The Orthodox Church and Secular Elections

Natalya Mihailova | 01 November 2016

The relationship between Orthodox Church and State has always been a delicate matter.

Looking at our own Christian faith, Christ never set up a system of governance, but rather acknowledged that there is Caesar and there is God, and that we owe a different kind of obedience to each.

Political neutrality is the Orthodox Church’s official policy. The Orthodox Church as a religious Institution does not involve in any aspect of the process of secular elections. The Church is a spiritual Mother who unites her children (no matter if they are believers or unbelievers). For this reason the Church cannot belong to any secular political party and the holy canons forbid to an ordained person from holding public office.

Every individual Orthodox Christian is also a citizen of a secular government under which he lives. He has the right to vote or to be elected to a public office. But he does not act on behalf of His Church. He acts as a citizen.

When a citizen, who is also a Christian, votes, his decision must be conscious and deliberate, and the result of prayerful consideration. Every Christian has a compass to guide him in his choice and that compass is his understanding of Christ’s Gospel and how it is lived in the world.

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