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Traditional and Liberal Values in the Debate between Christianity and Secularism

11.04.2005. Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Vienna and Austria, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions.

The main question in the contemporary dialogue between civilizations is that of values. The present and future of humanity depend on the answer to this question.

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Problems of Family and Sexual Ethics in the Debate between Christianity and Western Secular Civilization

Speech of Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev at the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations", Havana, Cuba, March 27-30, 2005.

One of the questions touched upon in the course of the contemporary debate between the religious tradition and secular ‘Post-Christian’ humanism is that of the moral norms which should condition the person’s sexual behaviour. Secularism is waging a systematic war against the notions of marriage and the family formed over the centuries, proposing instead its own concept of sexual relations that are very far removed from the traditional understanding. We will now examine several aspects of family ethics, sexual behaviour and the relationship between the sexes as examples of the results to which the rejection of traditional values leads in this extremely important area of human existence.

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 How Should We Live in the 'Global Village'?

An interview of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations to the 'Mir Vsem' ('Peace for Everyone') Newspaper (No 12 (24), 2004).

The passing year has become one of the most blood-shedding one in the new history of Russia. The crimes committed in this year shock everyone with their brutality and cynicism. The events in Grozny, Moscow, Beslan continue to cause bitter pain in the hearts of the Russian citizens. The problems of the motives of terrorism, its religious side, the Christian reaction to the threat of terrorism and other topical questions of today have been discussed with Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

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The Word and Role of Orthodoxy in the European Union

by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece

Certain neo-Greek intellectuals think that a United Europe is a judicial region, where Christianity is forbidden or is a miasma. In reality the European Union is a creation of Christian spirituality and cannot be understood except as an expression of the holy Christian teaching. Others again, patrons of anti-orthodox myths, believe that the European Union was exclusively the offspring of Roman Catholicism. They either ignore or they do not want to realize that for many centuries the Church was one, united, and even after the Schism, the Orthodox East continued for many centuries to spiritually irrigate the West.

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Is the Conflict of Civilizations Unavoidable?

Speech by the Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria at the Seventh Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and Members of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats ( Istanbul, October 17, 2003)

The Russian Orthodox Church takes great care to understand the problems of European integration. These problems are discussed in several official documents of the Moscow Patriarchate, particularly in a special statement concerning the work of the Convention ‘On the Future of Europe'. I will not speak of these documents today since they have been published and are rather well-known. However, I would like to discuss one of the fundamental ideas which recur in these documents: the concept of ‘multipolarity' and the world view that it stands for. What are the meaning and moral implications of this concept for us, the representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate?

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Address by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece to the Eurodeputies, Brussels, October 8, 2003.

Honorable Members of the European Parliament,

I thank you for the honor of inviting me to address you in this hall, one which realizes the visions of Adenauer, of Schumann, of de Gasperi, and of Monnet.

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Major Challenges for Christianity in Europe

Address by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev to the 12th Assembly of the Conference of European Churches, 30 June 2003, Trondheim, Norway.

Liberal tendencies, I contend, make Christianity ever more vulnerable in the face of militant secularism, which steals from us millions of people, notably youth. Many Christian communities, especially in Western Europe, experience a catastrophic shortage of vocations. But what is the reason for this? One of the reasons is precisely that doctrinal and moral liberalism which not only undermines credibility of Christian communities in the eyes of the secular world but also makes Christianity uninteresting and irrelevant, since it does not challenge secular society and does not have anything significantly different to offer to young people educated by secular culture.

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"Without its Religious Heritage Europe will not be Europe"

Interview with Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches

All of this is now geared towards the language to be used in the Constitution which the Convention on the Future of Europe will produce. I would be glad if a way could be found in this constitutional document to acknowledge that without its religious heritage Europe will not be Europe, and that this heritage has profound significance for the different peoples of Europe. To follow simply the minimal level provided by the French by not mentioning the influence of religious beliefs because it might be controversial, is the worst compromise.

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Christian Witness to Uniting Europe

Paper delivered by Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev at the International Symposium ‘Wisdom as a Source of European Unity’, Rome, Chamber of Deputies, Italian Parliament, 15 November 2002

When traveling in Europe, I am always astonished at seeing churches abandoned by their congregations, especially those that are transformed into pubs, clubs, shops, or places of other secular activity. There is something deeply deplorable in this sorry spectacle. I come from a country where for many decades church buildings were used for ungodly purposes. Many houses of worship were completely destroyed, others were converted into ‘museums of atheism’, and still others were redesigned and given over to secular institutions. This was one of the features of so-called ‘militant atheism’, which reigned in my country for seven decades and was dethroned only relatively recently. But for what cause do similar phenomena appear in Western Europe? Why has the place of religion in its society been so noticeably reduced in recent decades? How is it that religion has less and less space in the social domain? Moreover, why has this reduction in religious presence in Europe coincided with processes of European consolidation at political, financial, economic and social levels?

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Global Integration and Civilizational Diversity of Humanity

Address by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate at the inaugural meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders
(Oslo, Norway, 11-12 November 2002)

The division of Europe into two ideologically hostile camps now belongs to a bygone era. It appears that the 21st century will not be a century of ideologies. Too much blood had been poured and too many resources had been wasted in the 20th century for the sake of the triumph of ideological doctrines, and it seems that humanity is not willing to repeat this dramatic experience. Yet, the ideological factor is evidently not the only one, which can potentially lead to and is already leading to conflicts and even wars. A great diversity lays in the foundation of humanity and its culture. This diversity manifests the beauty and uniqueness of God's creation and is to serve the revealing of the inner potential of the human person and nations.

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