Moscow, September 29, 2017
The Moscow Patriarchate has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in connection with the U.S. Department of State’s report on the supposed infringement of religious freedoms in Russia, Deputy Chairman Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov) of the Department for External Church Relations (DECR) reported to RIA-Novosti today.
“The letter was sent to the U.S. embassy to be given to the addressee,” Archimandrite Philaret said, adding that it is not an “open letter.”
According to Fr. Philaret, after the Secretary of State receives the DECR’s letter, there will be a report on the department’s site “on the basic positions of the Russian Church in connection with the report, as presented in the letter.”
The head of the DECR’s division for interreligious activities Fr. Dimitry Saphonov previously stated at a press conference that the Church was preparing a letter to Tillerson in connection with the Dept. of State’s “biased report” on religious freedoms in Russia, and Washington’s complete disregard for the ongoing persecution of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine.
In particular, as the DECR notes, the report include “no mention of the numerous cases arson of churches, the beating of priests, and the legislation being prepared for reception in Ukraine today, which are completely discriminatory to all religious associations that do not have their centers in Ukraine.”