Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, September 19, 2010
"By decision of the Russian president, the institution of military clergy is beginning to develop in Russia. So far we are making the first steps... But since a legal foundation has been laid, I hope that priests will soon appear in the army and the navy," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch met on Sunday with the personnel of the 16th squadron of Pacific Fleet submarines in Kamchatka in the Russian Far East.
According to the patriarch, servicemen need spiritual support.
"This is because risks linked with military service are so great that they cannot be compensated by any material benefits," he said.
According to the Russian defense ministry, two thirds of the country's servicemen consider themselves religious. Some 83% of them are Orthodox Christians, about 8% are Muslims, and 9% represent other confessions.