Esteemed Participants and Guests of the Assembly,
I cordially greet you all, deputies from national parliaments, church representatives, governmental and social leaders and journalists as you have gathered today in the capital of Russia for participating in the work of the 21st General Assembly of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy. For the first time this authoritative international forum meets in Moscow to reflect on pressing problems of concern for representatives of the Assembly member countries.
The present session is a visible symbol of the unity of Orthodox nations based on a common faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples: “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jn. 8:31-32). Faith is not just a set of doctrinal and ethical norms describing the proper behaviour and sanctions for their violation. Faith becomes living and effective when one rely on religious values in one’s everyday life, collating one’s life with the Gospel and the centuries-old experience of the Church. Faith is the center of gravity, the “alpha and omega” of the life of a Christian. It is not only knowledge and an outlook but life itself in accordance with this knowledge. Therefore, for a believer, private life and professional and social spheres by no means can be separated from his or her religious views.
The faith impels a Christian not to be an indifferent spectator of the processes taking place in the world but to take an active part in the building of society and relations between people. Today we become witnesses to growing nihilism and rejection of the moral principle in private, family and social life, and, as a result, to all-permissiveness in people’s behaviour. All this threatens to undermine the spiritual foundation of the modern civilization. In a situation of growing economic, social and political instability, moral relativism in society and development of new hotbeds of tension, we have a special mission to bear witness to the gospel’s foundations of human common life and the need for mutual aid and peace service.
I wish all the participants in the Moscow meeting, fruitful work, God’s help and blessed success.