Showing posts with label Dmitri Medvedev. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dmitri Medvedev. Show all posts

Friday, February 18, 2011

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev visits Pope at the Vatican

Analyst Notes New Era of Russia-Vatican Relations

By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience today Dmitry Medvedev, the president of Russia, during which the two spoke of a mutual desire to strengthen bilateral relations and collaborate in the promotion of human and Christian values.

A Vatican press statement released after the meeting stated that the "cordial" discussions also addressed "the positive contribution interreligious dialogue can make to society," as well as "the international situation, with particular reference to the Middle East."

Medvedev, accompanied by the minister for foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, also met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.

Robert Moynihan, the founder and editor of the monthly magazine "Inside the Vatican," told ZENIT that he considers the meeting to be a confirmation of a new era of collaboration between Russia and the Catholic Church.

"I find this meeting between the president of Russia and Benedict XVI a highly visible confirmation of a multi-year process of ever-improving relations between Russia and the Vatican," said Moynihan. "The two leaders are not talking about theological matters; they are talking about values, about how Russia and the Catholic Church can work together in the cultural and social field."

He continued: "I note that this meeting in Rome takes place just after a week-long visit of Russian orthodox metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, to the United States, where he met with Protestant evangelical as well as U.S. government and Catholic leaders in New York, Washington and Dallas.


"Hilarion delivered precisely this same message everywhere he went in the United States: that Russia is ready to collaborate with the West on cultural and social matters such as support for marriage and the traditional family."

Clear message

"I see Medvedev's visit to the Pope in this context," added Moynihan, who is considered to be an expert in Russia-Vatican relations. "The message seems clear: Russian leaders are taking the initiative to reach out to the West with proposals of cultural and social collaboration. It seems to be a plan.

"In any case, it is one of the most interesting phenomena on the global cultural and political scene, and the pope's meeting with Medvedev is a punctuation mark in this process."

Moynihan said the next step "is still not clear, but I suspect it will be concrete cultural and social initiatives in which western Christians and others of good will will create structures to work with the Russians on some of the great moral challenges of our time."

"And I think," he added, "uniting the financial and spiritual strength of a resurgent Russia seeking its identity with the strength of the Catholics and evangelicals of the West could have dramatic consequences for the impact and success of what we may call those 'traditional values' initiatives in the years ahead."

"The next steps to watch for will be the launching of concrete common efforts, and then a meeting between the Pope and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kirill, perhaps in two years time," Moynihan concluded. "But there are many forces opposed to this developing alliance, so there are likely to be many potholes and obstacles on the road toward truly effective and culture-changing Russian-Vatican collaboration."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Russia’s Plan To Introduce Religion in Schools Lauded


From The Christian Post
By Gretta Curtis


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced a pilot project Tuesday that will require schoolchildren to take classes in religion or secular ethics, the Associated Press reported.

Medvedev said pre-teen students at about 12,000 schools in 18 Russian regions would take the classes. They will be offered the choice of studying the dominant Russian Orthodox religion, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism, or of taking an overview of all four faiths, or a course in secular ethics.

The proposal is believed to be part of a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

Patriarch Kirill, leader of 100 million Orthodox Christians in Russia has praised the proposal and said, “All the concerns society has expressed will be addressed by this freedom of choice,” reported Reuters.

Russian Orthodox Church has been pushing the idea of introducing religious education in schools though church and state are officially separate under the post-Soviet constitution.

Three years ago some regions have taken the initiative on their own and required courses in Russian Orthodoxy, stirring protests that they were infringing on constitutional boundaries.

Brushing aside the concerns of some non-religious peoples who fear that it is a way of imposing Orthodox Church ideology, Medvedev said, “Students and their parents must be allowed to choose freely,” while addressing top clerics and officials at his residence outside Moscow.

“Any coercion, pressure will be absolutely unacceptable and counterproductive,” he said.

The President also insisted that the proposal is “only” the four faiths excluding other faiths, especially Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, which the Orthodox Church accuses of proselytising.

Medvedev said the national program would begin next year as a pilot project in 18 regions, covering about 20 percent of Russia's schools.

Over 80 percent Russians are believed to be members of the Russian Orthodox Church, however according to CIA world fact book said only about 15 to 20 percent as practicing Orthodox Christians. And minorities Christians like Roman Catholics and Protestants have often complained of not being able to practice their faith freely.

Earlier this year, the appointment of Aleksandr Dvorkin as chair of Expert Council on Religious Studies raised concern for non-Orthodox Christians, fearing that Russia might return to a “Soviet era” persecution of Christians.

Dvorkin, who is critical of non-Orthodox Christians was given “unprecedented powers” by the Ministry of Justice, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The move prompted USCIRF to add Russia to its watch list for the first time despite having monitored the country’s religious freedom for ten years.



Monday, July 6, 2009

Russia Wants Full Diplomatic Ties With Holy See


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has told Italian reporters that his government hopes to establish full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Although Moscow and the Vatican do exchange diplomatic representatives, they do not have official status as ambassadors. Medvedev remarked that establishing full diplomatic ties would be a "perfectly normal" step.

Archbishp Antonio Mennini, the apostolic nuncio in Moscow, confirmed that talks are already underway, and full diplomatic ties could come quickly.

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