August 22, 2009

In Russia They Build and in Greece They Demolish

By Monk Moses the Athonite

August 3, 2009

Through the internet I was sent some news which made an impression on me which I am making available to you with some short comments. Are we [Greeks] more progressive and free than the Russians?

Because in today's Russia the following occurred: Patriarch Kiril of Moscow met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

In this meeting the Patriarch declared that the work of the Church is a continuous offering that is positive and good for the people and the community, which eventually benefits both the Church and the State.

The Prime Minister said that the relationship between the Church and the State are very good these past few years.

The Russian Patriarch continued that the relationship between Church and State and civil community is indeed very well developed, but harder work is needed for greater development.

Very good work is being done among the chaplains of the Russian army. There are Divine Liturgies, lectures and Confessions being done.

There are currently 650 priests in 530 army churches. All the chaplains receive support from those in command.

The Minister of Culture in Russia, Mr. Aleksandr Sokolov, declared to reporters that he thinks the time has come to teach "an introduction to Orthodox Culture" in schools as a part of training, saying that in many vicinities of Russia there is little accumulated experience on this subject.

In the past a Greek bishop visited Moscow and was asked by the agonized Minister of Education in Russia if it is true that the Greek government prefers to abolish religious lessons in the schools.

Now we hear that our Greek schools will offer classes in sexual education and Yoga. What else are we going to hear?

During a recent visit to Moscow by an Athonite abbot there was a meeting with the President of Russia, Mr. Dmitri Medvedev, and he was assured of the deep respect the president has towards the Church.

When meeting with the students of the Theological Academy of Petersburg, he spoke of this, saying: "I must confess that your president astonished me. We spoke for a while. And I saw a man who loves his nation, and loves the Church and clergy."

During my visits to Russia for two gatherings, twenty and thirty years ago, I noticed a religious rebirth, the rebuilding of new churches, the restoration of old monasteries and churches, a conscious reception by the young in the Mysteries of the Church, and so forth.

I'm not saying that all in Russia is roses and perfect. I'm not saying that problems don't exist.

We do not agree with the profane view and beyond inappropriate idea of a Third Rome. Constantinople is not a Second Rome, but the New Rome. But in Russia there is respect and there is sincere discussion on the true light of Orthodoxy.

In Russia they are building and in Greece they are demolishing. Greece is more progressive and modern. They want to abolish lessons in religion, prayer in schools, and the separation of Church and State. To de-sanctify everything. For freedom to not respect or honor anything. To shame all the clergy and monks. To bring down the Holy Mountain. To disrespect the Church. It's a shame that for the mistakes of a select few, that laws, authorities, personages, traditions, and ancient values will be leveled.