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  • » 03/27/2012, 00.00

    RUSSIA - GREAT BRITAIN

    For Russian Orthodox Church, cross ban in workplace is a form of totalitarianism

    Nina Achmatova

    Metropolitan Hilarion criticises the decision of the British government to defend ban on religious symbols in the workplace before Strasbourg court. Russian priest says one of her parishioners was fired for wearing a cross that was not visible.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate deplores the ban in Great Britain on wearing religious symbols in the workplace, describing it as a manifestation of totalitarianism.

    "Those Western liberals who are actually forcing totalitarian regime standards on free people are making a big mistake," said Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, on Rossiya 24 television.

    These people have not gone through reprisals against the Church "and therefore they do not know what it feels like when your cross is being ripped off your neck," he added.

    The Metropolitan said he had had an experience of living in Britain and he could see "liberal and Anarchist patterns spreading fast in the public space."

    Recently, British courts have given employers the right to fire workers who wear crosses on their clothes.

    The British government wants to defend the ban on wearing crosses at work in the European Court of Human Rights, which is set to examine four cases brought by British citizens.

    They include that of Nadia Eweida (pictured), a British Airways employee who was suspended for wearing a cross on a plane, in violation of company policy.

    Ms Eweida has taken her case to Strasbourg. For David Cameron's government, which backs the airliner, wearing a cross is not a compulsory element of the Christian faith.

    "The introduction and even a discussion of such standards looks like a symptom of some madness or extreme moral decay," Hilarion said, adding that believers will never put up with this and will fight.

    Archpriest Mikhail Dudko, the sacristan of the Russian Assumption Cathedral in London, said recently that one of his parishioners, a woman, lost her job for wearing a cross at work, even though it was not visible.

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    See also

    06/08/2012 GREAT BRITAIN - ASIA
    London Olympics 2012: A comeback for faith, in a country that has banned religious symbols
    In Great Britain it is illegal to wear religious symbols in public places and at work public. Exemplary story of the stewardess sacked for wearing a cross. However, athletes involved in the Games do not hide their religious beliefs. Before and after races, signs of the cross, prostrations and prayers of thanksgiving.

    31/01/2011 RUSSIA
    Catholics increasingly present in Russia society, apostolic nuncio says
    Before leaving for his new posting in Great Britain, Mgr Mennini says goodbye to Russian Catholics, appealing for unity within the community and with Orthodox brothers.

    22/11/2005 RUSSIA
    Russian monk preaches online
    Russian Orthodox Patriarchate opens website for an old monk who spent time in the gulag.

    17/09/2010 VATICAN – GREAT BRITAIN
    Respect and reciprocity among religions needed, Pope says
    In meeting with representatives of Great Britain’s main religions, Benedict XVI called for respect for the right to religious freedom. The ecumenical dialogue with Anglicans has made great strides, notwithstanding some difficulties. Police announce that they arrested five individuals who were planning an attack to “coincide” with the papal visit.

    18/12/2008 TURKEY - RUSSIA
    Bartholomew I: Turkish bureaucracy is trying to make us disappear
    The Turkish foreign ministry and the state bureaucracy are trying to diminish the importance of the patriarchate for all of Orthodoxy. The shortcomings and errors of the report on minorities in Turkey. Putin hopes to visit Bartholomew.



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