2019-03-12 13:47:00

The Russian Orthodox Church does not strive to set up a copy of Russian Orthodoxy in Asia - expert

Moscow, March 12, Interfax - Patriarchal exarchate in Southeast Asia, established late in December, will represent national Orthodox Churches, not a copy of the Russian Orthodox Church in the region, renowned religious expert, Moscow State Linguistic University professor Roman Silantyev believes.

"The Russian Orthodox Church has a goal to establish national Churches, not copying Russian Orthodoxy. Churches with national clerics, bishops, churches and believers from local residents," the expert writes in his articles published on Tuesday in the Izvestia paper.

Silantyev said that candidates in clerics in the mentioned exarchate can receive theological education in theological schools of the Russian Church, for example, students from South Korea, Philippines and Malaysia are studying in St. Petersburg Theological Seminary.

The religious expert believes that the newly established exarchate in Asia is a great missionary challenge as the development of church ministry in the region requires different approaches, flexibility and considering national traditions.

"Parishes in the exarchate differ. There are multinational communities with dominating Russian presence and mononational communities. For example, majority of our parishioners in Philippines are local residents," Silantyev said.

He reminded that mission in Southeast Asia is not new: for centuries the Russian Orthodox Church has been developing its mission in the region, and according to him, it has brought a good result.

Late in December the Holy Synod set up a patriarchal exarchate in Southeast Asia, which includes Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, North and South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand. The creation of the exarchate was a response to Constantinople's decisions on Ukraine.

On October 11, 2018, the Synod in Istanbul annulled its 1686 decree handing over Kiev the Metropolitanate to Moscow and announced a decision to create a new church in Kiev and rehabilitate the leaders of non-canonical Ukrainian churches. The Moscow Synod responded by severing relations with Constantinople.