SVIYAZHSK /Tatarstan/, July 20. /TASS/. Better life standards and better education are positive factors for religious life in spite of the widespread contrary opinion, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said on Wednesday, speaking at the Icon of the Mother of God, Joy of All Who Sorrow Church located in the village of Sviyazhsk, some 65km of Tatarstan’s capital of Kazan.
"I must say with joy that unlike in many other countries - in Europe, America and other places - when the faith is falling by the wayside in peoples’ lives, in our country, perhaps owing to prayers of thousands and millions of martyrs for the faith, owing to that hardest experience of loyalty to Christ that our ancestors used to have, we are preserving the Faith," said Patriarch Kirill.
He noted that the Faith "is diminished neither with the growth of education nor the growth of well-being."
"They scared us back in 1990s, saying you will see what will happen to you after people begin to live better and are well-off, when good roads and buildings appear, when people start travelling and spending more money," he said. "Nonetheless, we can see we are getting stronger as more new churches have been opening their doors and holy places have been revived while more young people are turning to God."
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is confident that "it proves that our people have been anointed from above, owing to an enormous sacrifice of our pious ancestors - martyrs and confessors of the Russian Orthodox Church, but not because of our merits."
Patriarch Kirill visited the museum of history in Sviyazhsk, the Assumption Monastery and the St. Trinity Church which dates back to the 17th century.
Sviyazhsk is a village with 259 residents on an island in Tatarstan, some 800 kilometers east of Moscow. It was founded in 1551 as a fortress and support base of the Russian army in its war against the Khanate of Kazan. In 1920s Sviyazhsk became a prisoners’ camp. The island is connected with mainland with the road built on an artificial embankment.