Metropolitan Feofan: “The perverted understanding of Islam is extremism”

The Theological Seminary and the Bulgarian Academy have signed an agreement

In Tatarstan, two theological schools — the Kazan Theological Seminary and the Bulgarian Islamic Academy — have signed a cooperation agreement. The solemn ceremony took place on 22 July in the Kazan diocesan administration. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“We are the first”

Two theological schools have signed an agreement on cooperation. It is the Kazan Theological Seminary, which rightly continues the traditions of the Kazan Theological Academy — once one of the most respected in Russia, and the Islamic Academy in Bolgar, Spassky District, Republic of Tatarstan.

The signing took place in the assembly hall of the Kazan diocesan administration. The rector of the educational institution, Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan Feofan, signed an agreement on cooperation on behalf of the Kazan Theological Seminary. On behalf of the Islamic Bulgarian Academy — its rector Daniyar Abdrakhmanov.

After both sides signed, Metropolitan Feofan presented the rector of the Islamic Academy with several copies of the Bible in the Tatar language with the wish that the students of the academy read this important book for the world culture and history of religions with the words: “I hope it will be useful to you.” In turn, Daniyar Abdrakhmanov presented the metropolitan with a book about the Great Bolgar.

The academy in Bolgar was opened after the decree of President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov on 4 November 2015. Photo: Maksim Platonov

When asked by the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya whether similar precedents have been in Russia when theological schools of two different denominations sign an agreement on cooperation, the metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan said that there had been no such precedents and therefore both the Kazan Theological Seminary and the academy in Bolgar are the first, which undoubtedly indicates that interfaith dialogue in Tatarstan is developing productively.

The academy in Bolgar was opened after the decree of President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov dated November 4, 2015. By the same decree, it was decided to recreate the Kazan Cathedral in the territory of the Monastery of the Mother of God in the capital of Tatarstan.

As for the Kazan Theological Seminary, its history begins in 1733, later on its base in Kazan there opened the Theological Academy, which existed before the revolution. By the way, already in 1797, the seminary began to teach the Tatar language. The seminary was revived in 1997, and in 2016 the Department of Islamic Studies was opened.

“Spirituality is where there are traditional values”

Explaining the importance of the agreement on cooperation between the two theological schools, which produce priests, designed to work with the flock, Metropolitan Feofan noted that “spirituality is where there is respect for traditional moral values”.

“The perverted understanding of Islam is extremism. Look at the trouble with ISIS (the organization is banned in Russia — editor’s note). This is our common task, a theological task, we need to explain to people, to educate them. For this, we need to work hard,” said Metropolitan Feofan.

The signing of the agreement on cooperation between the Kazan Theological Seminary and the Islamic Academy in Bolgar is the result of friendship and cooperation between the two important spiritual schools, which initially developed warm relations. Photo: bolgar.academy

According to him, the plans of the two spiritual schools include joint spiritual interviews, research, and perhaps, disputes, they should not be afraid of them because in disputes the truth is born, and people can have completely different opinions. We should be able to listen to the interlocutor.

Joint social and educational activities are going to be developed. “For almost a hundred years, the faith in our people, both in Islam in Orthodoxy, was cruelly stifled. But the Academy in Bolgar, as well as the Kazan Cathedral — it's all the recreation of the spiritual image of our country, our republic,” the metropolitan reminded.

The signing of the agreement on cooperation between the Kazan Theological Seminary and the Islamic Academy in Bolgar is the result of friendship and cooperation between the two important spiritual schools, which initially developed warm relations. Now they are also enshrined in the formal agreement.

By Tatyana Mamaeva