The Moscow Patriarchate representative to the Council of Europe Hegumen Filaret (Bulekov) in his interview to Interfax-Religion correspondent Maria Lozitskaya told about work of the Russian Church representation in Strasbourg and efforts taken to report Orthodox position to the Council of Europe.
- Does Patriarch Kirill plan to visit Strasbourg?
- I believe this question will be raised sooner or later. Itís no secret in Strasbourg that the Patriarch controlled and administered the whole work carried out to organize a representation office, to make the Moscow Patriarchate actively participate in discussions of questions in agenda of the Council of Europe. As a Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, he has visited Strasbourg and communicated with almost all leaders of the Council of Europe. Here they know and respect Patriarch Kirill.
- What is the attitude to The Russian Orthodox Church's Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights in Western Europe?
- It takes Western society, both religious and secular people, much time and effort to get acquainted with the document while all dioceses of the Russian Church abroad including our representation should carry out great and active work.
Western Christians are studying the Basic Teaching on Human Dignity, Freedom and Rights with great interest. The Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, Catholic theologians from the Inter-Christian Research Institute of the Fribourg University and the Institute of the Oriental Church have presented their detailed reaction. Itís a good sign as inter-Christian discussions conducted before need to be continued. We have accord on some questions while our positions differ on other ones.
- Are the religious items actual for Western European countries?
- The topic is more than vital for some reasons. First of all, expanding of Muslim immigrant communities attracts attention to forms and contents of their religiosity. Thus, secondly, we come to discuss once raised during talks on the European constitution preamble question of religious, mainly Christian, roots of culture of European peoples and entire Europe. Today Western society tries to understand to what degree religion is important for a person, in what way it is connected with public life of a person, how it influences political and social views of people.
- Do we need dialogue with other Christian confessions? What are the ways of ecumenical movement in the West today?
- Itís no secret that ecumenical movement shaped in last century is in crisis. Today we focus on other thing, on inter-Christian cooperation in Europe while Europe makes an effort to realize religious, Christian dimension of its history and culture. Inter-Christian cooperation is not easy as we often have different positions on such questions as secularity, human rights, religious education. Thatís why Christians should lead dialogue, I hope it will be useful for all of us.
- Do you have any news about allotting land for a Russian Orthodox Church in Strasbourg? Such agreement was reached during Patriarch Alexy IIís visit to France in October 2007, wasnít it?
- The tasks set by Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia during his visit are being completed. We hope rather long process of our negotiations with Strasbourg mayor office will be completed in 2010 as it is announced a year of Russia in France. We continue cooperating on the problem of allotting land. Iíd like to stress that Alexy IIís visit became a turning point in relations of our parish and representation with the Strasbourg mayor office.