Patriarch Kirill strongly opposes political participation of Church


Eastern Europe


Patriarch Kirill of Moscow during a meeting with president Putin. Photo AFP, Alexey Nikolsky

Patriarch Kirill is strongly against the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russian politics.

This writes the Russian news portal Patriarcha..

The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said so in a meeting with Pyotr Tolstoy, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of Russia. Tolstoy, the great-great-grandson of the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, was re-elected in September from his constituency.

After congratulating Tolstoy on his re-election, Kirill said that the Church was invited in the nineties and 2000's to enter Russian politics. However, according to Kirill, clergy who enter politics could compromise the Church and create political tension.

As an example, the Archbishop of Moscow named Gleb Yakunin. This priest was an elected member of the Russian Parliament from 1990 to 1995. After publishing materials about the cooperation between the Moscow Patriarchate and the KGB in 1992, Yakunin was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church in 1993.

Since the majority of Russian citizens are Orthodox by baptism, “you can always find those with whom you could discuss political issues”, said Kirill. “As we do, we do not impose our vision, but express our opinion, and when it is taken into account by Orthodox people working in the State Duma, we accept it with gratitude,” the Primate concluded.


The expressions by the Russian Patriarch will be met with scepticism in other countries and even within Russia itself. There is widespread criticism that the Orthodox Church is completely dependent upon the State. In fact, the Church could be seen as an instrument of the State in order to reach political goals.



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