05 September 2006, 14:47
North Caucasus ruling bishop insists on need to build church at site of Beslan tragedy
Moscow, September 5, Interfax - Bishop Feofan of Stavropol and Vladikavkaz has confirmed the wish of the Beslan people to build an Orthodox church at site of the tragedy.
‘The mothers whose children were either injured or killed when the school in Beslan was captured have met and voted. By an overwhelming majority they have decided to build an Orthodox church at site of the tragedy’, the bishop said to Interfax on Tuesday.
He noted that the collection of signatures was resumed and ‘an overwhelming majority is in favour of the construction of a church’.
‘If anyone dares claim that 70% of the victims of the Beslan tragedy were Muslims, it is a falsification. Everybody says unequivocally the majority of them were Christians’, the bishop said.
He also stressed that the question whether a church should be built at site of the tragedy ‘has never been an apple of discord and the claims that there should be no church there are morbid’.
Earlier the co-chairman of the Council of Muftis in Russia, Nafigullah Ashirov, criticized the idea of building an Orthodox church at the site of the Beslan tragedy, accusing the Moscow Patriarchate of lobbying its ‘corporate interests’. He also claimed some 70% of the victims in Beslan were Muslims.
Bishop Feofan recalled that on September 2 he baptized about one thousand people at the convent near Alagir in North Ossetia.
‘That was an answer to the question about the Ossetians’ attitude to Orthodoxy. Still, the Ossetian roots are basically Orthodox. It is predominantly an Orthodox republic and the majority should be heeded’, the agency’s interlocutor added.
‘Such is the history of our country. Should then a mosque be put in place of the Cathedral of the Dormition in Moscow? We live in Russia and have respect for our Muslim brothers, but we know that Russia is predominantly an Orthodox country, and we cannot change our traditions, history and faith’, the hierarch of the Russian Church stressed.
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