Remember that letter that 138 Muslim scholars wrote to Christian leaders (A Common Word), including the Pope? Well Patriarch Alexei II of the Russian Orthodox Church has given an official response. Asia News has the details:
In this letter the Russian patriarch expressed his gratitude for the scholars' initiative. He agreed that Christians and Muslims have similar goals and that they can join forces to achieve these aims.[snip]
"Today Christianity and Islam do a quite important thing—they remind mankind of God's existence and of the spiritual dimension of man and the world," Patriarch Aleksij II wrote.
At the same time '[t]his joining will not happen if there is no clarification in understanding religious values of each other. That is why I greet the striving of the Muslim community to begin sincere and open dialogue with representatives of Christian Churches on a serious scientific and intellectual level," he said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church lamented the fact that the two religions had "enemies" bent on causing "a clash between Christians and Muslims."Now, I don't know who on the Christian side is bent on causing a clash. Perhaps people are responding aggressively ... but bent on causing a clash? Hmm. And with all due respect to His Beatitude, I found this last paragraph a bit disingenuous ...
Finally he stressed that Russia is a "rare multi-religious and multinational state" that can serve as an example for the co-existence between Islam and Christianity.Umm. Can one say ... Chechnya?
Quibbles aside, it's good to hear how various Christian leaders have responded.