Home page News
Patriarch Kirill’s letter to Council o…

Patriarch Kirill’s letter to Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent the following letter to the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland:

Dear Mr. Jagland,

Kindly accept my cordial congratulations on your election to the important post of Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Your long-standing experience of state governance and diplomatic work is a guarantee of successful leadership over one of the oldest all-European organizations.

This year the Council of Europe is marking its 60th anniversary. Both in member countries and the Council itself this event has become an occasion for serious reflections on the contents of its work in the present and prospects in the future.

We are convinced of the need to do all that is possible to protect human dignity, freedom and rights in today’s world. This conviction grows from the essence of Christian faith, the entire history of the Church and especially from the tragic experience of the last century as it witnessed the appearance of thousands of new martyrs and confessors who became victims to the atheistic persecution.

In recent years, the Russian Orthodox Church has exerted every effort to grasp the secular concept of human rights and to see it in the light of the Christian teaching of the human beings and their God-given dignity. As a result of these efforts, the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted in 2008 a document on Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights. We hope that the Council of Europe will treat this document with all possible seriousness as it is addressed to all those who are not indifferent to human rights and dignity.

It is a matter of concern that morality is emasculated in the theory of human rights, while interdependence of moral principles and human rights is not put into question by the authors of the concept, which is reflected in universal and European documents.

It is our conviction that neglect of moral aspects in implementing human rights threatens to undermine the very concept of rights and freedoms which has become one of the achievements of modern history. It is important that this should be taken into account in discussing prospects for developing the practice of the European Court, one of the basic institutions of the Council of Europe, which has adopted a great deal of decisions aimed to protect the dignity of particular persons.

At the same time, in our view the Court in its work has sometimes used unilaterally particular interpretations of individual rights at the expense of collective rights of traditional religious organizations rooted in the history and culture of European nations. This fact points to the need for a serious discussion on problems where the secular law enters the field of canon law and age-honoured moral and spiritual traditions of European nations.

We are gratified to make special mention of the cooperation between the Council of Europe and European religious communities, which has been maintained in recent years for promoting and developing inter-cultural dialogue. While appreciating the initial experience of this cooperation, we expect its agenda to be broadened and deepened.

The visit made to Strasbourg by our late predecessor, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, and his meetings with the Council’s leaders and his address to the Parliamentary Assembly have become a visible landmark in direct relations between the Council of Europe and the Russian Orthodox Church. This event noted by all the European community became a testimony to the good will and openness to dialogue and cooperation on the part of both the Council of Europe and the largest Orthodox Church in Europe.

We hope that the Council of Europe will intensify its efforts to realize the repeated proposal for setting up instruments for continued systemic cooperation between the Council of European and religious communities representing major European religious traditions.

On our part, for this very purpose the Holy Synod of our Church established in 2004 a special Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Strasbourg. At present it is directed by Hegumen Philaret Bulekov who is authorized to present the position of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Council of Europe. I hope that our Representative will have an opportunity to maintain close and kindly cooperation with you.

From my heart I wish you moral and physical strength in your new lofty service for the benefit of European nations.


+ Kirill,

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

Patriarch Kirill congratulates Metropolitan Porfirije on his election to the Serbian Patriarchal See


Patriarch Kirill presented with Serbian highest national award


Supreme Church Council holds first online session


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral marking 12th anniversary of his enthronement


Congratulations from the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada on the anniversary of his enthronement


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea


Patriarch Kirill Gives Christmas Interview to Rossia TV


Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia


Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to take place in November 2021


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs Holy Synod’s last session in 2020


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Primate of Orthodox Church in America hold telephone conversation


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill congratulates Joseph Biden on his election as President of the United States of America


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s address at the session of the Holy Synod held on 8th December 2020


Holy Synod takes a number of decisions concerning external relations of the Russian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion: At the heart of dialogue with the Catholic Church is the situation of Christians in the Middle East, culture and charity work.


Metropolitan Hilarion: Western human rights lawyers prefer to remain silent on the seizure of church buildings in Ukraine


Metropolitan Hilarion: Brotherly relations between the Russian and Serbian Churches will remain with the new Serbian Patriarch


Metropolitan Hilarion spoke at an online seminar of the International Hellenic University


"Freedom and Responsibility as Viewed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill". Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (International Hellenic University online seminar, 16th February 2021)


Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Holy See discuss cooperation in cultural and social spheres


Christian response to the pandemic challenge discussed at online-conference


Supreme Church Council holds first online session


Online conference «The Church and the Pandemic» will be held on February 12


Metropolitan Hilarion on the Annulment of Anti-Church Provisions in Montenegro’s Laws


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk expressed his condolences on the death of Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, one of the oldest clerics of the Orthodox Church in America


Metropolitan Hilarion: Restoration of unity in our common Orthodox family is possible only through the denial of false ecclesiology


Metropolitan Hilarion: Most Christians who lived in Iraq have had to leave that land


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk gave an online lecture for the Theological Institute of St. John of Damascus, Balamand University


Metropolitan Hilarion considers it blasphemous to use LGBT symbols together with Christian ones


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins


Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life


On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America


Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people


Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God


Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God


Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible


Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people


Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us


Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation


Metropolitan Hilarion: God is willing to give everyone a wonderful gift of faith, but people must be willing to accept it


Metropolitan Hilarion: We should be mindful of the value of human life


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates liturgy at Church of Antioch’s Moscow Representation on its patron saint’s day


Metropolitan Hilarion: For Orthodox Christians Hagia Sophia will always remain a church dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ



Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message