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A Vision in Siberia of Lasting Interreligious Harmony

Novosibirsk, Russia - During the first UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, a meeting on the theme of "Love of God and your neighbor as the foundation of world peace" took place in the center of Russia on February 6. There were altogether about 40 participants: leaders and representatives of various NGOs, religions, traditions, and beliefs. The event for strengthening interreligious dialogue was held in the educational center of the Novosibirsk Office of the World Spiritual University Brakhmakumaris.

Among the organizations participating in the interreligious meeting were the Unification Church, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Church of Scientology, International Scientific School of Universology, and Novosibirsk Model UN.

The meeting opened with a video "Creating the family of faith," followed by a minute of silence in commemoration of the victims of atheistic regimes. Thereafter, followers of different faiths and NGO representatives participated in an invocation, calling people to unite in love, harmony, and beauty, contemplate God, and serve him and humanity.

The audience was greeted with welcoming words. “Let the light illuminate heaven! Let its warmth guard us against all misfortune! Let it wipe out the mist for us to see each other clearly. Let egotism vanish so we can see each person as our neighbor and a member of our family. Let the flame of this candle help our hearts focus always upwards, towards Heaven. The world needs light that will be shed by each of us.”

In conclusion of the opening ceremony, the choir of the Unification Church sang the song “We Are One Family.”

At the plenary session, the participants listened to the report of Dmitry Oficerov, coordinator of the Universal Peace Federation, Siberian chapter, on “UN Interfaith Council: 10th anniversary of the UPF project.”

“We should constantly keep on reminding people that within UN one very important body is missing – an interreligious assembly uniting prominent leaders in the spheres of religion, culture, and education aimed at teaching people the ideals of universal peace and security. We should establish in Novosibirsk a council to interreligious harmony.”

Borisenko Marina, a follower of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, said: "Vedic culture calls upon people to love God, and as the God is One we are learning united love; we all live in one and the same world, study the same universal laws and feel that it is uniting us. Is it possible to love God and feel no love for other people, followers of different religions, and no love for yourself? A rebirth of spirituality means that one should first look into himself and understand himself, because all religions teach that to come to God one has to start by perfecting himself."

During the program the participants delivered prayers and cited quotation from their teachings: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Baha’i. Tatyana Nikonova, Secretary General of the Novosibirsk Model UN, said, "Future diplomats need to honestly study different cultures and religions; it’ll help them to solve the most difficult problems on the way towards security and human development."

Gorbunova Tatyana, chairperson of the public organization "Universology," said: "I am happy to meet here people who desire for interfaith harmony We need to be mutually complementary. Each has his own mission and this is what makes us alike. Universology helps us to form a systematic world view and comprehend the program that Father-God has put into us. Still, we have to overcome stereotypes and to realize it we must meet each other, learn from each other, enrich each other and change for the better.

Arthur Kukhar, leader of the Unification Church in Novosibirsk, said: “God created human beings to live in love and harmony, because He as the Parent wishes His children to live in peace. In the family we learn different types of love: children’s, brother-and-sister’s, conjugal and parents’ love. If we accept as the basic that humanity is one family, just think; is it possible that children would need a visa to meet their mother? From God’s viewpoint, all religions are His children and each religion is unique. True, in the family we are not trying to change the character of some family member; we are learning to live together. Religions must also learn to live together. Let us multiply harmony!”

Zakharova Yulia, leader of the Novosibirsk Scientology Church, said: “Scientology Church accepts all religious teachings, therefore, its principles could be used and in fact are used by followers of all religions for improving various difficult life situations and reaching the goal of their religion – bring goodness, compassion and mutual respect into the world. Civilization without desperation, crime and war, wherein the capable can prosper the honest is guaranteed his rights, and a human being could rise to the highest level – these are the goals of Scientology”.

In conclusion, the ceremony of handing the diploma to the director of the Brakhmakumaris mission in Novosibirsk, Margarita Vladovskaya took place. She said: “What is it that unites us? We are united by desire to be healthy, happy and feel love. Also, we all want to live in the bright, beautiful and clean world. What should be our consciousness? It should be brotherly and based on love. Now there are no barriers between us. Can you feel the harmonious atmosphere that we have created? It took us only two hours!” In token of peace and harmony she suggested all the participants exchange between them burning candles and clear glances. It was the final touch of uniting the participants and bringing them yet closer together, as a proof that it is possible to create interreligious harmony if we try enough! We hope for cooperation.

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