Moscow, March 5, Interfax - Christians were the force that helped the United States and Soviet Union to overcome the political tension of the 20th century, according to Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations.
"In the 20th century, the nuclear arms race was an external global threat to the people of our planet. It is important to say that amidst the standoff between the superpowers that were the USSR and the U.S., it was Christians who built bridges between the two countries and created the conditions and grounds for normalizing relations between the two states," Metropolitan Hilarion said at a meeting with Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
The work of preacher Billy Graham provided a fine example of the joint peacemaking cause with Christians of the Western world, and of attempts to set up constructive ties with the USSR, he said. "He, the pastor and the confessor of many a U.S. president, commanded respect among leaders of many countries," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
This led to Graham's visits to Eastern Europe in the second half of the 20th century, including to the Soviet Union, where he met with its political leaders to discuss religious freedom and set out the fundamental truths of the Gospel, he said. "Striving for openness toward one another in the relations among Churches and Christian communities in the USSR and the U.S. and defending the Gospel's ideals of peace became that common cause which keeps bearing good fruit to this day," the metropolitan said.