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

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 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