Patriarch Kirill addressed the delegates at the World Youth Festival in Sirius

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On March 2, 2024, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia visited the World Youth Festival, held on the federal territory of Sirius in the Krasnodar Territory. His Holiness visited the festival grounds and met with the participants.

When I heard the words "great man" now, I was confused, because the concept of "great man" is very relative. Everyone is great. Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. The Lord gives talents to everyone, but greatness or, conversely, the absence of any magnitude in life depends on which way we go. Strictly speaking, the Church appeals to people precisely so that everyone, remaining free and not feeling any pressure, driven solely by the voice of conscience, chooses the right path in life; this is the message of the Church to the world. This is my reaction to what I have just heard, and now let me share my thoughts on the World Youth Forum.
The Black Sea coast is consecrated by the works of many preachers of the first centuries of Christianity. The Christianization of our country began precisely on the shores of the Black Sea: the first preachers sailed here, the foundations of Christian civilization were created here. And for us, and, I think, especially for young people, it is important that those who preached the word of God at that time, who came to an unknown land, who risked their lives, were young people, there were no old people among them. That is, in a sense, the missionaries corresponded in age to the participants of the youth forum - someone, maybe, older, someone younger. And now imagine being landed on some shore and being told: go, pass on your knowledge, your experience, your worldview to people you don't know anything about, who, quite likely, won't warmly welcome you. That's how our first missionaries, the apostles of the Russian land, began their ministry on our land. They traveled to all corners of the world in order to — no less! — change the world. Estimate the scale of the task! So that the world knows that the power of evil has been put to an end, that it no longer determines a person's personal life and human history, that a person is given freedom and if he lives with God, then this freedom becomes indestructible and he is able to carry out the high mission to which the Lord has called him.
Thus began a new page in the history of mankind. The world has learned the good news, and having emerged from the darkness of ignorance and idolatry, it has gained the opportunity to include in its life the highest spiritual and moral values that were brought by the Savior.
Christianity is the faith of people whose soul makes efforts for the sake of achievement and aspires to the future. Please pay attention to this: Christianity is facing the future. In theological language, we call this eschatology, and some believe that we are talking about the end of the world. Yes, about the end of the world, but not only about it, because a lot depends on how we will live, how we will behave, what values we will share. After all, the end of the world is, according to the Apocalypse, nothing more than the total domination of evil. And who is the Antichrist? This is the personification of absolute evil. And now the question arises: can absolute evil acquire a global scale and affect the entire human race? This is possible only when people engage in a terrible strategy of global evil and strengthen and expand evil with their personal, family, social, and political lives. When we talk about the freedom of every human being, man and woman, we cannot but talk about concepts such as forgiveness and love. And if there was no forgiveness and love, then, of course, the end of the world would have come long ago.
Now let me say a few words about my personal experience. During my life, I had to communicate a lot with young people. Firstly, I became rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy at a very early age. It was an unprecedented case — I was 28 years old at the time. I had already been working for several years in one of the international organizations in Geneva, when Metropolitan Nicodemus, my spiritual father, summoned me to Leningrad at that time and, one might say, appointed me to this position. You can imagine: I am 28 years old, and I have to come to the academy not as yesterday's student, but as rector and head — to my professors, the most worthy, educated people. It was a huge test, emotional and moral, and it was very difficult for me to take the first steps. But very soon everything changed, and in the person of distinguished professors, very erudite, highly cultured people, I found support.
And then, quite unexpectedly, I was transferred from St. Petersburg, then Leningrad, from the position of rector to the Smolensk department, at that time almost the poorest. Of course, it was the secular authorities who decided to remove me from Leningrad. One of the high-ranking officials, once visiting the city on the Neva, said: "And this man gathers such youth audiences in a five-minute walk from Nevsky Prospekt, in the city of three revolutions?! As a result, I ended up in Smolensk, but I thank God for this, because contact with the outback, with folk life, with our Russian Non-Chernozem region, which at that time meant both off-road and poverty, helped me realize very much that there is a pastoral ministry. First of all, it is serving those people who need it. The pastor is called to give what is necessary for the fullness of spiritual life, and a synonym for the fullness of life is happiness.
Today we talk a lot about the importance of traditional values, and I would also like to say a few words on this topic. What are traditional values? Of course, this is not archaic and not a world without phones and computers, not at all! I would say it is rather an instruction on how to preserve human vitality in a high-tech, but losing its humanism modern civilization. If you do not read the instructions for it before using any complex device, then the device can easily be broken and you will have to throw it into a landfill. And without knowing what traditional values are, how much they can be actualized, incorporated into consciousness and life practice, it is very difficult to operate with these concepts, especially to talk about them to other people.
After the revolution of 1917, an attempt was made in our country to reset our history, to abolish faith in God, to demolish monuments that awakened people's imagination, posed vital questions to them that did not fit into the framework of the new ideology. Nothing should have reminded of the possibility of an alternative path other than that indicated by the new government. It is known how many churches were demolished, how many monasteries were closed, how many cultural values associated with our spiritual tradition were destroyed. Perhaps we were destined to walk this path in order to testify today about its perniciousness and navigate difficult life problems, sifting the wheat from the chaff.
Returning to what I just said: when a person is inspired from infancy or from school age with a certain ideology that does not correspond to our spiritual and cultural traditions, it is not just a delusion. For example, when a boy gets it into his head that he is not a boy at all, but a girl, and the girl is the opposite. And in order for the child to understand that this needs to be learned, please, the appropriate cartoons in which gender ideology is imposed. And before our eyes, it seems to me, the undermining is taking place, and if we talk about some societies, then the destruction of the basic moral values on which human civilization was created.
The rejection of traditional values is becoming mainstream, or rather, the main stream of historical development. The question we all face is: what should we do? The answer is simple: choose for yourself, including each of you, my dear ones. You are young people, you need to live, you need to make this choice, and I sincerely recommend that you make it right. To make it in favor of those foundations on which our millennial Russian civilization existed and still exists. And one of these foundations is the Orthodox faith. If we turn to an audience where there are both Muslims and people of other religions, then, at least, we must say that the axiology, the value system that is associated with the spiritual life of a person is not thrown overboard.
This will be a guarantee that, firstly, we will not turn into people without a family and tribe, and most importantly, we will never be the object of manipulation, including using powerful means of modern propaganda.

