2006-09-06 13:02:00

Russian Church urges not to confuse Basic Orthodox Culture with religious instruction

Moscow, September 6, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate points out that Basic Orthodox Culture is a culturological discipline, not a religious subject and stresses the need to train teachers for it.

‘In this course, Orthodoxy will be studied as a basis of Russian culture. Is it superfluous for any educated person to know about Andrew Rublev’s Trinity or the horseman depicted on the emblem of Moscow, or to understand what exactly Ivanov painted in his Christ’s Appearance to the People?’ asks Rev. Mikhail Dudko, responsible for church-society relations in the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations.

He said the same can be said about a study of iconography, architecture and church music, Argumenty I Fakty weekly writes on Wednesday.

‘Indeed, these are components of what was to become the Russian culture, and it is world renowned in these fields!’ the priest stressed.

At the same time he pointed to the problem of teaching the new discipline and added that ‘there is something to work at’ in this field.

‘I am seriously concerned over the problem of teaching staff. I think the persons whose services should be enlisted are graduates of departments of theology in secular universities and specialists who have graduated from Orthodox educational institutions and even clergy. Why not, if religious propaganda is not carried out in class?’ Father Mikhail remarked.

He also said there is a decade-old experience of teaching Basic Orthodox Culture in some regions in Russia and nowhere this discipline has caused interfaith tension and ‘both schoolchildren and their parents welcome it’.