The Russian Orthodox Church has great sympathy and trust for Iranian Muslims
“The Russian Orthodox Church has great sympathy and trust for Iranian Muslims,” Moscow Patriarch Kirill said during a meeting with Iranian religious leaders at the patriarchal residence at the Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow on February 22. A Russian-Iranian commission for dialogue between Orthodoxy and Islam is meeting in Moscow, and the topic was the ministry of the religious communities of Christians and Muslims after the end of the pandemic.
The Iranian side was represented by Mohammad Mehdi Imanipour, chairman of the Organization for Culture and Islamic Relations of Iran, as well as the Council for Religious Policy and Coordination of Interreligious Dialogue, clerics and public figures.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warmly welcomed the chairman of the Organization for Culture and Islamic Relations of Iran. “We have already met in 2007, when you accompanied a prominent representative of your community, and I was the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations,” the patriarch said. “The Russian Orthodox Church has great sympathy and trust for Iranian Muslims,” Patriarch Kirill also noted.
“Twenty-five years ago, together with the late Ayatollah Taskiri, we attended the beginning of the work of this commission,” he recalled. “These twenty-five years were not marred by any negative circumstances, there were no issues that separated us or caused difficulties in our relationship. For the Orthodox, it was an excellent opportunity to discover Islam in greater depth. This immersion in the Islamic theme helps our Russian Orthodox theologians, and through them the believers, to get to know Islam better and to recognize in Muslims not only friends, but also people who share the same ideas on very important social issues.” , Kirill of Moscow emphasized.
Orthodox and Muslims have a lot in common in their approach to morality and the role of religion in public life, to marriage, to international relations, he believes. “Although Christianity does not accept polygamy, we greatly appreciate your family fidelity and your understanding of the upbringing of children,” the patriarch also believes.
The communique, which the Russian Orthodox and Iranian Muslims adopted after the meeting, emphasized that the biggest problem in the world today is the decline of morality and the abuse of freedom. It was emphasized that “the existing situation favors the peoples of Russia and Iran to strengthen inter-religious interaction and jointly testify to God and His truth to the world, which can be realized through the publication of literature, academic exchange and youth interaction.”
A common publishing program to show the closeness between Iranian Islam and Russian Orthodoxy, as well as the sending of Russian students for academic exchange to Iran, is forthcoming.
The Russian Church strictly follows the political line of the state and in the last year has put a theological emphasis on the great closeness between Russian Orthodoxy and Islam, which contrasts its differences with Christianity in the West. According to this line, Orthodoxy and Islam share common values based on their moral conservatism and understanding of freedom as a source of sin. The restriction of freedom, including violence and killing of those who have gone astray, is fully justified from a religious point of view, because it contributes to the general moral upliftment of society.
The statements of the Russian patriarch about the spiritual closeness between Russian Orthodoxy and Islam and shared common moral values come against the background of both the year-long violence in Iran and executions against women accused of immorality for improperly wearing head coverings, and the bloody war in Ukraine with hundreds of thousands of victims, waged in the name of “protecting family values” against the immoral West.
Patriarch Kirill in Kazan back in 2016: there is no danger in Islam.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’ Kirill called the Islamic religion strong at a meeting with the Mufti of Tatarstan Kamil Samigullin, the website of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Republic of Tatarstan reported in August 2016.
“The Muslim world is a strong world,” he said. “And it may seem to someone that he can be a danger to other centers of power. I am convinced that the emergence of terrorism is, among other things, an attempt to demonize Islam in the eyes of the whole world.” And he added: “In principle, no danger can come from Islam, especially in our time.”
The patriarch supported the mufti’s thesis about the common values of the two religions. “We have a common moral basis: the Orthodox and Muslims,” he said, “it is important for us to work together to strengthen the moral principle in society.” In this regard, the patriarch recalled an interesting incident: “Once our president was asked about the relationship of Orthodoxy to Catholic Christianity and Islam, and the president replied: “We, Orthodox, are closer to Islam.”
“And he was right,” the patriarch continued, “in the sense that, from the point of view of tradition and the foundations of moral life, we are closer to Islam today than some Western Christians, who today are moving away from traditional morality.”
On the other hand, the Russian Orthodox Church intends to counteract radical Islam in prisons
The development of the project has been carried out at the direction of Patriarch Kirill since 2016.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is developing an educational program to counter recruiters in prisons, RIA Novosti reports. Bishop Irinarkh of Krasnogorsk spoke about this at a hearing in the Civic Chamber of Russia.
“The preachers of radical Islam are also dangerous because they easily spread their ideology within the walls of penitentiary institutions,” he said. According to Bishop Irinarkh, this is especially attractive for those serving sentences, because “it opposes itself against the state as well as criminal concepts.”
The development of an educational program to counter the spread of extremism and the ideas of radical Islam is carried out at the direction of Patriarch Kirill.
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