Moscow, November 5, 2015
Radical nationalists are jeopardizing the unity of the Russian world, including that of Russians and Ukrainians, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said.
"The most terrible threat to the Russian world is extreme nationalism and the reluctance to uniting with someone identified as coming from a different ethnicity or culture," the patriarch told a World Congress of Compatriots in Moscow on Thursday.
The Church was and remains "the guardian of people's unity" by not allowing a split on ethnic, territorial or political grounds, he said.
"Perhaps, it is no coincidence that today some forces, including far-right nationalists in Ukraine, have focused their efforts on weakening our Church, because they definitely know: as long as there is the common spiritual space, no sovereignties, borders or economic differences can destroy the internal common spirit of our people," the Church leader said.
The Russian Orthodox Church, like no other organization, "has suffered from acts of extreme nationalist forces, including those feeding their negative energy into the fratricidal conflict in Ukraine," the patriarch said.
He also touched upon the subject of Russian emigration, saying that common prayer and the spiritual life of people often unite them "stronger than the bonds of blood kinship."
"Where one has no faith, passports change quickly, the motherland gets forgotten, and for the sake of earning a higher salary a person severs ties with the cradle in which he was born. But the devout retain this link because their spiritual life is centered on the Church, participation in Church sacraments, in common prayer, in the life of a parish, a community, and this, of course, is of very great importance, not least for the social unification of the Russian emigre community," the patriarch said.
He urged the multimillion Russian diaspora "to guard as a gem the unity with their historical homeland, with one another, the unity of the Church which has always been together with its people both in and outside the Fatherland."