Lower chamber of Russian parliament passes amendments to religion law


Interfax-Religiia, 24 March 2021


On Wednesday, the State Duma passed on the third and final reading a law providing for certification or supplemental education in the Russian Federation for clergy who previously studied abroad and are beginning to perform worship services in Russia for the first time.


After it was introduced, the law was reworked, the chairman of the standing State Duma Committee on the Development of Civil Society and Affairs of Public and Religious Associations, Sergei Gavrilov, noted.


"Taking into account the amendments, the law provides that clergy and religious personnel who underwent training abroad and are taking up for the first time the performance of worship services and other religious rituals, missionary activity, or teaching activity on the territory of the R.F. must, before starting to perform worship services, receive additional professional education in the area of the principles of state-confession relations in the R.F.," Gavrilov told Interfax.


He said that this will be possible to do either in religious educational organizations or in federal state educational organizations of higher education in the R.F.


They also will have to undergo certification in the governing body of a centralized religious organization of the respective confessional affiliation that is registered on the territory of the R.F., the committee chair noted.


Thus, clergy who received foreign religious education, who at the present time are already conducting religious activity, will be exempt from obtaining additional professional education and undergoing certification, Gavrilov noted.


Recertification also will not be required for clergy who come to Russia for conducting various worship services and lectures, if they are not members of Russian religious organizations, the committee chair explained.


In addition, Gavrilov reported, the amendments provide that public organizations and public movements will be permitted to use in their names reference to religious affiliation on the basis of written consent from a centralized religious organization of the respective confession.


An explanatory note says that the adoption of the amendments will permit "prevention of participation in the activity of religious organizations by clergy who received religious education abroad and are disseminating an extremist religious ideology." (tr. by PDS, posted 25 March 2021)

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