
      of the October 1917 Revolution. People of different views, including
      believers, are aloof from this celebration, while the youth do not
      understand the meaning of the celebrations and these ideological differences.
      Our history is rich in glorious dates. Among the priceless examples of
      spiritual, patriotic and military union are the events of the 4th of
      November, 1612, when the patriotic sentiments of the people in our country,
      the union of all citizens regardless of their origin, faith or social
      status, their unity and solidarity played a special role in Russia's fate.
      The victory of militia led by Citizen Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry
      Pozharsky was not only a military feat for the sake of freedom, but it also
      laid foundations of the independent state, its future might and power and
      made a beginning in coming out of the long and profound spiritual and moral
      crisis known to history as the Time of Trouble.
      The observance of the end of the Time of Trouble on November 4, imbued with
      ideas of harmony and desire of unity and victory, can really rally our
      people in our time and fill a gap in the historical memory of the people.
      Indeed, we have not marked a single significant date in Russia's history
      which belong to the time before 1917.
      The traditional religious member organizations of the Interreligious
      Council in Russia believe it appropriate to mark an anniversary of the 1612
      events on November 4 and to declare it a day of rest. The 7th of November
      can remain in the calendar as a memorable date in our history.
      Many hardships fell to the lot of our people through centuries. But every
      time we found strength to come together and unite in our love of the
      Fatherland, in our trust in God, in our commitment to the traditional
      spiritual values bequeathed to us by our ancestors and, taking ourselves in
      hand, we managed to defend our independence and statehood.
      In this lies the great spiritual feat of our people.
      In this lies our power.
      In this lies our future!
      It was agreed that the first meeting of the Executive Committee of the CIS
      Interreligious Council will take place on December 7, 2004, in Moscow.
      The Presidium of the Interreligious Council in Russia also discussed the
      activity of the Krishnaites in Russia. In view of the increasing reports to
      the ICR that not all the Council's members condemn the activity of the
      Krishnaites in Russia in general and their Food of Life program and the
      construction of the Krishnaite religious center in Moscow, in particular,
      the ICR Presidium is authorized to state that it considers the Krishnaites
      to be a marginal pseudo-Hindu sect and objects that its so-called
      humanitarian program of distributing idolatrous food was carried out in
      places where Christian, Muslims, Judaists and Buddhists live.

      Office of Communication
      Address: 22, Danilovsky val, St.Danilov monastery, DECR, 113191 Moscow,
      Internet: <http://www.mospat.ru/>http://www.mospat.ru/
      E-mail address:

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