Reverend and Honourable Father Bianchi,
Esteemed Organizers and Participants of the Symposium:
On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, I would like to wholeheartedly greet the participants in the 22nd International Symposium on Orthodox Spirituality organized by the Monastic Community of Bose on the theme “Blessed are peacemakers”.
Peacemaking belongs to the very essence of Christian message and in all times the Church of Christ has believed it to be her duty to bring to people the word of peace and love. Metropolitan Platon of Moscow, an outstanding hierarch of the Russian Church (1737-1812), said in one of his sermons: “Peace be to you! O the sweetest word! O the nicest word! O the precious union of the human race and the foundation of its wellbeing! Without it no good thing can either exist or assert itself. Where there is no peace, there is nothing good, only confusion. That is why the Church believes it necessary in all her prayers and actions”.
The problem of achieving a lasting peace between religions, countries and peoples has always occupied an important place in the service of Churches and in inter-Christian dialogue. However, the hard time of military conflicts that we are experiencing in the Middle East, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries makes ever more urgent our common task to search for Christians ways for stopping war which brings enmity, death and destruction. As His Holiness Patriarch Kirill reminds us, “in an intestine strife there is no winner or political gain that can be more precious than a human life” (From the Message to the Plenitude of the Russian Orthodox Church, 17 June 2014). The supreme authority of the Russian Church is tirelessly calling for peace, mutual forgiveness and search for compromise, exerting practical efforts to help those who suffer and to establish cooperation with all people of good will who sincerely wish peace.
I hope that this Symposium will help make people more keenly and deeply aware of the need to work hard to achieve the blessed day when Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Ps. 85:10). May the peace of the Lord be with you all!
With love in the Lord,
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations