Within the viewers of the 80 imams, patriarchs, rabbis and muftis was Metropolitan Anthony, in command of overseas relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, which has firmly backed Russia’s invasion. His boss, Patriarch Kirill, was purported to have participated within the congress however canceled final month.
Kirill has justified Russia’s invasion on religious and ideological grounds, calling it a “metaphysical” battle with the West. He has blessed Russian troopers going into battle and invoked the concept Russians and Ukrainians are one folks.
Francis didn’t point out Russia or Ukraine in his remarks, which alongside these of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev opened the gathering of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Taoist and different religion teams aimed toward selling interreligious dialogue and fraternity as a power for peace on the earth.
However talking from Russia’s southern neighbor because the seven-month battle rages on, Francis informed the religion leaders that they themselves wanted to take the lead in selling a tradition of peace, saying it was hypocritical to count on that non-believers would promote peace if non secular leaders don’t.
“If the creator, to whom now we have devoted our lives, is the writer of human life, how can we who name ourselves believers consent to the destruction of that life?” he requested. “Aware of the wrongs and errors of the previous, allow us to unite our efforts to make sure that the Almighty won’t ever once more be held hostage to the human thirst for energy.”
Francis then laid down a problem to all these within the room to commit themselves to resolving disputes via dialogue and negotiation, not with recourse to arms.
“Might we by no means justify violence. Might we by no means permit the sacred to be exploited by the profane. The sacred must not ever be a prop for energy, nor energy a prop for the sacred!”
The non secular leaders included Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the seat of Sunni studying in Cairo, who warmly greeted Francis with a kiss on the cheek when the pope arrived in a wheelchair.
Francis and al-Tayeb signed a joint Christian-Muslim doc selling human fraternity as a power for peace in 2019 — a doc that Tokayev cited in his personal speech opening the congress.
There had been hypothesis that Francis might meet with Kirill on the sidelines of the congress after each confirmed their presence earlier this yr. The 2 met for the primary time in 2016 in Cuba — the first-ever assembly of a pope and Russian patriarch — and spoke by videoconference within the early weeks of the battle.
Francis afterward publicly criticized Kirill’s justification of Ukraine’s invasion and warned that he mustn’t change into “Putin’s altar boy.”
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