Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia sent April 14 an open letter to Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Rybkin, the text of which is quoted in full below:

"Your Excellency, Right Honorable Ivan Petrovich! The clergy and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church, the general public in Russia and the world over have been shocked by the reports of the dangerous actions by the "Aum Shinrikio" sect, which have caused spiritual and physical suffering to people and put in jeopardy their very life.

The latest events have exacerbated the critical situation which has emerged in Russian society as a result of the activity of the "church of Moon," the "Center of Our Lady," the "White Brotherhood," Satanist groups other similarly totalitarian sects. Something has happened about which our Church has been warning for a number of years: the wild fanatic sectarians have launched an open offensive against the individual and society, profiting from the impunity and the legal vacuum in the state control over the activity of religious organizations as legal entities. That it has become impossible to reconcile any longer with the uncontrolled activity of the sectarians is now evident to every normal person.

This is why I ask You and all the honorable deputies of the State Duma to resolve at last the following issues:

The last issue is particularly important since the state is called upon to take care of not only terminating the activities of the pseudo-religious organizations which have already violated law, but also of preventing from registration as legal entities the socially dangerous organizations of this type. It is not sufficient to point out formally to the inadmissibility of the existence of religious organizations the activity of which may be dangerous to society:

it is necessary that the matter of advisability of state registration of religious organizations, particularly of foreign organizations, be studied by the justice bodies with due thoroughness, on the basis of clear criteria of conformity of those organizations' actions and intentions to the law of the Russian state, as well as to the generally accepted ideas of personal and social good. I believe that the impending problems call for a speediest review of the entire complex of the Russian legislation on freedom of conscience and religious organizations. This would make it possible not only to protect society from the encroachments of the wild fanatic sects., but also to develop in a positive direction of the traditional Russian religious organizations which produce a beneficial effect upon the spiritual atmosphere and are capable of preventing the coming to the totalitarian sects of thousands of people, desperately searching for the rational of life.

I hope for a speediest positive resolution of the impending issue which worries millions of Russians. I assure You that the Church Holy See is prepared to use all available means to contribute to the filling of the legal vacuum in the filed of legislation pertaining to religious organizations. May God send to Your Excellency and to all the honorable deputies of the State Duma health, well-being and success in the work for the good of our Motherland.

Respectfully Yours, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia"

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