March 11, 2011

Patriarch Kirill: Church Must Not Be A Political Power

March 10, 2011

It is wrong for a Christian Church to be a political power, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has argued.

"The church must have no political means of exercising an influence on those in authority," Patriarch Kirill said in answering letters from televiewers in the "Pastor's Word" program on Russia's First Channel television.

The church "loses public confidence" if it becomes a political player.

"The church only has one way to influence the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, the educated and the simple-minded - to preach God's word," Kirill said.

He said there are many believers in government in Russia.

"They are part of our laity, our flock. A sincerely religious person must follow what the church teaches and, whenever possible of course, put into practice the sublime values of Christian ethics in their professional and other activities," the patriarch said.

He expressed the desire that the Church should never "be tempted to replace its spiritual influence upon its people, including the powerful and the powerless, by the use of secular, political power for achieving its goals."

"The church has been able to evade such temptations throughout its history. We hope it will be able to today as well," he said.