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    » 04/05/2011, 00.00

    RUSSIA

    Moscow Patriarchate calls on the faithful to hang the crucifix in schools and offices

    Nina Achmatova

    Archpriest Chaplin calls on Orthodox to be more courageous in demonstrating their faith. Human rights activists protest: ideas that contribute to dividing society.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) – Fresh controversy has broken out in Russia between the Orthodox Church and human rights organizations. The head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for Relations between the Church and society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, has appealed to the community of believers to be more courageous in showing their faith. "We should have no qualms about making the sign of the cross wherever we like, or hanging an image of the crucifix, where we live and work," the priest wrote in an article published in the April issue of the Orthodox journal Sovereign Rus'.

    The idea of the crucifix in the workplace or in schools has angered human rights activists. "The problem in our society is not the number of crucifixes on the walls, but immorality," Lev Ponomarev, a noted leader of a human rights movement, told Interfax. "Concern yourselves more with prayers and sermons - he continued, addressing Chaplin – and not with pushing for official displays of Orthodox attributes”.  

    He stressed that in Russia, church and state are separate and attacked the Patriarchate’s interference in civil society. "I think that religious symbols have no place in public offices, schools or in institutions - added Ponomarev – for example, if they were hung in schools, what would the many Muslims say? Would they start asking to hang the crescent? And why is it needed? All this will only contribute to dividing society. " Ponomarev has, however, admitted that if some people work in offices that are considered Orthodox, nobody has the right to prevent them from hanging a cross. " Bolstered by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights that has found display of crucifixes in classrooms not in violation of human rights, Chaplin continues to launch high-impact hypothesis on a society that is still recovering from 70 years of state atheism. In the case against Italy raised by a citizen of Finnish origin Sole Lautsi, the Moscow Patriarchate has always openly supported Italy.

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    See also

    17/03/2009 RUSSIA
    Medvedev steers religions toward young people, but blocks Jehovah's witnesses
    The Russian president is involving the traditional confessions in programs on behalf of young people. The Kremlin wants to reinforce relations with the Orthodox, make the Patriarch of Moscow a point of reference for all religions, and attribute a strong political value to his position. Jehovah's Witnesses accused of social isolation.

    26/06/2012 RUSSIA
    Joke award for the Patriarch of Moscow. The Duma wants tougher penalties for incitement to religious hatred
    The majority party United Russia prepares amendments to the penal code to ensure that the Church is not the subject of satire or negative comments. The Patriarchate approves: it will help avoid civil war.

    19/05/2006 CHINA
    Beijing threatens lawyers: "Don't help anti-government protesters"

    According to the new rules, published by the All-China Lawyers Association, lawyers "should not help those who present or prepare petitions to the government or the Party."



    27/09/2011 RUSSIA
    Putin a candidate for the Kremlin; Moscow Patriarchate: an example of integrity
    The Orthodox Church supports the Prime Minister's choice to run again for president. Meanwhile, the exchange of roles within the tandem yields its first casualty: Finance Minister Kudrin ousted.

    12/12/2011 RUSSIA
    Russia against Putin, the Orthodox Church warns against "revolutions"
    The central government fears uprisings along the lines of Ukraine’s orange revolution, but people just want to see their right to transparent elections respected. Medvedev opens an investigation into possible election fraud. Anti-Putin groups plans another rally for December 24.



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