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VLADIVOSTOK, September 7 (Itar-Tass) — Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will visit Japan on September 14-18, 2012. The patriarch’s visit to the country of a rising Sun will take place as part of a trip to the Siberia and the Far East. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church will visit the Krasnoyarsk and Primorye metropolis, the press service of the Vladivostok eparchy said on Thursday.
Patriarch Kirill will visit Japan at the invitation of Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan. The visit will be timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the blessed death of St. Nicolas of Japan, equal to the Apostles and enlightener of Japan, to be marked this year. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church gave an interview to representatives of leading Japanese media earlier this week. They included the NHK public radio and television broadcaster, the Kyodo Tsushin news agency and the Yomiuri national newspaper.
Patriarch Kirill spoke about his forthcoming visit to Japan and characterized the role of religious factor in the context of development of Russian-Japanese relations.
“Religious ties among people have a very big potential. Links at spiritual level touch human hearts. That is why true reconciliation among peoples can take place only with active participation of religion,” Patriarch Kirill told Japanese journalists.
He said that the Church’s presence in media space gave it a chance to promulgate traditional moral values.
“What we are confronted with in the information space today destroys the entire notion of conscience because everybody has his own conscience and everybody lives according to his own liking. It seems to us that society which violates the moral values of its existence is not viable. That’s why we don’t want to leave the information space and won’t do that though we realize that we are in the minority. The Church should insist on the need to have the absolute criterion of distinction between the good and evil which, among other things, grows from the moral stance of people,” the patriarch told Japanese journalists on the eve of his visit to Japan scheduled for September 14-18.
“I don’t see a more important task and I cannot compare it to anything else: neither to politics, nor to economy or scientific discoveries. But the future of humanity and whether it’s going to exist or not will depend on how we are going to answer this question,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said.
“Time has come we should increase interaction among those who realizes the presence of such threats and are ready to fight for the life of a human family,” Patriarch Kirill emphasized.
The patriarch flatly denied allegations that the clergy was strengthening power in Russian society and increasing its influence on the country’s internal life. “This is a myth which is not confirmed by any facts,” Kirill said in an interview with Japanese media outlets.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church couldn’t name a single example which would confirm that the patriarch, bishops and the clergy in general exercised political influence on the authorities.
“We, the Church, have the right to speak on our own behalf irrespective of the position of the state. Our opinions coincide on many issues. But there are things on which we don’t quite see eye to eye. Sometimes, our views are totally different,” he said.
“Those who say that the Church in Russia is closely linked to the state are wrong. That doesn’t exist,” the patriarch said, adding that, nevertheless, the Church has established good cooperation with the state at the federal and local levels on a whole range of issues.
“We cooperate in the restoration of cultural monuments, the moral upbringing of the younger generation and in the field of culture. Our cooperation in the social sphere is particularly important,” the patriarch said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the Church didn’t set the task of influencing the policy of state figures. However, the words of its sermons are addressed to all, including politicians.
“We carry certain values to our people, the moral values in the first place. We also insist that the moral factor should lie at the root of any politics,” Patriarch Kirill emphasized.