Moscow, January 22, Interfax - Head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations (DECR) Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk expressed approval of the Russian military operation in Syria and responded to those intellectuals who criticize the Church for such a position.
"Unfortunately, the political process has so far not eased the life of innocent people and they need military protection. Because when the Russian Federation made an executive decision to use the armed forces to protect the people of Syria from terrorists' arbitrariness, the Russian Church, like other traditional religious associations of our country, supported that decision," the metropolitan said in an interview with the Serb newspaper Vecherniye Vedomosti, a translation of which was posted on the website of DECR.
The metropolitan said that by recognizing war as evil the Church, nevertheless, does not prohibit believers from fighting in a war "if we are talking about protecting loved ones and doing justice." In this situation, war is considered a forced, although undesirable, measure, he said.
Commenting on the media criticizing the Church for approving the operation in Syria, the metropolitan said that "believers in Russia are used to the ungrounded and biased criticism in the media, which call themselves liberal without any reason for that, but in reality do not defend freedom, but cultivate in public opinion uniform ideas on all issues, regardless if it's politics, economics, history, or morals."
"Unfortunately, representatives of the 'thin thinking societal group', of which the pseudo-liberal intelligentsia considers itself a member, while regarding everyone who disagrees with them to have no good human qualities, have adopted the habit of teaching everyone, including the Church. These people, who have not even taken the trouble of reading the Gospel thoughtfully, are saying how the Church should preach the Gospel and implement it," he said.
The metropolitan also criticized "the indecisive and even dubious position of the Christian West" on the Syrian and other conflicts in the Middle East and Northern Africa, saying that "modern Western society is going farther and farther from their Christian roots and they are now duly called post-Christian, that is 'past' the Christian stage of their history."
"The process of secularization led to the fact that many Europeans no longer compare their life to the Gospel and follow secular standards of 'consumer society'. Christians who are looking to follow the commandments of our Savior have, unfortunately, become a minority in countries that were once Christian," he said.