04/30/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA

Foundations laid for first of 200 new Orthodox churches in Moscow

For the Patriarch Kirill the city will be an example to the whole country to change the entire image of religion in Russia. Mayor Sobianin calls for churches open to young people, not just a place of prayer.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - "There will be no delay or hindrance" to the project for another 200 Orthodox churches in Moscow, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobianin, assured the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, yesterday, April 29, after the many controversies that followed the go-ahead for the construction of new places of worship . "Now we have to move on to the practical phase, of designing and building new churches," said the Mayor, laying the foundations of the first churches to be built, near the infamous Dubrovka theater. Here in 2002 a siege by Chechen rebels ended in bloodshed with the involvement of Russian security forces.

So far the municipality has given the Church 15 plots of land and will soon deliver another five. Work is already underway in 80 other sites, added the mayor. "By year's end - said Sobianin - work will be initiated for eight or nine churches. For its part, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill said that "200 churches are not sufficient to completely solve the problem, but the situation will radically change, because we will have the opportunity to work among people with churches within walking distance away from homes. "

For the State of the Church's support is very helpful in the context of combating social ills such as alcoholism, ethnic violence and abortion. For this Sobianin has urged church leaders to make the churches not only a place of prayer but also a place of encounter and support for the young and needy. According to Kirill, Moscow will serve as an example to other regions and "if we succeed in implementing this program the entire religious image of Russia will change." According to data from the Patriarchate, the proportion between the number of churches and Orthodox believers in Moscow is one church for every 35 thousand inhabitants and in some districts even every 150 thousand or 200 thousand inhabitants.

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