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2496Patriarchate Insists On Religious Courses

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Jan 31, 2005
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      2005.01.28 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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