10/07/2004, 00.00
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Metropolitan appreciates Vatican gestures, pledges support in fight against terrorism

Moscow (AsiaNews) – At the end of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and chairman of the External Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate told journalists that  "relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican are improving". This is happening thanks to two steps, namely the return of the icon of Kazan, a symbolic gesture by the Vatican that Metropolitan Kirill praised, and the creation of a joint commission to examine alleged Catholic proselytising among Orthodox.

In his press conference, Kirill also spoke about terrorism. He said that "a profound ignorance about religion", so typical of the contemporary world, was one of the factors contributing to terrorism. The religious slogans terrorists use "mask" their immoral goal to dominate the world and find an echo only among people who are willing to accept "any nonsense dressed up as dogma".

Yesterday the Synod addressed the need for religious consciousness to "enlighten" the world.

In an official document it said that in order to outline its own "possible contribution" to ending the flow of blood and tears that is marring the earth, the Church must understand the "spiritual bases" of terrorism in the 21st century.

Terrorism, the Orthodox Church believes, breeds from the "spiritual and moral emptiness" of contemporary society. But by going "back to religious traditions and reinvigorating religious practice and worship" can its unity be preserved.

The state has an indispensable role to play in this area. "The school system and state-regulated mass media ought to show what a religious experience is. They should present strong moral values and stress the importance of culture, dialogue and peaceful coexistence". This is the best vaccine against the "deadly virus" that is terrorism.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin shares these views. Yesterday, in his meeting with the members of the Synod, he said that "terrorism rests on immorality and the absence of spirituality". He called on the Orthodox Church to collaborate with the government in the fight against terrorism. "We must", he said, "nourish inter-faith dialogue and for this we count on your active commitment". He added that "as it was the case in Beslan, the Orthodox Church has always been close to the Russian people, in good times and bad times. I hope that in the future she will continue being so". (MA)

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See also
Aleksij II: "Orthodox and Catholics together against secularisation"
Our Lady of Kazan's journey home between fresh hopes and old wars
Russian Catholics ask to pray before the icon of Our Lady of Kazan
Aleksij II delivers the Mother of God Icon to Kazan
McCarrick: "You could see joy in people's eyes after the icon's return"


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