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On June 27, 2019, with a blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations (DECR), the Interreligious Working Group for Humanitarian Aid to the Syrian Population under the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations held its 8th meeting at the DECR grand hall.

The meeting was attended by Hieromonk Stephan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations – the leader of the group; S. Melnikov, executive secretary of the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations; Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov), representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East; Ildar-hazrat Ziganshin, member of the Central Muslim Board Presidium and imam-mutahsib of the Tyumen Region; Mufti Albir Krganov, chairman of the Moslem Assembly in Russia; Salih-Hazrat Ibragimov, Imam-mutahsib of the Nizhnekamsky region, Tatarstan; Rev. Igor Kowalewski, general secretary, Conference of the Catholic Bishops in Russia; K. V. Bendas, first deputy of the Presiding Bishop and chancellor of the Russian Union of Christians of the Evangelical Faith; O. Yu. Goncharov, first deputy head of the Euro-Asian Division of the General Conference of the Church of the Seventh-Day Adventists; Hieromonk Ermogen (Korchukov), executive secretary of the Interreligious Foundation for Promoting Joint Humanitarian Projects; Imam M. Nirsayanov, head of the international department of the Moslem Assembly in Russia; Ms. A. Ugleva, expert in external and international communications, Russian Union of the Christians of Evangelical faith (Pentecostals); Ms. M. Nelyubova and F. Champion, DECR.

The meeting summed up the work the Working Group carried out in the first half of 2019. Special note was made of the trip made by the Interreligious Working Group delegation to Damascus on March 30-31, 2019. They handed over to Syrians in need another consignment of humanitarian aid consisting of one thousand boxes with high-quality basic foodstuff.

The meeting also discussed the implementation of a project for the restoration of a school in Damascus, noting that the restoration work was carried out according to the previously approved plan.

The Working Group heard a report on the work carried out by the Interreligious Foundation for Promoting Joint Humanitarian Projects in the first half of the year 2019 and approved a further work plan for 2019. It was agreed that the religious communities in Russia should continue raising funds for purchasing humanitarian aid and its joint delivery to Syria.


DECR Communication Service