2007-05-21 13:57:00

Metropolitan Kirill: Putin as deeply believing man has sincerely promoted reunification of Russian Church

Moscow, May 21, Interfax - Metropolitan Kirill, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a deeply believing man, promoted the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church with all this heart.

‘The fact that Vladimir Putin is a believer is something I not only believe but also feel. It is important that he was a believer long before he became president. He was baptized when a child and his parents were believers’, Metropolitan Kirill said speaking on the NTV on Sunday.

As the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman stressed, ‘the fact that Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer only suggests that one is free to choose one’s own way in life and the defense of one’s Motherland has never been a bad task, first of all, from the religious point of view’.

Metropolitan Kirill noted that Putin’s role in the reunification of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church abroad ‘is very noble and significant’.

At the same time, the metropolitan stressed that ‘the whole process of reunification was certainly absolutely autonomous from the state and the authorities’. ‘We discussed canonical, theological and historiosophic matters. Unfortunately, the authorities could not help us in such things’, he stressed.

Metropolitan Kirill admitted that the first hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church did confess ‘the sin of division’.

‘Division is a sin. Division can be undertaken only in extreme situations. But a division did take place. Even if it happened basically for political reasons, church hierarchs and deeply devoted people found themselves involved in it. Today both are aware of their sin of division. They repent of their sin and the sin of our ancestors’, the metropolitan said.

He does not agree however that there are many opponents of the reunification among the parishioners of the Russian Church abroad.

‘I would be careful with figures. It is a very small minority that does not recognize the unity. Many of them belong wholly to the past. They are very old people; for them the war will never end; they will never understand that Russia is not the Soviet Union’, the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman stressed.