Separation of Church & state to remain intact – Russian Patriarch

admin | 25 November 2013
Photo: RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi

Photo: RIA Novosti/Aleksey Nikolskyi

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has rejected allegations of a possible official union between his institution and the state, adding that only an independent Church can preach successfully.

The Church is protecting its own freedom because it is sure  that only its independence gives her an opportunity to be a  fully-fledged spiritual authority. Any form of merger between the  state and the Church is dangerous for God’s cause. A sermon  sounds loud and convincing only when it is delivered by a free  church,” Patriarch Kirill said in an interview with the  Smolenskiye Novosti newspaper.

The patriarch reminded that the internal regulations of the  Russian Orthodox Church strictly forbid the clergy from assuming  any powers among secular authorities. The state, in turn, has no  direct leverage to influence the church’s policies, he added.

Russia’s top cleric noted that the repressions against the Church  that took place in Soviet Russia in the first half of the 20th  century were largely a result of “the enslavement of the  church by the state,” possibly hinting at the exclusive part  the Russian Orthodox Church played during in the Russian Empire.

On the other hand, he said that the country was still  experiencing the consequences of adopting atheism as its official  ideology in Soviet times.

To cure the spiritual wound inflicted by the godlessness we  all must help the people to walk the path of the spiritual  revival. I believe that the Lord is with us on this way,”   Patriarch Kirill told the newspaper.

In addition, the Patriarch explained that the Church was not  pursuing an objective of influencing state policies, but only  attempts to address the community and every person individually.  The goal of the clerics is “to deliver a spiritual axiom that  life without God is meaningless and useless.”

Less than a week before the interview senior Russian MP Elena  Mizulina suggested including a preamble on the exclusive  role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Constitution. The  move gained support from MPs representing major parliamentary  caucuses, including parliamentary majority party United Russia  and the Communists.

The public discussions about the strengthening ties between the  Church and the state in Russia have become especially vocal after  the introduction of the law on the protection of believers’   feelings. The law, signed into force in July this year, makes  deliberate and public insults aimed at religious sentiments, as  well as the desecration of holy sites, a criminal offence  punishable by up to three years in prison.

The arguments soon drew attention to numerous scandals involving  Russian clergy whom the mass media accused of living a life full  of excesses and using the officials’ protection in various  problems.

The Patriarch called all such reports “a concentrated attack against the Church” in  a public speech, but did not directly name those who were behind  it.

Source: RT

 

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