"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God"
Matthew 5: 9
“You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its strength, then how can you make it salty?
It is no longer good for anything, except to throw it out and trample on people.
You are the light of the world. A city on the top of a mountain cannot hide. "
With these verses in mind, on November 26, 2021, the “National Spiritual Meal” in Russia took place at the Ukraine Hotel. The main theme permeating all the speeches was “Spiritual Peacemaking in Resolving Modern Conflicts”. More than 200 representatives of the Russian government, business, public associations and various religious groups took part in a wide dialogue organized by the National Spiritual Meal Charitable Foundation for the Promotion of Spiritual Culture. Dozens of representatives of the European Parliament, the parliaments of the European Union, the United States and other countries attended in person or presented their greetings. The welcoming speech was given by Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), Secretary of the Department for External Church Relations for Inter-Christian Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church was represented by pastors from the Western Russian Union and the Euro-Asian Division. In total, 26 representatives of the Church and two film crews of TV companies from Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod took part in the event. The event featured a video greeting by Pastor Ted Wilson, Head of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Pastor Ganone Diop, Head of the Public Relations and Religious Freedom Department, and Secretary General of the International Association for Religious Freedom (MARS).
The purpose of the gathering was to discuss the numerous problems of a religious, social, political and economic nature, caused both by the consequences of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic around the world, and by the crisis of faith in society, spirituality and the growing threat of the military, associated with the general unfavorable humanitarian situation.
The participants came to the conclusion that the pandemic has become an unprecedented test for modern times, that has literally exposed the most serious vices and problems of the world community. Worst of all, together with an insidious disease, humanity is seized by an epidemic of fear and widespread misinformation, which each person is forced to fight alone.
The participants in the National Spiritual Meal expressed their sincere gratitude to all medical professionals who are "on the front line" in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Here it is quite possible to apply the well-known words of Jesus Christ: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ).
We are aware of the colossal workload our doctors withstood during the peak of the COVID-19 disease, working around the clock, knowing no sleep or rest. Today, they continue to defend themselves, fighting for the lives and health of Russians. Their heroic work helped the country avoid the worst-case scenarios from the spread of the coronavirus. Despite the danger of infection, incredible workload and mental fatigue, they continue to help people. The founders and participants of the National Spiritual Meal, in the person of Surgeon Konstantin Alexandrovich Pokrovsky, thanked all medical field workers and presented them with a memorial sign.
The speakers of the National Spiritual Meal unanimously confirmed that the crisis of 2020-21 did not happen by chance and is a consequence of the loss of spiritual guidelines in society. Humanity has gone astray, a spirit of self-confidence and omnipotence has taken possession of it, confidence in its own ability to change at its own will both the laws of human existence and the laws of God. Against this background, we observe a clash of civilizations under the guise of religious and interethnic conflicts, where the world's largest religions are opposed to each other, and, most importantly, the principles of all major religions are opposed to aggressive atheism, with the aim of separating and bringing confusion into public consciousness, in order to justify atrocities and cruelty. Persecution of Christians in Africa and the Middle East is intensifying, and terrible events are taking place in Europe. Lying is becoming the norm in the media and on the lips of politicians and spiritual leaders. It is obvious that spiritual issues, designed to bring reconciliation and pacification to human souls, like a lost immunity, themselves become the cause of innumerable troubles and suffering in the entire society.
Participants of the Meal noted that the role of public and religious organizations involved in peacemaking is seriously increasing. Only together, by uniting, various social movements both within the state and at the international level can help society cope with the conflicts and disagreements that have arisen. In this regard, Andrei Tretyakov, Assistant to the Office of the President of the Russian Federation for Internal Policy, said: “For all - Christians united by Holy Scripture, representatives of other traditional religions of Russia - spirituality should be manifested through selfless social service. All religious organizations should unite around peacemaking. Only in this can the true role of truly spiritual people be manifested. "
In the modern world, it is unacceptable to use religion to multiply enmity and divide entire nations. According to Yaroslav Nilov, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Labor, Social Policy and Veterans' Affairs, "insulting the religious feelings of believers is unacceptable in the modern world, and the state should strive to preserve the peaceful coexistence of people with different confessional views."
The name of God should proclaim in society the unifying principles of creation, mutual understanding, peace and unity. Community leaders called for an exceptionally peaceful solution to any sensitive issue and for tolerance while respecting the basic principles of the scriptures. Turning to God is the only reliable way to extinguish anger, hatred, quarrels, misunderstandings, grievances and political conflicts, the speakers noted. In particular, Andrei Vetluzhskikh, Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the VII convocation, drew attention to the value of the mission of creation: “It is necessary to give people a firm understanding that helping others is highly socially significant, it is important to create a simple and reliable support mechanism for those who want to help, which they trust; at the same time, it is necessary to promote discussions like today's in all regions of Russia.
In his speech, Konstantin Dolgov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, also emphasized the importance of participating in volunteer assistance, especially during a global pandemic: “The primary task of public organizations is to promote social and spiritual service in society. For this, it is necessary to ensure constant support for fundamental spiritual values in Russia, as well as to establish closer communication between civil societies and religious communities in different countries on the basis of the foundations of international law. "
The co-chairman of the KMKK, the Head Bishop Eduard Anatolyevich Grabovenko, in his speech as a clergyman, drew attention to the fact that the key issue in peacemaking is the state of a person and their attitude towards God.
On behalf of the National Spiritual Meal of Russia, the Chairman of the Foundation Andrei Gaydamaka, together with the organizer of prayer breakfasts in the European Parliament Carlton Deal and co-organizer of prayer breakfasts in the US Congress, Todd Hendricks, concluded by proposing to create a joint group of believing politicians, public and religious leaders, businessmen from Russia, and other countries to study the word of the Lord in the spirit and according to the principles of Jesus, in order to establish and expand trusting friendships between them; to work together to reduce tensions between countries; find ways to resolve conflicts in Europe; and peacemaking.