London, October 19, 2016
Warfare on terrorism is a holy war which should be a common cause for all countries, not only Russia, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said on Tuesday.
"I regret that my words were interpreted in a wrong way. I have never spoken about any holy war in Syria. I spoke about a holy war on terrorism. I think these words can be shared by many victims of terrorism in Europe. Suffice it to remember all that has recently happened in France, in Belgium," he told a news conference in London’s Luton airport before flying back to Russia.
By defending our near and dear, our countries and peoples from terrorism we defend the holy gift of life terrorists are encroaching on, Patriarch Kirill stressed.
"My words should not be taken in a political sense. But I am strongly convinced that participation of nations and states in certain military actions can be called that way," he said when asked about his opinion of the military operation in Syria.
He reminded that the war against Nazism was also called a holy war. "We use these words in our songs to glorify heroism of our soldiers of the Great Patriotic War, of World War Two," he said, adding the war on Nazism was a holy war because people defended their lives, independence, their future.
"In this sense, today’s war on terrorism should be a common cause. It is not only Russia’s concern, it a concern of all countries and we must get united to exterminate this evil. That is why I call this was holy," he stressed.
Visit to London
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said he felt no animosity towards Russia while in London, the atmosphere of his visit was very warm and kind.
"I felt no enmity, I did not feel it," he told a news conference in London’s Luton airport before flying back to Russia. "I assure you that the people I met were not really Russia’s friends. Those were just Britons who have an interest in the patriarch’s visit. I felt a very warm and kind atmosphere," Patriarch Kirill said.
According to the patriarch, the current political points of contention between Russia and the UK, in spite of their importance, cannot shake relations between the two countries "at a deep level, at the level of people’s consciousness."
"Why so? Because the tradition of our bilateral relations goes back centuries. It includes dynastic marriages, joint fight against a common enemy and cultural exchanges," the patriarch said.
"I believe I was able to feel the signal coming from the British society and people, and I was happy about it," he noted, adding that the church "fully supports all positive things that exist in relations between peoples, trying to reconcile people."
Patriarch Kirill’s visit to Britain that took place on October 15-18 was timed to the 300th anniversary of the Russian Church’s presence on the British Isles.