November 7, 2011

President Dmitry Medvedev Speaks On the Revival of Orthodoxy in Russia

Medvedev: Orthodoxy Is Russia's Guardian of "Indisputable Truths"

November 7, 2011

President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday credited Orthodox Christianity with helping Russia preserve its traditional values and counteract doctrines that "give rise to social strife, hostility, violence, instability in our country, which, unfortunately, actually pervert people's mentalities."

"Valuable and productive trends, very often very doubtable factors find their way into an open society - doubtable ideological constructs, all kinds of rubbish that is essentially destructive," Medvedev said at a meeting with the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and members of the country's Orthodox community.

The country needs "the solidarity of all healthy public forces" to resist such trends, the president said.

"We must find enough energy and will to promote what are traditional values for our country. This is especially important in this complex and rapidly changing world, in the global information space, which creates not only advantages but also very serious challenges. For our country, Orthodoxy is the guardian of such intransient values and indisputable truths," he said.

Orthodoxy "helps tremendous numbers of our people not only to find their place in life but also to understand what would seem to be pretty simple things," Medvedev said.

"For example, such things as what it means to be Russian, what the mission of our people is, what made our nation great and gave it a unique identity in a definite period and what, at some point, gave a lot of trials to our nation and the Orthodox Church," he said.

Revival of Orthodoxy in Russia a Miracle, says Medvedev

November 7, 2011

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken of the fruitfulness of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and government and public institutions and called the revival of Orthodox Christianity in Russian in the past two decades a miracle.

"Speaking of what has happened in these 20 years from the viewpoint of my feelings as an Orthodox Christian, it is simply a miracle. Frankly speaking I could not imagine 15-20 years ago that the revival, the recovery of faith for an enormous number of our compatriots would proceed at such a speed," Medvedev said at a meeting with the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and members of the country's Orthodox community.

He attributed this largely to the efforts of the Patriarch, clergymen and donors and also the attitude of the state.

"Today thanks to our joint efforts, thanks to the efforts of the Holy Patriarch the Church is fruitfully cooperating with government bodies, with public institutions. In the past few years we succeeded with several very important initiatives the need for which had been widely discussed but which had not been implemented for various reasons. I am very glad that these state and Church undertakings did materialize in the past few years," he said.

Medvedev said that he meant primarily the introduction of the foundations of religious culture in the school curricula.

He said that presently the subject is taught at 10,000 schools in 21 regions Russia. Starting with next year the foundations of religious culture will be taught in all Russian schools.

Patriarch Kirill On the Uniqueness of the Orthodox Revival in Russia

November 7, 2011

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that the people has revived in Russia together with the Church in modern times.

"What has happened in the expanses of Holy Rus in 20 years has not happened ever throughout the history of the human race. Not a single country, not a single civilization, not a single religious group, not a single Church has experienced what we have - the magnificent revival of Orthodox Christianity," he said at the opening of an exhibition and forum 'Orthodox Rus' on Friday on the Day of the feast of Our Lady of Kazan icon.

He said that this manifests itself in thousands of restored churches, in hundreds of monasteries, educational institutions, hospices, social centers, schools for adults and children, in collaboration with the Armed Forces and in work in places of confinement.

"In these 20 years not only did the Russian Church revive from the viewpoint of the revival of its monuments, our people revived because churches are never built or restored, if there is no need for them, if there is no powerful movement from grassroots, if these churches are not filled with people," he stressed.

The "Symphony" of Church and State

November 7, 2011

A high-ranking Russian Orthodox Church priest has highly commended President Dmitry Medvedev's meeting with representatives of the Orthodox public, saying that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue its policy of crafting a "symphony" in the relationship between the church and state.

"An important event has occurred at the exhibition and forum - the president has met with representatives of various strata of our Church body for an essential, serious and committed discussion," head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told a roundtable at the 10th exhibition and forum, Orthodox Rus, in Moscow, devoted to the 20th anniversary of the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Father Vsevolod was commenting on President Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia's visit to the exhibition and their subsequent meeting with representatives of the Orthodox public.

It was the first meeting, which was devoid of "pomposity and formal rigor, but was a serious dialogue between the state leader and the Orthodox public," he said.

"In my opinion, the meeting helped the president move closer to the people, make his position clearer to them, and speak his mind and share his innermost feelings with them. The words spoken by the president were heard and appreciated," he said.

It is important, said Father Vsevolod, that the president used the word "symphony" to describe the relationship between the church and state.

"We must not and we will not lay this word aside. We do live in a secular state, which is normal, but our society is largely made of Orthodox Christians. Therefore, the symphony of the church, state and society is a natural thing. It is a relationship within one body, not between things of differing nature - the body that largely belongs at once to the people and to the Church, which is Jesus Christ's body," he said.

A "symphony is as possible, as a Christian policy, economy and culture is possible and needed," Father Vsevolod said.

During the meeting, the president made several statements. He said the values traditional for the state must be further promoted. "The Orthodox Church is the keeper of these values and truths of monumental importance for our state," he said. Medvedev also spoke about the role the Orthodox community is playing in Russia's development, describing it as "people with an extremely powerful inner energy and strong moral values." Hopefully, the state will rely on them, he said.

Medvedev also announced that he would ask the Defense Ministry to increase the corps of military clergy and he supported the idea of expanding theologian culture and secular ethics programs at schools, if the parents do not object.