Saturday, September 08, 2007

Russian Orthodox Bishop Says Christianity is Necessary for Europe to Survive

Calls Christianity "a powerful source of support for European civilization"

By Meg Jalsevac

ROMANIA, September 7, 2007 ( - In an address to the Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu this week, outspoken Russian Orthodox Bishop Kirill said that in order for Europe to survive the tribulations that have befallen previous civilizations, it must retain its Christian identity.

According to a report on, Kirill explained that an increasing amount of Europeans Christians and non-Christians alike have come to recognize "Christianity [as] a powerful source of support for European civilization."

He was careful to explain that this does not imply that "there is no room" in Europe "for people of other religions and with other outlooks on the world." Rather, it points to the "recognition of the high role of the Christian faith in the past, present and future of our continent.

"Considered a 'high up' in the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Kirill serves as bishop of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and is the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations. According to the website of the Russian Orthodox Church, Bishop Kirill has authored more than 200 works on religious and secular issues and hosts a popular weekly TV program.

This is not the first time that Kirill has been highlighted in the media. Kirill met with Pope Benedict not long after Benedict's appointment and some assert that Kirill is working to heal the rift between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

According to Kirill, "In the Vatican and not only in the Vatican but all over the world, Catholics understand that Orthodox (people) are their allies. And Orthodox (people) are more and more coming to understand that Catholics are their allies in the face of hostile and non-religious secularism."

Kirill has also been outspoken in his condemnation of homosexuality saying, "When the declaration of human rights was made no-one in their worst nightmare could imagine a gay parade in Jerusalem."


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