Patriarch Kirill spoke about the relations of Church and state in Russia

Глава РПЦ рассказал об отношениях церкви и государства в России

The level of Church-state relations in Russia “in many ways similar to the European average”, these relations are based on independence and cooperation, said the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.

The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on Saturday for the first time will arrive with his primatial visit to France. Ahead of the visit he gave an interview to the French newspaper Le Figaro, which leads Saturday, the Patriarchal press service.

“The relationship of Church and state built on independence and co-operation in those areas where it suits the interests of Orthodox citizens. The level of freedom that we use not only unprecedented compared with the Soviet time, but with the Synodal period in the Russian Empire, when the Church was reduced to the level of the Ministry of spiritual Affairs”, — said the Patriarch.

To the remark of a French journalist about how “not too close to the politics of the Russian Church”, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church suggested that the Church in modern Russia is indeed “closer to the state and society than it was in the days when clergy and believers were in concentration camps, forcibly placed in psychiatric hospitals, the churches were blown up or turned into barns”.

“I hope not this situation is desirable for those who accuses us of “proximity to political power.” The level of Church-state relations in our country in many ways similar to the European average,” — said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

However, he noted that in Russia there is no state Church, as, for example, in the UK or Denmark; and the Russian Orthodox Church performs public functions for the registration of marriages, as in some Northern European countries.

“The state does not perform for us the functions of agent for the collection of Church taxes, as in Germany. The Russian President does not approve the appointment of bishops, as does the President of France in Alsace, according to the Concordat of 1801. Moreover, our priests do not receive a salary from the state in Russia, but receive a salary in Belgium, where our clergy,” — said Kirill.

In General, according to which led the Patriarch for 25 years in Russia was opened almost 30 thousand churches and only in the last seven years — 5 thousand. “The revival of Church life in the countries of historical Rus’ was a true miracle to overcome the dark days of the rebellion,” — said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.