MOSCOW, February 1 (Itar-Tass) – Metropolitans of the Russian Orthodox Church are concerned by the problems that arise in the procession of expansion of social and welfare activities of Russian Orthodox parishes, by the maintenance of church monuments, and by the bolstering of inter-religious peace.
Friday, the metropolitans who had gathered in Moscow on the eve of a session of the Council of Bishops had an opportunity to speak about their concerns with President Vladimir Putin personally.
His Beatitude Juvenal, the metropolitan of Krutitsi and Kolomenskoye, voiced a proposal “to consider non-state social activities of Church organizations to be a full-fledged part of Russia’s social system and to provide funding for the social institutions that are functioning under the auspices of the Church.
There are 200 institutions of the kind at present, including 90 orphanages and shelters for children, 60 rehabilitation centers for drug addicts and 40 shelters for senior citizens.
Metropolitan Daniel of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogory finds it necessary to give a special legal status established through a legislative act to the monuments of religious architecture. Also, he asked for speeding up the finalization of a law on state financing of restoration works at the sites like the world-famous Solovetsky monastery, which is located on an archipelago in the subarctic White Sea.
Metropolitan of Astana and Kazakhstan Alexander raised the problem of maintenance of an inter-religious peace in this country. He asked Putin to support the work of inter-religious councils of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States and noted in this connection the importance of ensuring a better access of both councils to mass media.
“It’s important to give the spiritual leaders of traditional religious denominations an opportunity to speak about religious peace and concord between nations,” he said.
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in session from February 2 through to February 5 at the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow. The discussions of pressing problems of the country’s clerical and secular life will bring together more than 280 bishops.