26 November 2009, 17:27
Russian Patriarch protests court ruling to ban cross from Italian schools
Moscow, November 26, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has supported Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's opposition to the idea of banning crucifixes from Italian public schools.
"Italy and other European countries' Christian heritage must not be a subject of scrutiny at European rights agencies," Patriarch Kirill said in a letter to Berlusconi, posted on the Moscow Patriarchate's official website.
Patriarch Kirill was commenting on a ruling, passed by the European Court of Human Rights on November 3, on a lawsuit, filed by an Italian mother, who claimed that crucifixes at public schools is a violation of human rights.
"The Christian religious symbols present in Europe' public space are part of the European identity, without which the past, the present and the future of this continent are unthinkable. The guaranteeing of a secular nature of the state must not be used as a pretext for infusing an anti-religious ideology that conspicuously breaches peace in society and discriminates against Europe's religious majority - Christians," the Russian Patriarch said.
Patriarch Kirill voiced his "full and unconditional support" for the Italian government's plans to appeal the court judgment with the European Court's Grand Chamber. "European democracy must not incite Christianophobia, as the theomachist regimes did in the past," he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church in cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church will inform the world and European communities of its "categorical rejection of such judgments and stimulate the condemnation of the Europeans Court of Human Rights' practices in various domains," Patriarch Kirill said.
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