Moscow has recently hosted the International Forum “Large Family and Future of Humanity”, a large event which has proved Russia’s preoccupation in promoting a pro-life culture and pro-family public policies, but also offered an opportunity for many people in the world to affirm life and consolidate the notion of natural family.
The forum gathered over 1,000 participants from all over the world, from the USA to China and Nigeria, persons who have dedicated their lives to charity, to helping families and sending a positive pro-life message.
In the opening of the event, at the Festival of Large Families, Russian large families presented short performances, exhibiting their talents and popular costumes.
Then the forum was inaugurated by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All of Russia and by Natalia Yakunina, Vice-President of St Andrew-The-First-Called Foundation and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Russian National Program “Sanctity of Motherhood”. In the opening plenary session there were also messages spoken by the Chief Mufti of Russia, Talgat Tadzhuddin (photo below left), by the Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, and Hilarion Alfeyev, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk (photo below right). The ffirst evening ended with a grand concert in the Kremlin Cathedral Square.
Among the notorious names of the international pro-life non-profits participating to the forum were Antonio Brandi, President of ProVita Italia, Theresa Okafor, Director of the African Cultural Heritage Foundation, Patrick Buckley, from British organization SPUC, who is also a UN consultant on issues related to the protection of the unborn child, John-Henri Westen, co-founder of the pro-life news website LifeSiteNews.com, Thomas Ward, President of the National Association of Catholic Families, Ignacio Arsuaga, President of the CitizenGO.org petition platform, Steven Weber, President of Christian Broadcasting Network, Keith Mason, founder of Personhood, the pro-life organization with the most rapid growth in the USA, Theodore Baehr, founder of Movieguide, an organization promoting pro-family and pro-value movies in Hollywood, Christine Vollmer from Venezuela, President of the Latin-American Alliance for Family, Sharon Slater, President of Family Watch International.
There were also scholars from various countries, priests and hierarchs, high officials of the Russian Federation and Iran, right-wing politicians from France and Austria. The Romanian delegation was made of representatives from ProVita Bucuresti, the Centre for Dialogue and Cooperation, a member of the international organization Youth Time, Studenti pentru viata and ProValori Media.
From the political spectrum, Romania was represented by two Members of Parliament: Mr. Dorel Covaci, who is also a member of the ecumenical prayer group of Romania’s Parliament, and Mr. Miron Ignat, Member of Parliament and Member of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy.
The roundtables held in the second day of the forum at the conference center from Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral covered a wide range of topics:
• Pro-family legislation and family policy
• Interdenominational discussion on family
• New life – joy of parents, gift of God
• Youth initiative in support of natural family
• Education and upbringing: from prepared adolescence to family youth
• Pro-family economics, business and family-friendly employment practices
• Social initiatives in family support and prevention of orphanage. Perspectives, problems, methodology
• Family in the world of information
Participants to the forum launched an appeal which states, among other things, the following:
„We, the Participants of the Moscow International Forum “Large Family and Future of Humanity” (September 10-11, 2014), express our profound concern because certain countries are pursuing tenacious policies and an unprecedented propaganda campaign, all of which is leading to the ultimate destruction of the Natural Family – an institution that in a civilized society is the foundation of order, state’s prosperity and social peace.
The preservation of mankind is based on a system of family and kindred ties that are formed through the bonds of marriage between a male and a female and the children born to them. This and only this alone, is capable of ensuring the reproduction, stability and continuity of human civilization. All other kinds of sexual relationships or alliances intentionally that exclude the birth of children are meaningless for they are devoid of the notion set down in the very definition of the word “family.” And no political or economic interests can serve as a pretext for replacing the true and time-tested concept of “family” by any kind of surrogate.
It is precisely this understanding that was set down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations in 1948), as well as in the constitutions of more than 100 countries and reflected in the holy scriptures of various religions. This understanding determines the philosophy and creativity of humanists and thinkers of the past and the contemporary epoch.”
Read the whole final Appeal of the Forum’s participants here.