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2 Oct, 2007 07:19

Aleksy II presents his vision of the "past, present and future" of the European Continent

Aleksy II presents his vision of the "past, present and future" of the European Continent

Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and All Russia, who is on his first official visit to France since becoming the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. He put a special emphasis o

The Patriarch thanked the parliamentarians for the opportunity to communicate the Russian Orthodox Church’s “vision of the past, present and future of the European Continent”.

He linked the conflicts that arise today with different views “of what a human being is” and with “the gap between religious traditions and secular humanism”. 

In this respect, he pointed to the breach between the existing concepts of human rights and morality:

“This is something that can be seen in the emergence of a new generation of rights that contradict morality, and philosophies that use human rights to justify immoral behaviour. In this connection I would like to remind you that the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms includes a reference to morality that has to be taken into account by anyone involved in human rights advocacy,” said Aleksy II.

The Patriarch also noted the importance of inter-religious dialogue, which is essential in reaching and maintaining peace.

“Europe and the whole world are threatened by extremists and terrorists. These destructive forces grow on the soil of religious ignorance and lack of morality,” he said.

He also spoke on the problem of the status of Serbia's breakaway republic of Kosovo.

“We believe that the way to resolve the issue around Kosovo involves establishing favourable conditions for dialogue. And we need this, involving the mediation of the international community. But that mediation has to unbiased and constructive. That is the approach that will enhance the authority of international mediation, because any kind of unilateral resolution,  that doesn’t take into account the opinions of the Serbian people will only result in injustice and suffering of people that will last for many years,” Aleksy II said.      

Another important issue Aleksy II touched upon is the relationship between science and morality:

“A human being should remain a human being, not a commodity, not a controlled element within an electronic network, not a subject for laboratory experimentation, not a semi-artificial entity. That’s why science and technology cannot be estranged from moral evaluation”.

Summing up, the Patriarch reiterated the readiness of the Russian Orthodox Church for dialogue, adding that the Council of Europe could be a powerful forum for discussing the most sensitive issues.

Please follow the links to watch the Patriarch’s address and the questions & answers session