July 29, 2014

The question of European identity

From Pat. Kirill’s message to the Conference on the Identity of Values for Europe held on November 19-10, 2009, in Venice.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow

The further existence and fruitful development of the European project depends on a clear answer to the question of the European identity. It is necessary to understand what exactly constitutes the backbone and uniting principle for the numerous peoples living in the continent. Only in this way it is possible to overcome their cultural differences and to inspire them for building a common space of mutual trust and aid.

Christianity has formed Europe’s values basis and idea. Outside the Christian tradition it is impossible to become aware of the inner contents and driving mechanism of the development of this region and the cultural code of the ethnoses inhabiting it. Therefore, in future, too, every stage in the building of our common home cannot be reached without reliance on the Christian witness. Europe’s Christian identity is an immutable given which cannot be destroyed without destroying the European world itself.

Comments

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    Fr Gregory says:

    Let me first say Amen! To His Holiness’ words. Let me add to this the fact that his words are applicable not only to Europe but America as well.

    In Christ,

    +FrG

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    George Michalopulos says:

    absolutely! I had hoped that in America we could fight back against the Islamist menace, but with the election of the first “post-American” president, it appears we are losing precious ground. Unless things turn around, I foresee a balkanized US in which there are more resolutely Christian/western-cultural areas. Presently, it appears that New England is the first to leave the fold of Christendom.

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    John Couretas says:

    Patriarch Kirill supports Italian Government over European Court’s decision to ban Christian symbols in schools

    26.11.2009

    The European Court of Human Rights ruled on the case of Lautsi versus Italy that the presence of crucifixes in Italian schools violated human rights. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has sent a letter to Italian Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi, stating resolute support for the intention of the Italian Government to appeal this decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Below is the text of the letter.

    His Excellency Sylvio Berlusconi

    Prime Minister

    Republic of Italy

    Your Excellency,

    The decision made by the European Court on 3 November 2009 on the case of Lautsi versus Italy to the effect that the presence of crucifixes violates human rights in Italian public schools has disturbed the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The Christian heritage in Italy and other countries in Europe should not become a matter to be considered by European human rights institutions. Christian religious symbols present in the public space in Europe are part of the common European identity without which neither the past nor the present or the future of this continent are thinkable. The pretext of ensuring the secular nature of a state should not be used to assert an anti-religious ideology, which apparently violates peace in the community, discriminating against the religious majority in Europe which is Christian.

    We state our full and unconditional support for the intention of the Italian Government to appeal this decision in the European Court’s Grand Chamber. European democracy should not encourage Christanophobia like atheistic regimes did in the past.

    The Russian Orthodox Church in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church intends to notify the world and European public of its flat rejection of such decisions and to encourage a discussion on the practice of the European Court of Human Rights on various platforms.

    Respectfully,

    + Kirill

    Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

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    John Couretas says:

    Archbishop Hilarion’s letter to Vatican Secretary of State concerning the European Court’s decision to ban Christian symbols in Italian schools

    27.11.2009 · DECR Chairman, New documents

    The decision made by the European Court on 3 November 2009 to the effect that the presence of crucifixes violates human rights in Italian schools has prompted Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk to send the following message to the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone:

    Your Eminence,

    The decision made on 3 November 2009 by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Lautsi versus Italy to the effect that the presence of crucifixes in state-run schools in Italy violates human rights has raised our great concern.

    We consider this practice of the European Court to be an attempt to impose radical secularism everywhere despite the national experience of church-state relations. The above-mentioned decision is not the only one in the practice of the Court, which has increasingly shown an anti-Christian trend.

    Taking into account the fact that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have clearly lost touch with legal and historical reality in which most of the European live, while the Court itself has turned into an instrument of promoting an ultra-liberal ideology, we believe it very important that religious communities in Europe should be involved in a discussion concerning its work.

    In this connection, we propose that through common efforts a seminar be organized on the platform of the Council of Europe with the participation of religious communities and experts for discussing those aspects of the work of the European Court of Human Rights which matter for religious communities.

    Respectfully,

    + Hilarion

    Archbishop of Volokolamsk

    Chairman

    Department for External Church Relations

    Moscow Patriarchate

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    John Couretas says:

    The Swiss give a thumbs down to minarets.

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