Russian Religious Leaders Promote Interfaith Dialogue

The leaders of Russian Jewish community met with patriarch Kirill, the head of Russian Orthodox church on Friday to discuss interfaith dialogue in the country and oppose religious extremism in the Middle East.

Chief rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar and the president of FJC Russia Alexander Boroda attended the meeting, which took place at the patriarch’s residence in Moscow.

The religious leaders called modern-day Russia a rare example of a state where all religious communities are in warm good-neighborly relations. “The Russian Orthodox and Jewish communities have had a long peaceful dialogue, based on shared morals and we make joint decisions on questions that are important for all traditional religions,” said patriarch Kirill. “In this sense, we have a united working front.”

Jewish leaders told the patriarch about new projects in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center that FJC Russia opened a few years ago. They also discussed the prospect of holding an international forum of world religions, with participation by spiritual leaders of the largest international religious organizations, which would encourage a similarly open dialogue in other countries.

The event would “encourage cooperation among religious leaders in opposing extremism evident in the last few years,” rabbi Lazar said.

The Jewish community very much appreciates the patriarch’s wise and balanced approach to inter-religious dialogue issues and for its part is doing all it can to promote understanding and tolerance towards one another, the chief rabbi said.

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