Moral Foundation Key to Terror Problems, Says Orthodox Head

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II told the more than 200 religious leaders from 40 countries on Monday that moral foundations are the key to tackling major problems, in particular, terrorism, which seems to be the Summit’s top issue.

“Today we have to hear a lot about fratricidal conflicts, the terrorist threat, intolerance, xenophobia, society’s intensifying moral degradation, and the ecological crisis,” said Patriarch Alexy II on Monday, according to the news information service Interfax.

“All religious leaders should speak with a common voice and call for peace, the truth and good,” said the Russian Orthodox head as he advised religious leaders to base solutions to global problems on moral foundations.

“It is impossible to effectively fight strife, violence, vices, extremism and terror without a spiritual and moral basis in the life of the people,” said Patriarch Alexy II, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, according to The Associated Press.

The World Summit of Religious Leaders, hailed as unprecedented for the scope of its representation, opened in Moscow amidst an atmosphere of openness and willingness to discuss taboo subjects. Included among the attendees were 50 religious leaders who head the world’s largest religious communities.

The Vatican sent a high-level delegation headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican’s Council for Christian Unity to the Summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who opened the Summit on Monday, urged religious leaders present to counter efforts to incite conflict between Christians and Muslims, warning of a potential clash of civilization reported AP.

“Attempts are being made to split the world on the basis of religion or ethnicity, to drive a wedge primarily between the Christian and Islamic communities,” Putin said according to AP.

“In effect, a conflict of civilizations is being thrust upon the world,” he said adding,” it is necessary to fully understand to what catastrophic consequences this confrontation could lead.”

The patriarch said he hopes that leaders present will be able to arrive at a common approach to most issues discussed during the Summit, Interfax reported.

“It will help prevent conflicts between various ethnic groups from turning into religious conflicts and stem the spread of destructive pseudo-religious movements,” he said.

Alexy II said he aims for the creation of a Summit document outlining the common position of the participating religious leaders which will be presented to religious people worldwide and the heads of the Group of Eight (G8) member-states.

The World Summit of Religious Leaders will conclude on Wednesday.