LEGOIDA: GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTERFERE IN CHURCH'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS
RIA Novosti, 15 January 2016
In all its thousand-year history since the time of the baptism of Rus, the Russian Orthodox Church has never been as free from civil authority as it is today, while the authority provides it support "as in any self-respecting state," declared the chairman of the synod's Department for Relations of the Church with Society and News Media, Vladimir Legoida.
"I can declare with all responsibility that today the state does not interfere in the internal affairs of the church. Officials learn about decisions of the synod when I come out after its session and report to journalists about the documents that have been adopted. . .. . Indeed, today the state helps the church in some things. The possibility of studying Orthodox culture alongside other traditional religions has appeared in the schools. The government is helping to restore church buildings and monasteries, the majority of which are monuments of culture. This is how it is done in any self-respecting state. What's bad about that?" Legoida said in an interview with the newspaper Sankt Peterburgskie Vedomosti," which was also published on the website of the synodal department.
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church recalled that a federal law adopted in 2010 regarding the return to religious organizations of property designated for worship "applies to all traditional religions, and it was initiated by the government."
"It has an economic rationale," Legoida said. "The government decided: why maintain as state property buildings that were built as temples, datsans, mosques, or synagogues? It would be better to transfer them to religious organizations." (tr. by PDS, posted 18 January 2016)
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