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In a recent meeting with one of Turkey’s most important Muslim leaders, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow emphasized four things.
1. The Moscow Patriarchate looks forward to continued dialogue and strengthened relations with Muslim leaders, especially given the rapid decline of morality in the West.
“It would be good if scholars could join the working group [of Russian Orthodox and Turkish Muslims], since it is very important to reflect together on what is going on with human civilization,” His Holiness said. “It is perfectly obvious that the Western civilization, the modern Western culture, has lost its ties with religion and that the Western world cannot be called Christian any more. Religious values are no longer present in social sphere. Such laws are being adopted that contradict God’s commandments and traditional morality.”
2. Bilateral relations between the Russian Church and Protestant churches have been affected by the latter’s growing secularization, although common cause remains with the Roman Catholic Church.
“Catholics remain faithful to the Biblical tradition,” His Holiness said. “Yet, they find it more and more difficult to raise their voice. We strive to render all possible support to the Catholic Church and believe that it is necessary to promote and deepen our dialogue on these issues.”
3. Christian persecution in the Middle East is alarming.
“We are alarmed at the developments in Iraq, Syria, and some other countries, where militants kill Christians,” His Holiness said. “The Christian population in Northern Iraq has decreased considerably. Churches are being destroyed. Christians are being killed, sold into slavery, or forced to accept Islam or pay a special tax.”
4. Islamist violence is contrary to the true principles of Islam.
“I cannot get rid of the idea that the “Arabic Spring” and the emergence of Muslim radical military forces, who commit public executions, are aimed at demonizing Islam in the eyes of the world community,” His Holiness said.
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