29 April 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  •    - Mongolia
  •    - Russia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 05/14/2013, 00.00

    RUSSIA - CHINA

    Patriarch Kirill calls for recognition of Orthodox Church in China, but is silent on religious freedom

    Nina Achmatova

    In Russia, commentators and analysts ponder the meaning of the Orthodox leader’s mission to the People's Republic. For some it is one step in the Kremlin's foreign policy, which aims to strengthen a renewed geopolitical alliance with China. For others, the goal is only pastoral: the Orthodox Church needs restructuring.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - "Is it acceptable from a moral point of view,  to ask for the official recognition of Orthodox Christianity in China and keep quiet about the thousands of victims of religious persecution in this country?". This is one of the most frequently asked questions, these days, on Internet sites and blogs of religious information in Russia, that are following the "historic" visit of the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, to the People's Republic of China, which will end on May 15 . The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has already met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with the leaders of local Christian communities and of the Chinese Department of Religious Affairs. He hopes that Beijing will grant Orthodox Christianity (after Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism) the status of "recognized religion" by the government. But he has thus far remained silent about the plight of religious freedom in the country. Indeed, he has recognized as interlocutors, the very institutions that are responsible for this repressive policy, inviting them to join efforts to "strengthen the moral values ​​in the world."

    No one expected something different. For many commentators, Kirill's visit has a more political-diplomatic character than pastoral. The tones were cordial and open for what Xi himself termed the "first visit by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a Russian religious leader." The mission of the Patriarch follows another "historic" event: the visit to Moscow in March, of the newly elected Chinese president, on his first trip abroad and clear signal of a renewed resolve to strengthen bilateral relations between the two neighbors. And to cement an alliance geopolitics, which finds its lynch pin in the common objective of limiting U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region. In this context, a more structured orthodoxy obedient to Moscow - according to some analysts - would mean for Beijing the possibility of forming a sort of " visible spiritual opposition" to Western Christianity, traditionally associated with the Vatican and the United States.

    The Russian Orthodox Church, moreover, could also represent a "middleman" useful - others point out - in dialogue with the Kremlin. Beijing recognize the Moscow Patriarchate as an important actor in Russian foreign policy, with close connections to the corridors of power. The same Xi invited Kirill to "play a greater role" in cementing the relationship between the two nations.

    Russian commentators are divided. For the director of radio Kommersant, Konstantin von Eggert, the Patriarch's visit to China, "undoubtedly has a political significance." "Behind it all - the columnist, told AsiaNews - is the concept of Russkiy Mir (Russian World): strengthening, that is, the presence of the Russian people and culture in the world." "This is real 'soft power' - he added- every one of the Patriarch's actions abroad seem more like political propaganda, and not of a spiritual and pastoral nature."

    Even Andrei Zolotov - director of the news website Russia Profile and expert on religious matters - in Russia Church and State promote an often agreed foreign policy. He said, however, the Patriarchate remains an independent institution. "Sometimes the priorities of the state coincide with those of the Church. Sometimes - he admits - the Church influences the state, as in the case of inclusion in the political agenda of issues such as the fight against 'Christian-phobia' and the persecution of Christians ". Despite this - adds the expert, contacted by AsiaNews - Kirill's visit to China "has a much more spiritual significance than political." "The Orthodox Church has huge problems in the country - he explains - the church hierarchy needs to be completely reconstituted." For fifty years bishops, priests and parishes are lacking. According to him, the presence of Kirill in China (where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Beijing, and at the chapel in the Russian Embassy in Harbin, the central place of worship for the Orthodox community) will be relief and aid to Chinese faithful (about 15 thousand). According to Zolotov, the Patriarch's visit to the Church of Shanghai will be of particular significance. St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, one of the twentieth century's most revered Orthodox saints, worked here.

     

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    20/04/2017 15:02:00 RUSSIA
    Easter celebrations in Moscow with bells, cakes and cheeses

    Moscow’s Easter gift festival is underway from 12 to 23 April in 24 downtown squares and 19 parks. Typical products from the Russian regions include cakes, honey, cheeses . . . and bells. “If we had a little more time, Sergey Semenovich and I too would gladly take a ride on the carousel," said Kirill.



    31/05/2006 RUSSIA - CHINA
    Orthodox Church for Chinese built in Russia

    The church was supposed to be built within the Russian embassy. But bureaucratic delays led to a decision to change the site.



    07/01/2013 RUSSIA
    Kirill: Campaigns against the Russian Orthodox Church will not silence the Church
    The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia celebrates the night before Christmas in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, where Pussy Riot episode took place. For Kirill, despite opposition to the Church, "society has become more sensitive to the word of Christ." In 2013 marks 1025 years since the baptism of the Rus', "the beginning of a new era" in the life of the nation.

    26/04/2011 RUSSIA
    Patriarch Kirill, Easter in Moscow, with messages to the Pope and Protestants
    The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the Resurrection. Message to the Pope and the Protestants for a common witness of God's truth Poll: Only one Russian in ten attends religious services.

    21/02/2017 14:18:00 RUSSIA
    Thousands in procession for the return of St. Isaac's Church to the Moscow Patriarchate

    The building had been seized in 1917 and used as a museum. Spokesman for Patriarch Kirill: The church "should first of all be a place of prayer." Opponents: Giving the management to the Church risks opening the path to "wild provincialism". Putin among the opponents. Kirill: A sign of reconciliation.


     





    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – VATICAN
    Pope in Egypt: Egypt called to condemn violence and poverty in the Middle East



    In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”


    ISLAM – VATICAN – EGYPT
    A Muslim writes to the pope: Dear Pope Francis . . .

    Kamel Abderrahmani

    He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®