His welcome reads, in part:
”I congratulate you as the Bishops' Council, the supreme body of the Russian Orthodox Church, begins its work. It is symbolic that the Council is meeting on these very days, as the Orthodox Church celebrates the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus.
You will discuss and make important decisions about critical issues of church life, and spell out the Council's views on ways of strengthening the unity of Orthodoxy and improving the spiritual education of Russia's citizens. These themes are inextricably bound up with the development challenges facing our country at present. Most important are questions of spiritual and moral upbringing and the ideals of kindness, mercy and justice that are important, not only for a religious organisation, but also for society as a whole.
Our Motherland has always adhered to these values, and they inform our national traditions and moral foundations. Today they enable Russia to preserve its historical roots and its cultural and spiritual autonomy.
I am confident that the recommendations and proposals that emerge from your discussions will promote a constructive dialogue between the Russian Orthodox Church, public authorities and civil institutions in Russia that will strengthen interfaith and interethnic harmony.
I wish the Council every success with its work and wish its participants peace and prosperity.“
The Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church will be held from 24 to 27 June in Moscow at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.