The message reads, in part:
“For centuries the Russian Orthodox Church has played a special role in the establishment and development of Russian statehood and in the consolidation in society of timeless moral, ethical and family values, paying constant attention to bringing up the younger generation on the lofty ideals of humanism, kindness and justice and being always involved in educational and charitable activities. Always, in the most complicated and dramatic situations it has demonstrated a true desire to serve the Fatherland and its people. Therefore, the Bishops’ Council, as the supreme body within the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy, is a significant event in the life of this country.
Today you are to consider a broad range of serious matters that correspond to the spirit and realities of our time and to express your views on many of the issues that concern society. I am certain that your decisions will help strengthen the constructive interaction between the Church and state and civil society institutions in such key areas as resolving pressing social issues, improving inter-ethnic and inter-religious dialogue, and promoting respect among the younger generation for the rich historical, cultural and spiritual heritage of the peoples of Russia.”
The Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church opened on February 2, 2016 in Moscow. Attending it are archpriests of the Moscow Patriarchy from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Estonia, as well as from other countries that have Russian Orthodox Church diocese.