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For Moscow Patriarchate, living in poverty is a danger for clergy

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.asianews.it/news-en/For-Moscow-Patriarchate,-living-in-poverty-is-a-danger-for-clergy-28410.html 07/08/2013 18:28 RUSSIA For Moscow Patriarchate,
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      http://www.asianews.it/news-en/For-Moscow-Patriarchate,-living-in-poverty-is-a-danger-for-clergy-28410.html

      07/08/2013 18:28
      RUSSIA
      For Moscow Patriarchate, living in poverty is a danger for clergy
      by Nina Achmatova

      Archpriest Chaplin calls on believers to avoid the trap of secular
      forces who want to lower the social status of the priests through
      appeals to poverty in order to turn them into social outcasts, something
      that is happening "among Catholics".

      Moscow (AsiaNews) - Excess wealth, as well as the extreme poverty among
      the clergy should be viewed as both bad for the Russian Orthodox Church,
      this according to Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Moscow
      Patriarchate Department for Coordinating Church and Society. He spoke as
      the controversy over the lifestyle of Russia's Church hierarchy heated
      up following a series of accidents involving clergymen driving luxury cars.

      "Of course, most emphatically, the clergy mustn't succumb to the
      consumerist notion that we see today," Chaplin said at a public meeting
      on the public perception of the Russian Orthodox Church's image in society.

      "Affluence and access to material goods can cause stratification within
      the clergy, dividing them into rich and poor. This is very bad," he
      warned. Indeed, ordinary people "internally rebel when they see an
      affluent clergyman", he added.

      At the same time, however, Chaplin doesn't believe that "it's beneficial
      to the Church if the clergy become marginalised outcasts". This might
      lead to the "diminution of the clergy's status" as is the case among
      Catholics and Protestants, due to the fact that "secular forces squeezed
      them out and made them social outcasts."

      "The same thing could happen with us... . It'll drive priests crazy or
      force them into the labour market if we allow the notion that clergy
      should live in miserable poverty to settle amongst us."

      "In Russia, Greece and all Orthodox territory," he explained, "priests
      had a standard of living usually slightly higher than the average of the
      working class."

      According to Chaplin, a priest living in need constantly forced to beg
      brings "shame to his flock and to the community of the faithful."

      The meeting, held last Friday, also saw the presentation of survey
      results from the independent 'Sreda' centre indicating that most
      Russians believe that the Orthodox clergy lives in luxury and that they
      would prefer to see their priests more open to their fellow man, and
      less attached to material things.

      On Saturday, a day after Chaplin spoke, Pope Francis told a meeting of
      thousands of seminarians from around the world that "It really hurts, I
      tell you, when I see a priest or a nun in the latest model car. That
      cannot be!"

      There are, within the Orthodox Church hierarchy, growing fears that the
      'lifestyle' of the clergy might be to the Patriarchate what the
      paedophile clergy issue is to the Vatican, anonymous sources told AsiaNews.

      Still, Pope Francis's calls for a more sober lifestyle have appeal in
      Russia. After he was elected many in media wondered when Patriarch
      Kirill might pronounce similar words.
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