2011-02-01 13:12:00

Russian Patriarch among world's top three religious leaders priest

Moscow, February 1, Interfax - Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for Church and Society Relations, has described Russian Patriarch Kirill as a leading religious figure in the present-day world.

"Patriarch Kirill's intellect and ability to act in different circumstances wins him a place among the world's top three religious leaders. Clearly, his ideas and deeds will not be directed to Russia alone," Father Vsevolod Chaplin said in an article, published by the Izvestia daily on Tuesday.

The Patriarch sees the re-creation of Holy Rus, as a conglomerate of different nationalities, cultures, generations and political opinions, among his main goals. The children of the Russian Orthodox Church, whether they are in Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Moldova, or Japan, are equally dear to him. But the Patriarch also cares for what is happening in any country to any person, however far away from Christianity, he said.

The public must hear the Patriarch's call for civil unity around common values, irrevocable whatever the circumstances, the priest said.

"These values do exist and are revered in Russia: a thirst for the truth, freedom, justice, honor, openness to each individual and people in general, the supremacy of the spirit over material, and concern for the common in the first place and then for one's own. The Church will be trying to consolidate these values in the lives of the individual, society and the state," Father Vsevolod said.

Patriarch Kirill was enthroned as the 16th leader of the Russian Orthodox Church exactly two years ago.

The Patriarch conducted a liturgy at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on Tuesday morning, which was followed by a congratulatory ceremony. A secular reception will be held at Gostiny Dvor in the evening on this occasion.

A Bishops' Council to be convened in Moscow on February 2 is timed to coincide with this date.