Interreligious Council in Russia holds regular session in Moscow
- RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
DEPARTMENT FOR EXTERNAL CHURCH RELATIONS
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
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
WE MUST BE UNITED TODAY AS NEVER BEFORE
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 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.
RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN RUSSIA
PROPOSE TO OBSERVE THE END OF THE TIME OF TROUBLE ON NOVEMBER 4
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.
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
DEPARTMENT FOR EXTERNAL CHURCH RELATIONS
Office of Communication
Address: 22, Danilovsky val, St.Danilov monastery, DECR, 113191 Moscow,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]