Another problem that needs to be discussed today is the complication of international relations. Today, military conflicts are really escalating, and the role of the strong, that is, those with destructive weapons, is increasing. And perhaps the most dangerous thing is that goal—setting is not viable for many strong people. Unfortunately, they do not understand this — ideological blinders and all sorts of chatter about pseudo-values get in the way.
How much is said about human rights, which have become a kind of fetish! And if you dig? Where human rights are most talked about, are they respected? The first time I asked this question was when I found myself on the New York subway. It's a scary experience, especially when the train goes through Harlem and you are warned not to get off at these stops. And what is it? At best, they will be robbed, and at worst, they will be thrown under the train. And this is in the center of a thriving city! And we went a little north, crossed the East River - there are already other areas where rich people live…
When we talk about values, depriving this concept of a moral dimension, what are we talking about? About material values? Cultural? But they also lose their vitality, being cut off from morality and the moral principle. It seems to me that in our time it is necessary to strengthen, in a sense, update, the practice of peacekeeping. Our country has always advocated and stands for peace, and today it should by no means abandon this mission, because the threat of military conflicts is undoubtedly increasing. But in this struggle for peace, we must necessarily include a value orientation that appeals to the very values that I have just mentioned. There can be no real world when the world is so fragmented, when there is no agreement on values, when the utilitarian approach destroys any prospect of orientation of the individual towards genuine, enduring values.
Therefore, if we are talking about peacemaking, we must be ready to bring new ways of interaction between people to the struggle for peace. There is such a concept as "horizontal ties", but I would add important concepts of like-mindedness and trust to it. We need to work horizontally, aimed at expanding the family of those who are with us, who sympathize with us, who think like us, despite all the differences — cultural, intellectual, linguistic, and so on.
It seems to me that the current meeting is, in a sense, on the way to creating such a consensus, so that we update the very idea and practice of what is commonly called peacemaking. There can be no peace without unanimity, there can be no peace without justice. A world without justice is very possibly a form of slavery. The world, under the cover of which lawlessness is being created, people are suffering, is not peace, it is slavery.
But the formation of a worldview begins with the family. It is in the family that the value system is laid down. But, unfortunately, today the family is under attack by powerful propaganda forces. No one directly says that family is bad, but adultery is becoming almost the norm of life; cinema, literature promote the destruction of the integrity of the human personality.
If we want to be happy in life, we must definitely be whole. In no case should you destroy your inner integrity. And integrity is formed by moral principles. We can't be strong if we don't love our homeland. We cannot be strong if we do not live in peace with parents and children. We can't be strong if we destroy our family — it's all interconnected. And well-being is also connected with the concept of "strength", because a strong person is able to form well-being for himself and for his family. And it is quite obvious that all these concepts can and should be embedded in families.
Unfortunately, today many people are afraid to start a family, they are afraid to have children, saying: I still have to live, I still — forgive me for the vulgar word — have not walked enough. And then how will you integrate yourself into the family system? You'll be bored! You'll live for a year, and then the search will begin again… But it is in the relationship between husband and wife that the skills of love are brought up — family people will say this better than I do — as well as the skills of patience, the ability to listen, respect each other, and be ready to compromise. Sometimes they talk about a husband or wife: he or she has a firm character. And what does this mean in a family relationship? A firm character precludes the ability to compromise. So, you need to remember that the ability to listen to another and meet him halfway, stepping on the throat of your own song, is the ability to maintain family relations. Love and sacrifice are almost synonymous, and the Lord showed us this on the cross. Moved by love, He ascended the cross and suffered. Therefore, if you love a person, you must definitely sacrifice something for him, otherwise there will be no stone left unturned from love.
Well, if we really destroy the traditional family, which is what the so—called modern culture, films, and materials from the Internet push every person to do, then the world - I will say loud but obvious words — will remain without a future. Because it is the family that produces this future — both physiologically, spiritually, and in terms of education. And if humanity becomes a society of egoists living only for themselves, this will be the end of human civilization. After all, selfishness excludes joint actions, excludes such concepts as love and friendship, that is, that system of human interaction, those bonds that form human society and on which, among other things, the existence of the state depends.
So young people are called upon to use their strength and abilities to change the world for the better. And the older generation is called upon to participate in this matter and support the youth.
I invoke God's blessing on all of you and thank you for your attention.

According to the materials of the press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

 

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