Welcome message by His Beatitude Metropolitan ONUFRIY of Kyiv and All Ukraine to participants of the conference “The Role of the 2017 Year of Islamic Solidarity in the Development of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue”

Welcome message of

His Beatitude Metropolitan ONUFRIY of Kyiv and All Ukraine

to the participants of the conference with the theme

“The Role of the 2017 – Year of Islamic Solidarity

in the Development of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue”

(Azerbaijan, Baku, December 21, 2017)

Most honoured participants of the conference!

It was with both interest and gratitude that I received an invitation to participate in a conference devoted to the development of dialogue in the intercultural and interreligious spheres.

We in Ukraine are very familiar with this problematic issue. At present, our Church faithful have directly encountered situations of intolerance and hostility in many parts of our country. In connection with the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, we have seen how dangerous an effect mass media may have on the consciousness of large groups of citizens. We have borne witness to the emergence of walls of mistrust, hatred and hostility as a result of propaganda.

The religious sphere impacts upon the depths of human existence. Here, a person is called to communion with God and for the development of reverence before the Most High. But at the same time, it is a sphere in which hatred and enmity can leave indelible marks for many decades.

That is precisely why our Church always strives to seek and maintain peace with all the confessions and religious organisations of Ukraine. First and foremost, this is achieved through cooperation within the framework of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (AUCCRO), where constructive and good relations are aimed at solving the common problems facing all the denominations and religious communities with regards to their relations with the Ukrainian government and society. Through this Council, as well as via direct communication, we become acquainted with each other’s traditions, we learn to see the deep religious foundations of human existence. Thanks to this we traditionally have had good neighbourly relations with the Muslims of Ukraine and hope that this will be the case in the future.

I am convinced that our common task is the consolidation of peace in Ukraine as well as in the many other countries where Orthodox Christians and Muslims cohabitate . In a number of countries, we observe the animosity between the secular world and aggressive religious groups. I am convinced that this is a wrong path to take. Our communities, which have been known to coexist peacefully for centuries, as good neighbours, are called upon today to bear witness of this spirit of peace as truly religious people should.

I sincerely wish all the participants of the conference fruitful and productive work.

Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv and All Ukraine

Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

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