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January 30, 2010

Orthodox Should Not Split Church and Secular Life

Moscow Patriarchate urges Orthodox Believers to Identify Themselves as Majority Church

Moscow, 29 January 2010, Interfax – A Renowned Priest urged Orthodox Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussia and Moldavians not to be afraid of feeling themselves a majority in their countries and follow Orthodox norms of life in all its sphere.

“You shouldn’t be afraid of making it your mission: if we make a majority in our own countries – representatives of Belorussia, Ukraine, Moldova are present here – then we have full authority to make our moral principles, our vision of the present and the future determinative in the spheres of society and state we work in,” head of the Synodal Department for Church-Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said.

Speaking at the Christmas Readings in Moscow, he urged “to change our identity so that Orthodox Christians, first of all, lay people should find their place in the spheres of state and social life they work in, they should not be people who are Christians just on Sundays and feasts, and on all other days, all other time people living in compliance with other laws, laws of this world, but they should become a live and acting community of people behaving like Orthodox Christians in an Orthodox country.”

According to the priest, this division, partly dictated by the Soviet period and partly by new apologists of secularism, is “very strange for a Christian,” as “if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand,” Fr. Vsevolod said.

“A person can’t divide himself or herself as a church being and a social being. A society, no matter if it is a local community or people of the country, can’t divide its spiritual and the so-called secular life,” Fr. Vsevolod went on to say.

He believes “Orthodox Christians have a conciliar, joint social mission, which they can carry out working in various fields, but coordinating, uniting their efforts as Orthodox Christians, positively influencing on different spheres of social and state life.”