Patriarch Kirill proposes adding reference to God to Russian constitution

Moscow, February 3, 2020

Photo: RIA-Novosti Photo: RIA-Novosti     

“The majority of Russian citizens believe in God. I’m not only talking about the Orthodox—I’m also talking about Muslims and many others,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at a reception on February 1 on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of his enthronement as Patriarch, calling a reference to God to be added to the Russian constitution.

After all, the Russian national anthem, one of the state symbols of the country, contains the words, “God-protected native land,” His Holiness said. “So why can’t this be said in our constitution?” he asked.

“Let us pray and work so God would be mentioned in our foundational law,” His Holiness urged.

“This is not yet the case, but I think that through joint efforts and prayers we will help to ensure that such a lofty idea as faith in God, which forms the moral, personal, social, and political, would be included in our constitution,” Pat. Kirill said.

Andrei Klishas, Co-chairman of the working group on preparing proposals for amendments to the constitution and Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, told RIA-Novosti that the Patriarch’s request will be considered.

First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation Michael Emelyanov noted that the Patriarch’s proposal does not contradict the separation of Church and state enshrined in article 14 of the constitution, as he did not call for Orthodoxy to become the official state religion, but to reference belief in God which is common to nearly all Russians.

Sergei Gavrilov, head of the State Duma Committee on Civil Society Development and Issues of Religious and Public Associations, commented that God is mentioned in the hymn [of Russia], and the majority in our country respect this hymn, whether Orthodox, Muslims, or Jews.”

He noted that a broad discussion is needed to discuss possible amendments to the constitution, including mentioning God.

However, not all Deputies have positively evaluated the Patriarch’s proposal. For example, Irina Kirkora, Deputy Chairman of the Presidential Council for Human Rights and a member of the working group on preparing proposals for amendments to the Constitution, noted that there are also atheists in Russia for whom such an amendment would be unacceptable.

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2/3/2020

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