Orthodox priests in the North Caucasus decided to learn the basics of Islam

MOSCOW, 12 APR — RIA Novosti. Archbishop Theophylact of Pyatigorsk and Cherkessk study said by priests the basics of Islam a necessary condition for the formation of inter-religious dialogue, said on Wednesday the diocesan press service.

In the Spassky Cathedral of Pyatigorsk held a meeting of heads of departments of the missionary dioceses of the southern and North Caucasus Federal districts. As explained in the press service of the Pyatigorsk and Circassian diocese, such meetings are of the Synodal missionary Department of the Russian Church regularly.

Speaking at the forum, “Archbishop Theophylact drew attention to a number of features of the mission in the North Caucasus have pointed to the need for interreligious dialogue, knowledge of religious traditions of neighboring peoples, citing examples of priests who have studied the Islamic religious tradition,” the statement reads.

The Hierarch also reminded about the ancient history of Christianity in the Caucasus and its influence on the formation of traditions of the peoples of the region. “Along with the Kiev baptismal font, we must remember the ancient Caucasian font in which were baptized almost all the local people about the Christian tradition, traces of which are still alive in their traditions, customs, languages and culture,” — said the Archbishop.

He is convinced that this tradition provides “a solid Foundation for understanding of Christianity in the North Caucasus as an indigenous religion, of which there are more than a thousand years.”

Christianity began to spread in the Caucasus from the first century through the writings of the apostles Andrew and Simon the zealot. From the black sea Greek colony it came into the environment inhabited North Caucasus Circassians and Circassians. In 858, Emperor Michael III sent to Khazaria to the preaching of the gospel of St. Cyril and Methodius. On the way from Byzantium to the Khazar Khaganate, they visited the North Caucasus, their preaching contributed to the emergence of numerous Christian communities.