2007-06-22 17:51:00

Final Document of the International Scientific Conference on Christianity, Culture and Moral Values

The International Scientific Conference on Christianity, Culture and Moral Values took place from June 19 to 21, 2007, at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. It was organized by the RAS's Institute of General History, the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, the Pontifical Council for Culture and Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. The conference was held under the agreement of cooperation between the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Orthodox Church. It was a follow-up of the scientific international conferences which took place in 2005 in Moscow under the theme State, Religion, Society: Historical Experience and Modern Problems, and in 2006 in Vienna under the theme 'To Give a Soul to Europe. The Mission and Responsibility of the Church'.

Among the participants in the Conference were Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Department for External Church Relations, Academician A. Chubarian, director of the RAS's Institute of General History, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Mr. Rene van der Linden, president of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. The Conference was attended by over 50 scholars from Russia, the Vatican, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and the USA.

The conference considered the place of Christianity in the European heritage, in the culture, science and social thought of European countries. It dealt with three issue sets: Christianity in Europe's Political Life, Christianity in Cooperation with Science, Culture and Education in Europe, and Christian Values in the Past and the Present.

The participants have come to the following conclusion:

1. Europe's religious and cultural heritage provides an excellent ground for dialogue between religions and social sciences. In the 19th and 20th centuries they were often opposed to each other on such issues as sources of law and foundations and parameters of social order. Today religion and social sciences should intensify their dialogue to make society more harmonious, which is impossible to achieve without either faith or science.

2. There is a vacuum of religious and moral values in modern European countries. This vacuum can be filled by school - the proposition shared in particular on the level of the Council of Europe. The models of such values' presence in school may vary, depending on regional and national contexts as well as types of educational institutions. We are convinced however that there can be no education without formation. It is necessary to search for ways and forms of spiritual and moral as well as religious formation of children and youth in dialogue on the level of both particular countries and churches and the entire Europe.

3. In propagating the knowledge of moral values in society, it is impossible to overestimate the role of the mass media as making an increasing influence on the worldview and outlook of our contemporaries. The secular character of informational work should by no means imply any disregard or full neglect of such major social phenomenon as religion. We hope for the establishment of a fruitful dialogue between secular media community and people of faith. Both sides need relations of this kind if they are really concerned for establishing a healthy spiritual climate on our continent.

4. The nations of Europe with their millennium-long moral values should be aware of their moral responsibility for the future of humanity. European societies should show more responsibility for the ethical contents of the cultural space. Creative work has always been and will remain free, but society should be able to discern what kind of cultural developments are beneficial for it and hence worthy of support. In this connection, there must be a dialogue between cultural workers, statesmen and public figures.

5. The participants are convinced that the continuation and development of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, between secular scientists and creative workers will benefit the dialogue of cultures and civilizations, promoting peace and justice in society and asserting in it authentic spiritual and moral values.

June 19-21, 2007