On April 7, 2021, in the Moscow Cathedral Mosque conference hall, the 1st Moscow Interreligious Youth Forum “Concord of the Different: Towards Interreligious and Intergenerational Cooperation” was held. Among the event, organizers are the International Muslim Forum, the Moscow Islamic Institute, the Pokrovskie Vorota Cultural Center, the Youth Center of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, and the Youth Department of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the European part of Russia. The Forum was attended not only by religious organizations but also by government officials, researchers of religion, students.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was represented by Sergei Antamanov, a member of the Organizing Committee and the Program Committee of the forum, moderator of the section “Religion, spirituality, values in youth culture.” Sergey also made a presentation on “Interreligious Dialogue: Mutual Understanding, Cooperation and“ Holy Envy ”in the 21st Century” at the “Dialogue of Religions.”
In his speech, he emphasized the importance of interfaith conferences. He also drew attention to the principles of interfaith understanding, highlighted by the Bishop of Stockholm (Church of Sweden), theologian, Honorary Professor of the School of Theology at Harvard Christer Stendhal:
- Trying to understand another religion is necessary to address questions to its followers, not to its enemies.
- You should not compare the best “you” with the worst “theirs.”
- You need to leave room in your soul for “holy envy” (the ability to find something worthy of emulation in other religious traditions — elements that you admire and want to be reflected in some way in your religious experience).
Ilgizar Davletshin, Secretary of the Forum Organizing Committee, representative of the Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of the Russian Federation, noted: “At the forum, it was important for us to hear the voice of young people, to find out how they see interreligious and, more broadly, intercultural interaction. The dialogue of religions is essential today because there is a growing awareness of differences in modern realities. Only a deeply worked out dialogue will allow us to understand each other better. We hope that the forum will become exactly the platform where we can hear each other. Personally, I believe that dividing people by race, skin color; religious beliefs are relics that need to be eradicated. And this is the mission of youth”
Speaking about the Church’s participation in the Moscow Interreligious Youth Forum, Roman Nabatnikov, President of the CRO “Religious Association of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Russia,” noted: “Before our eyes, a new platform for dialogue is emerging – a dialogue of young representatives of religious associations representing different traditions: Muslims, Catholics, Lutherans, Latter-day Saints … The younger generation sets an example for us on how to work together to overcome the prejudices of the past and build a happy future together. ”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has taught respect for other religious traditions and the importance of respectful interfaith dialogue since its founding. Members of the Church believe that friendly ties with representatives of different religions and traditions contribute to harmonizing interfaith relations.
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