Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Moscow Patriarchate says the Proposal of Bishop Diomid to end the Dialogue with the External World is Dangerous

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Zamglavy of the MP DECR

The MP Department of External Church Relations says that the proposal issued by the Chukotka diocesan assembly headed by Bishop Diomid urging the Church to give up its dialogue with the state and adherents of other religions is dangerous. The Chukotka clergy recently agreed to this proposal as a protest against the DECR’s dialogue with the state, and with members of other confessions and religions. In the opinion of the Chukotka clergy, this negatively influences the purity of the Orthodox faith. Meanwhile, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the Zamglavy (Deputy Head) of the MP DECR, considers that such views are gravely mistaken, Interfax-Religion reported. “Isolation is always a sign of weakness, whilst rejection of organised dialogue always means defeat and death. If you retreat and go into isolation, you shall become easy prey for those you are hiding from”, he said in answer to questions from journalists in Moscow.

In any case, Fr Vsevolod confessed that he would have “great joy” if the DECR were abolished, as it would give him more time for pastoral work, for thought, and for doing good works that could help solve many of the church problems of the 21st century. Perhaps, he could work in youth education, or he could found his own theological school. “However, I cannot imagine how people who suggest abolishing the DECR would act if they become responsible for formulating the relations of our Church with those external groups the DECR tries to cooperate with”. Fr Vsevolod is convinced that “if we do not foster relations with these groups, our Church would soon face very hard blows such as its moral implosion, subservience to the secular government, and the mass conversion of most of its adherents to other religions and confessions… this scenario is more than real”.

“Therefore, it is rash to think that it is possible to hide in a cave from the necessity to build relations with the outside world. In any case, it is impossible to hide, they will reach right in and worm into your soul”, he emphasised. In his opinion, if the Church does not engage in dialogue with the leadership of various countries, with other confessions or religions, and with the political and public world “it would very soon prove to be defenceless”. Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka became notorious last year after his introduction to an unpublished book was issued. It contained sharp criticism of Patriarch Aleksei II and other clergy for their contacts with the state and for their participation in the ecumenical dialogue.

19 June 2008




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