The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has rejected allegations -- resulting primarily from an exceptionally close church-state relationship -- of a possible official union between his institution and the state, adding that only an independent Church can preach successfully, the Orthodox Church Info blog reports today (November 28, 2013).
"The Church is protecting its own freedom because it is sure that only its independence gives her an opportunity to be a fully-fledged spiritual authority. Any form of merger between the state and the Church is dangerous for God's cause. A sermon sounds loud and convincing only when it is delivered by a free church," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch emphasized that the internal regulations of the Russian Orthodox Church forbid the clergy from assuming any powers among secular authorities. The state, in turn, has no direct leverage to influence the church's policies, he added.
Russia's top cleric noted that the repressions against the Church that took place in Soviet Russia in the first half of the 20th century were largely a result of "the enslavement of the church by the state," possibly hinting at the exclusive role the Russian Orthodox Church played during the Russian Empire, which ended as a result of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.