22 March 2012, 13:14
Russia has acute shortage of religious buildings - Interreligious Council
Moscow, March 22, Interfax - Representatives of Russia's traditional religions have spoken in favor of more intensive construction of shrines in Russia.
"The changes that took place in the life of the country in the past century had a serious impact on the accessibility of religious buildings. The majority of them were built when the centers of cities were densely populated by people of various religions and most of our ancestors lived in villages," the Russian Interreligious Council said in a statement adopted in the Moscow Horal Synagogue on Thursday.
There is currently an acute shortage of temples in localities that did not have large populations in ancient times and in small villages that have now become city districts populated by thousands of people, the document says. "The few places of worship that exist on these territories overflow with people. On holidays, there are tensions and security threats there," the document says.
"Requests for help are coming from everywhere. In big cities, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg, there is a very negative situation: there is one shrine for thousands of people in some districts. In such a situation, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to say that clergymen should give personal attention to every parishioner," the statement says.
The religious figures believe the construction of new shrines is not so much an issue of time and money "but an issue of the communities' will, assistance from the city administration, and the consent of local residents."
Churches, mosques, synagogues, and Buddhist temples are not only buildings for prayers and divine services, but are also support centers for locals providing social assistance to needy people, organizing classes for children and young people, stimulating civil activity, and preserving culture.
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