Moscow plays host to a session of the World Council of Russian People, a union of public organisations established in 1993 on the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church. The topic of discussions at the session is "Russia: Religion and Civilisation. Dialogue of Epochs." When opening the session, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II called on all the participants in the forum to debate the most urgent problems currently facing the world. "The Church and nation are one single whole again, and we are discussing together our vital problems," said Alexiy II. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church underlined that "Russia is destined to take part in solving problems facing the whole of mankind... We feel ourselves as a bridge between the East and the West". The Council will also be addressed by some deputies of the State Duma, representatives of Russia's traditional religions, science and culture.