The Patriarch of Moscow delivers an important address in the Second African-Russian Summit in July 2023

On the 27th of July 2023, the Second Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum held a plenary session in St. Petersburg within the framework of the Second Russia–Africa Summit. The session presidium included, among four leaders, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. He delivered an address to seventeen African presidents. In his speech, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church focused on various topical issues of Russia-Africa relations and the Russian Orthodox Church’s mission on the African continent.

In his address, Kirill, 76 years old, gave his African listeners the conservative and anti-Western message that many of their people share. He denounced “moral relativism, the cult of profit and consumption, freedom misinterpreted as all-permissiveness, a threat of destruction facing the institution of the traditional family. These are just a few of the adversities we face because of the system of values, or rather anti-values, imposed by certain forces in the West, for their adoption inevitably leads to humanity’s cultural and spiritual degradation.” That included “same-sex marriage, euthanasia and other sinful doings,” he said. “Our stance on these matters is what brings us closer together. … We … are always happy to meet with those who share our ideas.”

HH pinpointed the persecution against Christians in Africa and also appealed to leaders to do needed with their power. “Inciting interfaith enmity is another felonious instrument used in today’s politics. It grieves to point out that such phenomena have become dangerously widespread on the African continent. Unfortunately, it is Christians who are being subjected to the most severe persecution. Taking this opportunity, as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, I earnestly and with a heavy heart appeal to all those who have the means and real authority to influence this tragic situation, urging them to do everything within their power to defend persecuted Christians in Africa”.

Later that day, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visited a stand of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa at the Summit’s venue. Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, provided necessary information to His Holiness about exhibits on display. His Holiness Patriarch Kirill saw a photo exhibition telling about various memorable moments in the life of the Exarchate, as well as a model of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Religious and Educational Complex to be built in Kampala, capital of Uganda. 

The Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa, established by the decision of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 29th December 2021, consists of the North Africa and Southern Africa dioceses. For one and a half years, the Exarchate has opened over 200 parishes in 25 African countries. Unfortunately, this development creates a regrettable competition between the patriarchate of Moscow and the legitimate patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa that is traditionally the responsible orthodox church of the African continent. It comes in the context of the Ukrainian war and the internal schism of the Romaian Orthodox Church of Ukraine where two parallel structures have been instituted, one depending of the Church of Moscow and the other claiming independence and recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Orthodox churches.

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