Wednesday, September 26, 2007

RUSSIA: Compulsory Orthodox lessons to continue, Belgorod official insists

This article was published by F18News on: 25 September 2007

By Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18 News Service

Pastor Andrei Karchev of Kingdom of God Pentecostal Church objects to the compulsory Orthodox Culture classes which have just begun again in schools in his home region of Belgorod for the second year running. "When only one confession is taught - when the textbook emphasises that only Orthodox Christians are Christians while others are sects – in our opinion, this is bad," he complained to Forum 18 News Service. However, Karchev notes that although the subject is officially compulsory, unofficially he and other parents have been able to withdraw their children from the classes. Such children's grades suffer as they get no mark for the subject. Another local Protestant pastor pointed out to Forum 18 that not all teachers in Belgorod Region follow the Russian Orthodox line. "One said openly that she doesn't believe in God, but they've been told to teach the subject." Olga Yeliseyeva, the specialist on Orthodox Culture at Belgorod Regional Education Authority, insisted to Forum 18 that the region has no intention of halting teaching of the subject.

The authorities in the south-western region of Belgorod have no intention of halting compulsory instruction in Orthodox Culture to some 140,000 state school pupils, a local educational official has insisted to Forum 18 News Service. Olga Yeliseyeva, the specialist on Orthodox Culture at Belgorod Regional Education Authority, pointed out to Forum 18 that educational reforms currently under review in Russia's federal parliament passed only their first reading on 11 September. "They could still be changed," she remarked to Forum 18 on 24 September.

Belgorod is the Russian region that has gone furthest in promoting the Foundations of Orthodox Culture subject, the initiative of the Russian Orthodox Church. Elsewhere in Russia, the situation is more patchy, ....READ THE REST HERE:


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