Dear Participants in the Meeting,
I heartily greet you all who have gathered today in Teheran to work in the Joint Russian-Iranian Theological Commission for Islam-Orthodoxy Dialogue.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Muslim community in Iran. During this time, we have managed to reach mutual understanding on many aspects of the cultural and spiritual life of society. Thanks to our fruitful cooperation, a common position has been formulated on a number of such burning issues as concern for the growing secularization of today’s world, the need for informational opposition to the challenges to religious tradition and defence of moral values. Relations of trust and co-work have been established in our relations.
The theme of the meeting ‘The Role of Religion in the Life of the Individual and Society’ has become again especially acute as we see today religious and moral relativism spreading rapidly throughout the world. In the first place, it concerns the attempts to oust authentic religious values from human life and to replace them with a cult of unrestrained consumerism and all-permissiveness. Economy, becoming a dominant in social development, has imposed on people a race for material wealth and carnal pleasures. Faith and morals are presented as useless and old-fashioned notions. As a result, the age-old traditions of peoples, the traditions of family and community are being destroyed thus distorting the very human personality.
The participants in this meeting are called to discuss and demonstrate the importance and significance of religious life for strengthening the moral health of society. I hope that this regular meeting of the Commission will make a weighty contribution to the development of mutual understanding between our religious communities.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
October 6, 2010