Patriarch Kirill: Insert 'God' into the Russian Constitution
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The proposal came amid celebrations for the anniversary of the enthronement of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin: "all Russian society has benefited” from Kirill's work. Muslims support the patriarch. The Constitution Modification Commissions are working to rewrite the introductory articles.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - On the occasion of the 11th anniversary of his enthronement, which took place on February 1, 2009, the patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) took advantage of the solemn ceremony to propose the inclusion of a reference to God in the constitutional charter. Indeed, the day of the second Duma vote on the constitutional changes proposed by President Putin is approaching. These include the idea of ​​appointing the country's "Supreme Guide".

During the celebration, the patriarch said: "We pray and commit ourselves that God will be remembered in our fundamental law, since the majority of Russian citizens believe in God". Therefore "if in the national anthem there can be the words the homeland guarded by God, why can't the same be said in the Constitution?" [1]. In his opinion, faith in God is a superior ideal, capable of forming personal, social and political morality.

After the ceremony, the patriarch thanked President Putin personally for primacy given to relations between the State and the Church in Russia in the last decade, during a specially organized in the Kremlin. "We are walking hand in hand with state institutions, we have an open dialogue in many areas, and this collaboration allows us to achieve many important objectives," said Kirill, who underlined the two dimensions of the relationship: "the first is vertical, in which the patriarch prays for his people, but there is also the horizontal dimension, in which the patriarch takes care of the spiritual and material condition of people".

President Putin thanked the patriarch in turn: "Eleven years have passed so quickly, that you may not have noticed, but we have noticed your tireless work, the whole of Russian society has benefited from it". The new Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin had previously addressed his wishes directly in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, at the end of the solemn ceremony.

The members of the Commissions for constitutional changes immediately examined the patriarch's proposal, putting forward the idea of ​​putting a "Preamble" to the fundamental charter containing the reference to the Orthodox faith, or in any case to rewrite the introductory articles, inserting next to faith in God also "the heroic merits of the sacrifice of the Russian people during the Second World War".

The president of the Association of Jurists of Russia, Talja Khabrieva, who heads one of the commissions, revealed that a consensus was reached on the inclusion in the preamble of the following points: the meaning of Russia's cultural heritage; the opposition to historical falsifications on Russian merits in the war; and also the emphasis on the value of civil society (a small concession to liberal values). The Muslim representative, Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin, supported the proposal of Patriarch Kirill, adding to the reference to God also the fact that "traditional religions support the state morally and materially".

The party of the "Communists of Russia" has declared itself against the introduction of the reference to God and religion in the Constitution, as explained by the party president Maksim Surajkin: "We have great respect for the feelings of believers of all religious denominations, but we cannot accept religious symbols in the fundamental law of our secular state, where in art. 14, the separation between Church and State is established, especially since the opinions of citizens are very diversified ".

The constitutional changes, which in the President's intentions were to be quick "surgical" operations to prepare the country's political future, are turning into a flood of ideological outpourings that are difficult to control, which reveal the Russians' passion for the "high-brow concepts" of the spirit and morals.

[1] The music is the same as the anthem of the Soviet Union, but the words have been changed.

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