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Moscow University denies students being 'goaded' to meeting with Patriarch

September 27, 2012, 18:42 UTC+3

I just don’t understand the commotion about it,” Svetlana Reshetnikova, the chief of the University press service told Itar-Tass

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MOSCOW, September 27 (Itar-Tass) — Officials at Moscow Lomonosov State University do not understand why some students have interpreted the information on a Friday research conference, due to be attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I, as an event of which they are being goaded to.

“I just don’t understand the commotion about it,” Svetlana Reshetnikova, the chief of the University press service told Itar-Tass. “Our University has more than 40,000 students while the hall for assemblies can seat only a thousand persons, including more than 300 guests from other cities and about 200 to 300 guests from other schools of higher learning in Moscow.”

“This means less than 500 seats will be left for the University students,” Reshetnikova said adding that participants in the conference are going to hear a number of “very interesting reports on history.”

“That’s why the students of the history department and of other departments where the curricula include the disciplines related to history will be glad to come without any coercion,” she said.

Reshetnikova singled out the fact the Speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, is expected to make the main report.

“It’s not ruled out that teachers at some departments interpreted the information /about the presence of Kirill I/ incorrectly but there’s no coercion at all in reality, as the students wishing to come to the conference are free to decide for themselves,” she said.

Officials at the Russian Orthodox Church, too, said they were astonished by reports in the mass media and social networks on ‘goading’ the students to the conference.

“I’m extremely astonished,” said Dr Vladimir Legoida, the chairman of the Synod’s information department. “I hope this is a mistake of some kind. But if it isn’t, I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly support the administrative measures of this kind.”

“His Holiness Kirill I has always taken interest in having live contacts with university communities, since he understands their members perfectly well,” Dr Legoida said.

He recalled that Kirill I had been a lecturer and then the rector of the St Petersburg theological schools.

“If someone doesn’t want to or cannot take part in the conference, then it’s no use coercing such people to attendance,” Dr Legoida said.



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