21 October 2010, 16:53
Moscow Patriarchate urges new mayor to build at least 200 churches and let priests go to schools
Moscow, October 21, Interfax – Today when the Sergey Sobyanin is officially approved as new Moscow mayor, the Patriarchate expressed hope that he will realize the program of building 200 new Orthodox churches and priests will get access to city schools.
"We certainly expect that Moscow government, mayor and his office will further cooperate on the project of building in the city 200 churches at the first stage initiated by His Holiness the Patriarch," head of the patriarchal press service Archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky told an Interfax-Religious correspondent.
The priest reminds that Moscow has the lowest rate of churches per capita and the Moscow Patriarchate hopes for turning the capital in "the city where spiritual and church life will be at least at the level of other subjects of the Federation."
Father Vladimir also expressed hope that Moscow schools will teach their pupils the foundations of religious cultures and Orthodox priests will be allowed to schools.
Today, according to Father Vladimir, "Moscow is almost the only city where a priest is not allowed to school even if he is invited and goes there not on his initiative."
"I remember that once I consecrated a school at 11 p.m., on its director's request, but it was kept in secret so that Moscow city authorities knew nothing about it," the interview of the agency shared his experience.
He pointed out that Moscow is the "only city where even in course of experiment not only foundations of Orthodox culture but even basics of secular ethics are not taught," and expressed hope that the new mayor "will change his attitude to it."
"We also hope that all social activities will develop, including help to deprived people, pensioners, disabled people, single mothers, support of a family. This is what the Church and the city always care for," the priest said.
Father Vladimir is concerned with unsettled problem of kindergartens and nurseries for littler Muscovites.
"It's absurdity that kindergartens and nurseries were sold for offices in Moscow last twenty years. It's impossible to imagine bigger crime for a city head. People form waiting lists and they say their turn will come when they retire," he said.
According to him, "if the new mayor turns to ordinary people rather than investors" it will be "the biggest and the most long-awaited wish of the Russian Orthodox Church."