2496Patriarchate Insists On Religious Courses
- Jan 31, 20052005.01.28 Vremya Novostei:
Patriarchate Insists On Religious Courses
The Russian Orthodox Church is continuing to insist on the introduction
of a religion course on to the school program. In the past, religious
leaders were cautious about voicing their demands, but yesterday,
Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, who heads the Moscow
Patriarchate's administration openly demanded that Bible studies be put on
the curriculum. Vremya Novostei quotes him as saying, "There is nothing to
fear," as he referred to school practices in Western Europe.
The metropolitan proposed introducing the religious course on a voluntary
basis. He believes Orthodox religion should be taught at schools in regions
where the majority of the population is Orthodox, whereas the basics of
Islam should be taught in regions where the population is predominantly Muslim.
He insists that the introduction of religious courses will not threaten
the secular character of education in Russian schools.
Metropolitan Kliment believes a religious studies course proposed by the
Education Ministry will be too hard for children to follow. The course on
the Church's basics of the Orthodox culture, on the contrary, will allow
pupils to get acquainted with moral principles of Orthodoxy, understand the
historical roots of the Russian culture and the Orthodox mindset of Russian
The Moscow Patriarchate has been asking the authorities to allow
religious studies at schools for a long time. However, the Church and the
State still have not come to an agreement on the issue. In the last three
years, the Education Ministry sometimes seemed to have succumbed to the
demands of religious leaders, and sometimes distanced itself from the
Church, insisting on the secular character of state education.
Education Minister Andrei Fursenko sticks to a compromise position. He is
willing to allow religious courses at schools if they are taught by secular
teachers as part of the history and culture curriculum. Recently, the
minister confirmed his decision when he visited the regions.
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