Minimally edited machine translation.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) calls for the elimination of "guru-ism" among the Orthodox
The head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed concern about the existence of false teachers among the Orthodox.
"The penetration of sectarian thinking and way of life in the Church is still a reality. One of the characteristic features of such thinking is guru-ism, or "deification" of a spiritual leader, so typical of totalitarian sects," - said Metropolitan Hilarion in a message to participants of an inter-Orthodox Action Network meeting for the Study of Religions and Sects held in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, reports "Interfax" on Oct. 2.
According to the influential ROC MP hierarch, as has been noted in the official documents of the Church, "some pseudo-pastors under the guise of a falsely understood notion of spiritual direction, abuse the trust of their flock, making a disastrous substitution -- trying to bring spiritual children not to Christ, but to themselves."
Hilarion noted that even among monastics, where denial of self will and having full confidence in their Starets is one of the prerequisites for spiritual growth, a novice must move away from his teacher, if he does not lead him to Christ.
"Guru-ism -- whether it be in destructive cults or in traditional religions -- not only causes problems in the spiritual development of an individual, but it has the effect of severely deforming social relations," - states the document published online by DECR MP.
Metropolitan Hilarion said that instead of teaching people responsibility before God and community, "and thus to the Motherland", false teachers nurture in their students a proud self-elevation and in contrast to others, a desire to isolate themselves from society. "
"All these negative developments must be countered by a clear understanding of the pastoral challenges facing the Church as well as the intelligent practices of pastoral care of the faithful, aimed at forming a truly free and moral individual in the image and likeness of God, one who is responsible before God and neighbor.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]