Russian Church body identifies professions forbidden for clergy, document to be examined by Bishops’ Council

Moscow, May 31, 2021

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Meeting at Christ the Savior Cathedral under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill last week, the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a document on professions that are forbidden for clergy.

The document, “On the Secular Work of Clergy,” was adopted following a thorough discussion by the Inter-Council Presence—a body of hierarchical, clerical, and lay representatives of the Church tasked with the discussion of issues raised at sessions of the Local Council of the Russian Church.

The document will then be sent on to be examined and adopted or rejected by the Bishops’ Council of the Russian Church.

Professions identified include acting, show business, and work in a prosecutor’s office or court, Abbess Xenia of St. Alexis Monastery in Moscow, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s legal department, told RIA-Novosti.

Work in a prosecutor’s office or secular court “obviously contradicts the very essence of pastoral activity,” Mother Xenia explained.

The document also prohibits clergy from holding positions as state or municipal employees, which is already forbidden by Russian law as well, the abbess added.

In January 2017, all dioceses of the Russian Church received the document, “Professions Compatible and Incompatible with the Priesthood,” to enable discussion throughout the Church. All were welcome to discuss and comment on the document on several Russian Church websites. The Inter-Council Presence also discussed the document in July 2017.

The Inter-Council Presence also adopted a document identifying several types of ecclesiastical offenses at its most recent session, OrthoChristian reported last week.

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