07.05.2008, [11:21] // Foreign relations // RISU.ORG.UA

Kyiv— Head of the State Committee on Matters of Nationalities and Religions (SCMNR) Aleksandr Sagan met with the US Ambassador to Ukraine William Tailor on 5 May 2008 in Kyiv to discuss religious issues in Ukraine. The representatives addressed questions pertaining to freedom of worship and confession, restitution of religious buildings, activity of migration service bodies, how to best combat xenophobia, racial intolerance and antisemitism, and implementation of an ethnic-national policy. According to the SCMNR press service, Sagan updated Tailor on the committee's support of the idea of establishing a migration service as a central body of the executive power. According to Sagan, this would make the positive experience of European migration service bodies available to help solve urgent problems such as creating new jobs for migrants, particularly in law.

Tailor was particularly attentive to the question of xenophobia, racial intolerance and antisemitism, an issue to which, Sagan agreed, state authorities pay insufficient attention in terms of promoting tolerance among Ukrainian youth. However, Sagan also noted that the SCMNR held the first meeting of the inter-departmental team on matters of combating xenophobia, ethnic and racial intolerance on 17 April 2008. This organizational meeting was attended by representatives Ukraine's Ministries of Justice, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Education and Science, as well as scholars, experts, representatives of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and other interested institutions and public organizations.

The SCMNR head suggested that it is necessary to hold tolerance seminars in Ukrainian schools, in kindergarten and higher education institutions alike.

Sagan later stressed the work of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, especially with regards to combating the AIDS epidemic in Ukraine and raising social morale through the Church and religious organizations.

In closing, the US Ambassador expressed his high regard for the efforts of the SCMNR in ensuring citizens' constitutional right to religious freedom.


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica