Patriarch Kirill: Our responsibility is to think, pray and do all possible to make the world a better place

Source: DECR
On March 23, 2016, the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church has begun its meeting at the Supreme Church Council hall in the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. It is chaired by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Opening the meeting, His Holiness expressed condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed in the terror actions in the Belgian capital city of Brussels. Addressing the meeting the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said in particular,

We have the first-hand knowledge what terror is and we know what the suffering of people is, who are killed in the name of a very strange understanding of how one should struggle for achieving one’s earthly goals. I believe we are to reflect very seriously and theologically on the phenomenon of terrorism.

All the explanations present in the political discourse are superficial. I cannot get rid of the feeling that nobody really looks into the ontological depths of the problem. Where this radicalism come from? What nourishes it? What external factors influence the motivation for terrorist activity?

I believe terrorism cannot be separated from the general civilizational development at the present stage in the historical journey of humanity. Something has gone wrong with us, and terrorism is a part of this wrongness. If terrorism is considered to be some local phenomenon or even global but connected with a very limited ideological space, it will be a great mistake. I believe it is necessary to interpret this terrible phenomenon theologically and cultorologically and to identify, as I have already said, its ontological causes.

Along with the condolences we express hope that the authorities in Belgium, in western European countries and in each place where there is a threat of terrorism will act as actively as possible, and in cooperation with one another at that. If terrorism is a global phenomenon, then the response must me global as well. There must be coordination of efforts. Much is spoken about it today, but unfortunately there is still no full coordination of actions on the part of all those who are called to struggle with terrorism on the global scale.

As far as the Church is concerned, we should do our principal job, which is to pray, ask the Lord to forgive our sins, to invoke His mercy and pray for the support of all those who have suffered from these terrorist wounds. However, at the same time, we should engage in very serious thinking. And since all the reflections in the Church are always linked with prayers, it gives us hope that we will be able to understand the real causes of this terrible phenomenon and work out our own response to the challenge of terrorism. As usual, some will agree with this response, others will not, some will welcome it, others will speak ironically of it. But the reaction to our words is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to think, pray and do all possible to make the world a better place, because concern for the world around us is part of our concern for the salvation of the human race.

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