Saturday, December 18, 2004

Russian Patriarch Alexis II Denounces Materialism Or Judaization Of The Church,Abortion And The Death Of The Nation


MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - Commerce is not to penetrate the Church, stressed Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, while addressing a diocesan conference of the Moscow clergy today.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church came down on such priests as succumb to the secular world's pressure, reports the conference press service.

"The Orthodox Christian mind is secularizing. The ecclesiastical spirit is receding. Spiritual blindness is coming in. Commerce is getting ever stronger in many aspects of parochial life as an alarming token of all those evils. Material interests come into the foreground ever more often to oust and strangle everything living and sublime.

"Nothing frightens the flock off religion worse than the clergy's cupidity. It is not for nothing greed for money is known as an abominable deathly passion, an infernal sin-betrayal of the Lord on a par with the sin of Judas," said the Patriarch.

He strongly warned against clerical fees for administering sacraments, especially baptism.

"We are in duty bound, and we are able to explain to the flock that churches are property of the entire people of God, so it is Christian duty to donate what each can afford to church maintenance. Yet our explanations are by no means to turn into begging donations, or forcing one into them. This must be a kind, fatherly explanation and encouragement."

Russia is getting through a demographic crisis, its population dwindling apace. There is an appalling number of abortions. Spiritual values are thrown overboard. That is the principal cause of those disastrous evils, the Patriarch went on. A majority of marriages end in divorce. The number of babies coming into the world lags desperately behind the number of babies killed in mother's womb. Ever more men and women turn to drugs and heavy drinking. Ever more commit suicide. That is what comes of "godless life, forgetfulness of the good, and ignorance of moral duty".

"We are doomed to live in a horrible time when our nation is extinguishing. We have every reason to say that its extinction has moral roots," the Patriarch went on.

"To kill a baby in mother's womb is the most heinous of deadly sins. That precept has always been part and parcel of the Church doctrine. Meanwhile, the number of abortions in Russia defies imagination year in, year out. The nation is dying out, and that is nothing surprising. Does this nation deserve to survive at all, we wonder."

From his invectives, the Patriarch went on to a more hopeful matter-Church statistics. The outgoing year added another 85 houses of prayer in Moscow. Now the city possesses 645 churches and chapels, as against 560 last year. More than a hundred added to the city clergy, 1,586 from last year's 1,485.

"At present, the Russian Orthodox Church possesses 132 dioceses, with a total 167 bishops. Twelve of them have retired. The Church has 26,590 parishes-12,638 of these in Russia," said the Primate.

There are 652 monastic abodes. Of these, Russia has 189 monasteries and 205 convents, Ukraine 79 monasteries and 76 convents, Belarus seven monasteries and 18 convents, and Moldova 25 monasteries and 24 convents.

Responsible for theological education in Moscow are three seminaries, a theological academy and, last but not least, the St. Tychon Orthodox Humanitarian University. It was upgraded to a university status this year, and presently has 3,732 students.

© 2004 RIA Novosti


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