Secretary General, World
Peace Summit, the United Nations
Your Holiness Patriarch Aleksiy!
Members of the Academy of Sciences!
Ladies and gentlemen!
My dear brothers and sisters!
This day is a great honor for me to stand here and
have an opportunity to share some of my thoughts. I bring to you
greetings from the United Nations Secretary General with whose office I
am working closely as we prepare to launch the Millennium World Peace
Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, opening at the United
Nations, August 28–31, 2000.
Let me first begin by congratulating you on the
unique collaboration for this very important conference. I am told that
the Academy of Sciences, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ministry of
Culture and the Millennium Committee have cooperated to put this
conference together «Christianity on the Eve of the Third Millennium».
I believe that a hundred years ago when we approached the year of 1900
at that time to the great leaders and thinkers must have thought how
they can make the XX century a peaceful one. But if you look at the
course of the last 100 years this has been the bloodiest century in the
history of humanity. So, I believe that you have to pause and reflect
on what we need to do differently, so that, perhaps, the XXI century
can be more peaceful one in the history of humanity. This can be best
reflected in the words of Mahatma Gandhi — perhaps the greatest peace
maker of the XX century «Be the change you want to see». So, I ask
you what change are you ready to make in order for you to see the
change you wish to see.
I want to compliment you for the subject of this
conference, especially the key themes, and more especially the role of
Church in peace keeping. If you see the last decade the nature of
conflicts all over the world has changed: more conflicts happen within
countries, not among countries, and most of then are interpreted to be
based on religious and ethnic differences. Christianity is the
world’s largest religion. Today the world is commemorating and
celebrating the third millennium and we know that this is the dawn of
the third millennium of our common era. That means Christianity. In my
tradition of Jainism and my culture of Hinduism the third millennium it
is not the beginning of third millennium. For Hinduism, Jainism,
Buddhism and many other traditions, you know, have existed for many
thousands of years. When examining the nature of the conflicts I ask
what role the Church wants to play in the peacekeeping, the peace
making and when the conflicts are broken out, and seek non-violent
resolution of conflicts. I believe it is a fundamental responsibility
and basic mission of every religious confession to insure peace, love,
respect, understanding and harmony, so we may coexist as one human
The next question I want to ask is what the
Christianity wants to play in interconfessional dialogue. We know and I
compliment the Russian Orthodox Church in engaging in dialogue with the
major traditions of the world. The nature of the worlds, major cities
has changed. Today, in any major city you have almost every religious
confession to be present. It is not only imperative, but critical that
in order to address the challenges and problems of our own communities.
In this respect I congratulate you all in creating the Interreligious
Council of Russia. I believe that we need to have such interreligious
councils in every part of the world.
In order to adequately address the most pressing
issues we need an active collaboration and cooperation between the
Church, the State and the civil society. And I am very glad that you
have a Round Table on this subject. I look forward to receiving the
results of the deliberations.
The main goal of my Visit to Russia is to provide
some information on the forthcoming Millennium World Peace Summit and
meet with leaders of major religious confessions of Russia and the CIS
countries. In cooperation with Foundation for Survival and Development
of Humanity I had meetings with representatives of Russian Orthodox
Church (Father Vsevolod, Metropolitan Kirill — I am going to meet him
this afternoon), Mr. Shaevitch, Chief Rabbi of Russia, leaders of the
Buddhists, Rivvil Khazrat, President, Council of the Muftis of Russia,
and all of them have expressed their support for this initiative.
This is the first time the world’s prominent
religious leaders will come together to the United Nations. Secretary
General Mr. Kofi Annan will deliver the inaugural address. It is my
sincere hope and I pray that Your Holiness Patriarch Aleksiy will join
us as one of the distinguished religious leaders to present the views
and initiatives of the Russian Orthodox Church for the Assembly Hall of
the United Nations.
I look forward to receiving the results and
deliberations of your conference because there is a great convergence
between religion and science, and many religious leaders have expressed
to me their desire to have a dialogue on the subject at the Summit in
Lastly, Mr. Kortunov, I also want to congratulate
you on your tremendous leadership in the Russian Millennium Committee
to create awareness on the Russian Federation post the Soviet era. I
hope, our Summit can be another opportunity for you to introduce the
new image of the Russian Federation in the global context.
I thank you for this opportunity. This has been an
honor and privilege to share my thoughts this day. I wish you the very
best and hope that your conference will achieve the goals that you have
set forth. Thank you all and God bless you.
* Ïðèâåòñòâèå áûëî
ïðî÷èòàíî íà îòêðûòèè êîíôåðåíöèè íà
àíãëèéñêîì ÿçûêå. — Ðåä.