Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias (1946- ), with (on his right) Metropolitan Vladimir Sabodan of Kiev (1935- ), the second-most-powerful hierarch in the MP after the First Hierarch. Spare a prayer for Vladyki Vladimir, he has Parkinson’s and he is bedevilled by schismatic and Uniate attacks on his church. May God bless and keep him.
Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias has great faith in contemporary young people, and urged that the Church redouble its efforts in youth work. “In my opinion, precisely, young people are the advance guards of the Church, bearing to the world a fresh and vibrant message centred on the fact that mankind finds unity and harmony in life only in Christ”, he said on Saturday to a meeting of Orthodox youth activists in Moscow.
He went on to express his conviction that the present generation of youth is capable “of ensuring the future not only of the Church, but, also of the country, the entire world, and the entire human family. As your patriarch, I place my hopes on you, you are my allies. Indeed, I very much wish to work together with you today to do everything that we must in order to revive the life of our people”, Patriarch Kirill said. He noted that young people “are on the frontlines of the fight for the future of the life of mankind. Youth work cannot help but be a priority for the Church. Not only should more young people come to services, we should make such essential concepts as chastity, purity, and spirituality not merely virtues, but, an attractive ideal for young people”, His Holiness emphasised.
In his opinion, the struggle between good and evil, between God and the devil, “is conducted, first of all, in the hearts of the young”. The patriarch pointed up the fact that the Church “is not a place of punishment, rather, it is a loving Mother. However, it is very clear to all that the Church is called to testify to society that completeness of life and authentic freedom in all public spheres is always connected with moral responsibility and the realisation of the existence of sin”. In His Holiness’ words, at the same time, it is necessary for man to preserve his conscience “in such a state that it is capable of distinguishing good from evil. The Fear of God is a spiritual state somewhat analogous to the emotion that one feels when a cop pulls you over, but, it is not merely the heightening of adrenaline, it is a very important ethical category connected with the fact that the justice and judgement of God are unavoidable”.
The patriarch urged young people “to honour the Orthodox faith of our ancestors and love the Motherland, keeping our faith in both through all trials, whilst striving to create a harmonious family. These simple truths are time-tested, and relying on them, we can build a strong state, achieve success, and experience full happiness in our personal lives”. According to His Holiness, specifically, we find authentic joy only in the service of others. In his words, “Our ministry in Christ, which begins with simple good deeds and the attempt to live according to His commandments, brings bliss to man, a joyfulness that begins on earth, but, continues into eternity, making a man a communicant of eternal life”.
2009 has been declared the Year of Youth by President Medvedev, Patriarch Kirill pointed up. He said further that, today, the viewpoint of the Church in Russia is, “Our youth must, of necessity, be given special pastoral care. Youth is both a blessed and critical time. The cheerful and lively energy of young people causes wonder in older adults. Characteristically, young people storm and scale unprecedented heights, but, they expose themselves to the risk of a catastrophic fall… To prevent this from happening, adults should attend to young people with care”, His Holiness said, adding that the task of the Church is “to show young people the means to a good life through service to both God and neighbour. As I look closely at the faces of the young people gathered here, I see the face of the Orthodox Church of the future. I think we have every reason to look to the future with optimism”.
Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker in Pyzhakh
Patriarch Kirill urged young people to combine carnal and spiritual urges harmoniously, and resist attempts to exploit their human instincts. “The God-given instinct to continue the human race is closely related to the spiritual life of man. Without a carnal beginning, love cannot grow into a love of family. This is a great gift from God, which is given to mankind not only for procreation, but, also, for the completeness of life, for our happiness”, the patriarch said. At the same time, he lamented the fact that this instinct “is exploited for commercial and ideological ends, destroying the very ability of people to merge these profoundly instinctual urges with love. God’s Plan to continue the human race takes place in an atmosphere of love, it is not possible to separate one from the other, otherwise, one or the other is destroyed”, His Holiness stated.
He also expressed his concern that the current generation of young people is exposed to “the exploitation of their instincts” by the media. “Much of this propaganda is intended not only to work on the mind, but, also, on the primal instincts of mankind. Instinct, which was originally intended to ensure the survival of the human race, is used by contemporary communication techniques as a very important recipient of information”, he said. In particular, he mentioned advertising, stating, in fact, it “seeks to facilitate the marketing of goods. What does advertising focus upon? First of all, it orients itself to human instincts. If we consider ourselves merely as the subject of an ad, then, we are nothing but a powder or cologne!” a perplexed Patriarch Kirill exclaimed. In his opinion, “The entire contemporary pseudo-culture tries to force people to believe that a life lived according to the law of instinct is the only acceptable way of life”.
The patriarch also called for creating a powerful Orthodox youth movement in Russia led by talented and charismatic leaders. “I would be glad if we could have 100,000 young people attend a congress at Luzhniki Stadium [in Moscow]. But, we will have to work very hard if such a congress is to become a reality”. To further this, he urged the clergy to “strengthen youth work at the parish, deanery, and diocesan levels”.
In the opinion of the patriarch, we should focus more on training both clergy and laity to do proper youth work. “We should build a network for youth work. We should have a cell, an organisation, in every school and university. How can one engage in Christian work amongst youth if a college has no youth organisation of its own?” Patriarch Kirill said. He went on to say that Russia is “an open society, where all this is permissible and feasible. We should consolidate our ranks at this grassroots level, where youth congresses would bring together tens of thousands of people, and it would not be a pretence or a television show, but, a genuine manifestation of our work, of what is happening in the Church and in society”, His Holiness emphasised.
He also pointed up that the content of youth work “must be interesting, because young people are dynamic, and any boredom immediately knocks them out of balance. There must be inspirational and charismatic youth leaders who are capable of attracting and uniting youth. Of course, today, the Church must concern itself with the cultivation of such leaders. We need to develop a methodology of youth work and build up our practical experience”, Patriarch Kirill noted. “Well, when the time comes, and not artificially, under orders from Moscow, but, naturally, through the natural energy of young people, we will hold a congress that could be only be held in Luzhniki Stadium”, he said. In this case, the patriarch lamented that the Church has no “special system for training the clergy to work amongst young people, there are only those who have learned this on their own”.
15 February 2009
These four small articles were conflated as they came from the same speech; therefore, they belong together as part of a complete whole. Of the four articles, only one was translated (partially) into English. That is to say, out of the 1,310 words of the above text, only 205 were given in English. Furthermore, 145 words of that particular article were not translated by Interfax. That is to say, Interfax gave its English-speaking readers only 58 percent of the only article translated and only 15 percent of the total material on the speech.
INTERFAX DOES IT AGAIN! PEE-YOO!
I am adding a golden collar to this award of the Order of the Big Green Weenie; one would think that they would learn. However, this is why I often go back to the original for Interfax material. There is good stuff there; it is obscured by rotten and partial translation. God willing, I can help some by this fuller translation. It is my duty… one who has little has an obligation to help those who have nothing. I feel my weakness so at times… I have no illusion that I am an expert.