Moscow, November 14, 2017
Speaking on the television program “What To Do?” the chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and Society and the Media Vladimir Legoida strongly ruled out the possibility of the Church’s involvement in the fight for political power, reports Orthodoxy in Tatarstan.
“If viewing the question of power as a central question of politics, then, of course, the Church should not interfere in it. The Church does not fight for political power—this is a fundamental principle,” Legoida stated.
“As for elections, of course it is unacceptable, in particular, to call for voting for a concrete candidate. It seems to me that even in a private conversation a priest can share who he is going to vote for only if he is asked. And even then, not always,” the Church representative continued.
However, to call for the faithful to participate in elections is, according to Legoida, an entirely acceptable form of the Church’s participation in the public life of the country.
“To call to come to the polls, it seems to me, is perfectly fine, because, as long as we’re speaking of high civic responsibility, and about the need for people to study to decide their own destiny, then the Church and the clergy certainly can call for participation in elections, if the life of society depends on the results,” Vladimir Legoida concluded.
The departmental head broached a similar subject a few years ago. Addressing the topic of supposed infractions surrounding elections in 2011, he also spoke to the direct participation of the clergy in any political acts, noting that a priest should always first and foremost remember his service to Christ and his pastoral duty, which commands that he accept people with different views.
“In the Church and only in the Church can people stand together who have all different political preferences, communing with the Body and Blood of Christ from one chalice, and the work of a priest is to bring peace to souls tormented by enmity and hate. I hope that this is how it will always be,” Legoida stated.