Kremlin council monitors religious scene at home and abroad


RIA Novosti, 13 May 2016


Participants in the Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations under the Russian president are concerned by attempts on the legislative level to restrict the activity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UPTs), a report from the synodal Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media says, based on the results of a session of the council that was held in the Kremlin.


The session, which proceeded under the chairmanship of the head of the presidential administration, Sergei Ivanov, was devoted to the topic of the role of Russia in the defense of believers in the world.


"Session participants expressed alarm because of the situation in Ukraine, where there is active discussion of legislative initiatives aimed at restricting the activity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate, and at the same time seizures of its churches are continuing, accompanied by aggression against clergy and believers," the press release says.


The head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow patriarchate, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, in characterizing in his report the situation regarding freedom of speech and religious confession in the world, emphasized in particular that "for the first time in a long time a trend has been noticed toward a systematic aggressive attitude toward people of faith on the part of secular forces."


During discussion it was also noted that Russia has acquired unique experience of peaceful coexistence and mutually respectful dialogue of diverse nationalities and religions, which can serve as an example for the entire world community.


"Members of the council expressed support for the joint statement of Patriarch of Moscow and all-Rus Kirill and Roman Pope Francis regarding the results of their meeting in Cuba, which contains appeals for establishing peace, rescue of believers in armed conflict zones, and protection of the religious foundations of civilization," the press release says.


Also at the session the head of the synod's Department for Relations of Church with Society and News Media, Vladimir Legoida, was confirmed as the chairman of the council's Commission on Issues of Harmonization of Inter-ethnic and Inter-religious Relations.


The Council on Cooperation with Religious Associations is a consultative body that conducts preliminary review of issues and the development of suggestions for the president of the Russian federation pertaining to relations of the head of state with religious associations and improvement of the spiritual culture of society. (tr. by PDS, posted 13 May 2016)

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