Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin Told the Ukrainian Rada that Church-State Relations in the CIS Countries is Similar to that Found in Europe

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), the head of the MP Synodal Division for the Relationship of Church and Society

According to Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the MP Synodal Division for the Relationship of Church and Society, the model of church-state relations in the former Soviet Union is increasingly in line with European standards. “Throughout the CIS, countries increasingly adopt model laws on religion based on those common to most European countries, as it involves the selective support by the society and the state of one or several religious communities that play a special role in the their common life”, he said. During meeting in Kiev on Monday with a number of MPs from the Party of Regions and the Yuliya Timoshenko Bloc, he noted that all religious communities have the basic rights associated with freedom of conscience, but each has “nuances in its relationship with the state and with society”. The gathering was a discussion of practical arrangements between religious communities and the state. Fr Vsevolod noted that this method is already prevalent in many countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Russia, Byelorussia, Georgia, and Armenia. In his view, there is every reason to hope that this usage will spread. “The state and religious communities not only can, but must, be in a systemic social partnership, for those who make up the state and those who belong to these religious communities are mostly the same people”, he added. The meeting was also attended by a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) to the Verkhovna Rada, Archbishop Avgustin Markevich of Lvov and Galicia, who also exchanged views with the MPs on church-state issues. Amongst other things, they discussed the development of legislation governing state-church relations in the CIS and Eastern Europe. In particular, they talked about the transfer of property to religious organisations for religious purposes, religious education in schools, the presence of military chaplains in the forces, and religious outreach in higher educational institutions.

22 June 2010



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