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Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan spoke at a forum in Saudi Arabia

Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan spoke at a forum in Saudi Arabia
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29 November 2021 year 17:25

On November 24, 2021, Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan attended the forum on Russia and the Islamic World: the Culture of Dialogue and Relationships among Various Religions: The Experience of Russian and Saudi Arabia. It was held as part of a field meeting of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia - the Islamic World” in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.

The head of the Metropolis of Tatarstan, who is the first hierarch of the Moscow Patriarchate to visit Saudi Arabia, read a paper at the session.

“First of all I would like to cordially thank His Royal Majesty King Salman bin Abdelaziz Al Saud for the truly Abrahamic hospitality and warm welcome. And I am glad to convey to the participants of the forum the words of greeting fr om His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia”, he said.

The Orthodox archpastor spoke about the experience of the preservation of interreligious accord in Russia, in particular in the Republic of Tatarstan, saying, “Peace and accord between Orthodox Christians and Muslims has existed in our country for many centuries. We in Tatarstan have lived side by side for five centuries. We have never had interreligious wars. Although, fr om my point of view, there was one religious war but actually it was not against Christians or Muslims but against believers. The militant atheists, when they came to power, sought to eradicate all our national and religious traditions. Thank God, today we are returning to our sources and have an opportunity to celebrate freely, to come to churches and mosques, to confess our religions”.

His Eminence Kirill said that in Tatarstan, with the help of the authorities, holy places have been actively restored. “We have restored ancient Bolgar, where Islam was embraced, ancient Sviyazhsk, where Christianity began in our land”.

“This year, a Christian shrine, the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, has been restored in Kazan, to which pilgrimages were made through centuries”. The house of the Most Holy Mother of God at the place wh ere her miracle-working icons appeared has been restored by the Revival Foundation. This foundation is headed by the first President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev, a Muslim”.

Metropolitan Kirill also spoke about the cooperation with the head of the Muslim Board of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kamil Samigullin. “We work together wh ere we can do it: together we are engaged in asserting peace, solving common social problems, seeking to assert the religious and moral values of our people so that we may have no abortions, no criminality, so that people may not yield to drug addiction and hard drinking but seek to live a pious life”, he said.

Citing the words of Holy Scriptures: if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand (Mk. 3:24-25), Metropolitan Kirill stressed, “Our common wellbeing directly depends on inner accord and interreligious peace. In this context, our world is our common world, which presupposes our common efforts to improve it. We may live in different rooms of this house, on different floors, but no one of sound judgement will deliberately put one’s house on fire. We face the task to preserve our national and religious traditions and oppose the evil brought by unbelief and especially aggressive godlessness rejecting all the principles and laws based on our doctrinal truths”.

Among the participants of the session from Russia there were Hieromonk Gregory (Matrusov), head of the Patriarchal Experts’ Council for Cooperation with the Islamic world; Mr. Kamil Samigullin, chairman of the Muslim Board of the Republic of Tatartstan; Mr. Rushan Abbyasov, vice-chairman of the Muslim Board of the Russian Federation; Mr. Vitaly Naumkin, academic head of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academic of Sciences; Mr. Yevgeny Yeremin, chairman of the Board of the Foundation of Islamic Culture, Scholarship and Education; Mr. Ainur Temirkhanov, rector of the Bulgarian Islamic Academy, and others. The field meeting of the Strategic Vision Group “Russia - the Islamic Word” was chaired by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov. Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan as a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate was assigned to the Group by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in place of his predecessor on the see, Metropolitan Feofan of Kazan and Tatarstan, who passed away to the Lord on November 20, 2020.

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The Strategic Vision Group was set up in 2006 under the leadership of the former Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Primakov and the first President of the Republic of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiyev. It is a consultative body for broadening cooperation between Russia and Islamic countries. For almost twenty years the Russian Federation has been an observer in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

DECR Communication Service/Patriarchia.ru

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