Greetings of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill to the 11th Rhodes Forum

Dear organizers and participants of the Forum,
dear brothers and sisters!

I wholeheartedly greet all of you who have gathered in Greece to take part in the 11th annual session of the World Pubic Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations.” Once again, representatives of the Orthodox Church and other Christian confessions and traditional religions, the state and pubic figures, diplomats, scholars, and journalists from different countries gathered together to ponder over the problems of inter-cultural cooperation in our diverse world. The necessity of broad international discussion of the problems of relations among civilizations remains topical under conditions of the ongoing globalization and instability in the world.

The modern world is characterized by an amounting tension and aggravation of the accumulated contradictions in various spheres of public life. Today we see with anxiety the revision of fundamental moral standards that have served as a uniting principle in society for centuries. The underlying causes of crisis are rooted first of all in human nature, in its captivity and liability to sin. Unfortunately, people today very often refuse to conduct a dialogue and do not try to listen to one another, to understand and accept one another, but rather use the language of weapons and violence which seems to them the most effective means for winning difficulties.

We are called to follow Christ in his great love to humanity which he has shown by suffering for sins one for all, the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Pet 3:18). Every human person can change the world for the better by charity, by showing the effectiveness of the transforming law of the Gospel in his life, and also by praying for those who are near and for those who are far away. It is in this way that we can oppose the growing hatred, since evil cannot conquer love as darkness cannot engulf the True light, through whom the world came into being (cf. Jn 1:9-10).

I believe that an important result of the work of the Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” is a formation of the international community of leaders who uphold the paradigm of the dialogue of civilizations in order to counterbalance a theory of confrontation. This gives a solid ground for inculcating in the mind of political and public figures an idea of peaceful coexistence of civilizations on the basis of mutual respect, while maintaining cultural and national identity and building good neighborly relations among nations.

I wish you all constructive and fruitful discussion and invoke God’s blessing upon your work.

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Click here to read the Greetings in Russian