The Russian Church considers the question of fair elections important, and urges people to avoid provocation

Moscow, December 10, 2011

The Church should pray for peace and people’s salvation, while the civil authorities should, “be attentive to all, both the satisfied and the dissatisfied; they should not allow a violation of citizen’s rights, and also seriously show respect for the will of all the people,” declared the chairman of the Synodal Information Department of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Legoida. “Whether to participate or not in sanctioned demonstrations is a matter of each responsible citizen’s personal choice. It goes without saying that people must refrain from actions that are illegal and have a provocative character. The Church prays that there would not be violence coming from either side. The preservation of civil peace is an important task of our society”, said Vladimir Legoida on Friday to a correspondent of Interfax – Religion, commenting on the events taking place in a number of cities in Russia against the recent election results.

In his opinion, those who are now talking about a falsification of election results should operate using facts and evidence, and act “exclusively within the field of law.”

The chairman of the Synodal Information Department related that reports of proposed infractions at elections are also reaching church institutions. They are all given to the Department of Church-Society Relations and will be carefully reviewed by specialists of that Department, drawing upon the aid of experts from the human rights center of the All-world Russian National Council—an authoritative Church-society organization.

If these appeals show real facts and contain evidence, they will be brought to the attention of the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and given to the Church Information Department, Vladimir Legoida assured.

In his opinion, “It is extremely important now to factually establish the truth, and have respect for people and for their choice.”

“The Church has always supported the truth, for any lie is morally unacceptable and should not remain without legal consequences, regardless of who the source of that lie is, or who is spreading it—the supporters of or the opposition against the released results of the recent elections,” stressed Mr. Legoida.

As for the direct participation of the clergy in any political acts, the Church representative wished to remind 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,” concluded the chairman of the Synodal Information Department, reports


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