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Court ruling to weaken Jehovah’s Witnesses influence in Russia, cleric says

May 03, 3:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Metropolitan Ilarion stressed his conviction that Jehovah’s Witnesses were a totalitarian sect heavily misinterpreting the Gospels and, on top of that, destroying families

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© Artiom Korotaev/TASS

MOSCOW, May 2. /TASS/. Russian Orthodox Church welcomes the ruling of the Supreme Court to prohibit the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, as it destroys the traditional family, Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations told TASS.

As he spoke on ‘The Church and the World’ show aired by Rossiya24 news channel, he said the impact of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be weakened now but still it would be scarcely possible to eliminate it altogether.

"One should hardly have any doubts the adepts of the sect will remain here and will continue their activity," the Most Reverend Ilarion said. "But at any rate they will stop equating themselves with Christian denominations openly. To paraphrase it, this product won’t be represented anymore on the market of existing denominations of Christianity."

"This will save families and people’s lives and I think a (court) ruling of this kind is only welcome," he said.

Metropolitan Ilarion stressed his conviction that Jehovah’s Witnesses were a totalitarian sect heavily misinterpreting the Gospels and, on top of that, destroying families.

"The real danger is not in their distortions of faith," he said. "The danger is in their being a totalitarian sect that focuses its entire activity on manipulating with human consciousness. They destroy human psyche, they destroy families."

The religious doctrine of Jehovah’s Witnesses prohibits blood transfusions. Also members of one family cannot take seats at the same table with any relative if, for whatever reason, he or she had decided to leave the organization.

Metropolitan Ilarion said he thought the decision should be hailed he said the Church did not take part in any way in its formulation. "No one turned to us for consultations," he said.

"Generally speaking, the Church never calls for subjecting heretics or sect adepts or other dissenters to criminal persecution," he said. "When the state takes such decisions, it’s the decision of the judiciary on the basis of finding that the sect is involved in extremist activities."

"The case in hand in this situation is not encroachment on foundations of one or another religion in any way but rather encroachments on legislation," Metropolitan Ilarion said.

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