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Kirill (Gundyaev), patr. Living according to conscience and truth (From the address at the Easter reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Moscow, April 28, 2011)
LIVING ACCORDING TO
CONSCIENCE AND TRUTH
From the address at the Easter reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Russia, Moscow, April 28, 2011
For every believer, Christ’s Resurrection is a source of joy and hope that strengthens us on the path of spiritual perfection, honest work and service to others. It is not easy to live according to conscience and truth, but living according to conscience and truth means to create real welfare for society, genuine peace on the basis of lasting agreement. Easter calls us to transfiguration, renewal and rethinking our lives. By following this path, we can change the world.
Crowned with victory over sin and death, the feat of Christ the Saviour teaches the human soul the ability to sacrifice. Its highest manifestation is the readiness to give our lives for others, even those unknown to us. (....)
Unfortunately, in today’s world there are fewer examples of sacrifice and kind-heartedness than of conflicts of interests. Terrible events have taken place in the Middle East and North Africa, where there are large numbers of Christians, including Orthodox.
Humanity needs solidarity in order to resist the temptation to solve ethnic conflicts by military means, and to resist the threats of terrorism and extremism, ethnic and religious clashes and social injustice aggravated by the phenomenon of crisis in the economic sphere. Strong, sincere faith gives us the strength to patiently build a common space of trust, to distance our society from violence, lies and double standards, to show love and kindness, and, if necessary,
sacrifice for those close to and distant from us.
Believers are convinced that the path to neighbourliness among people lies through the adoption of spiritual and moral values that are fundamental for the existence of nations and civilizations. In that sense, traditional moral values have a special place. I thank you, Sergey Viktorovich,26 and through you Russian diplomacy, for the initiatives to promote a corresponding U.N. resolution through the Human Rights Council.
I remember the first time when, at the meeting of the Council a few years ago, I expressed the ideas that, fortunately, were reflected in the resolution. I must say I did not expect such a positive reaction. It was, perhaps, the only case when the meeting was attended by the ambassadors of nearly all the countries represented in the U.N. I thought my speech would be followed by criticism, because it looked like a challenge to the established views on the issue of human rights, but then a long debate convinced me that the vast majority of those who were present in the hall did not merely share the same ideas but were ready to defend them.
I again thank Russian diplomacy for the fact that, driven by the highest ideas and principles, you were able to develop a new paradigm of human rights philosophy, within which rights are associated with dignity and human responsibility. God grant that this interpretation of human rights - rights realised within a moral system of values— will enter the consciousness of modern people. If we do not connect human rights with moral responsibility we will face a liberated instinct that, without reference to human rights, will destroy everything around it in the drive to satisfy its instinctual needs.
Let me once again draw your attention to an event that has become a ‘moment of truth’ for many Europeans and for all people for whom religious symbols express their faith, cultural and religious identity. Italy, with the support of Russia and other countries, defended her right to place the crucifix in Italian public-school classrooms.This is a sign of hope for the preservation of a pan-European
26 S.V. Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.
Christian identity. The decision thus made is the result of joint effort among Christians in Europe, including public officials. Thank God that the long-lasting court case ended in victory for common sense, in the realization that Europe simply cannot exist without a Christian heritage. It is excellent that more and more respect is being shown towards religious symbols and towards historical religions in other parts of the world.
It is my hope that the aforementioned decision will be the starting point for a critical rethinking of the concept of aggressive secularism, which is leading to the limiting of Christians’ rights in European public life.
Meeting here for great festival, we express hope for the future of humanity, and that we may be worthy of the great sacrifice that the Saviour made for each one of us. Again I wish all those present a blessed Easter. I wish you good health and God’s help in all your efforts.
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