Moscow, October 27, 2016
During a meeting of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill with the members of the seventh “Faith and Word” international festival the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church was asked several questions. When asked what criteria to use to in running an ecclesial information service in a quality and professional manner, especially in the sphere of charity and social work, the patriarch answered:
“I believe one should adhere to the following rule: like any other activity, social work in the Church is a ministry which should not be used for personal-PR. My heart really aches as I see this pattern of behavior in clergymen of any rank. When you see that the main thing is PR, that the highest priority is your own ego, you come to understand that these ‘good works’ will contribute neither to the salvation of your soul nor to your personal success. This is what I would like to say to all those who hear me. People who use Church ministry for the sake of their own self-PR should remember this fact: they will attain no success. A Church career depends not only on us—it also depends on God. But whatever position you may hold—a sister of mercy, a theology student, a deacon, a priest, a bishop—if you serve for the Church’s sake, not trying to score points from it, then your modest labor will definitely be blessed by the Lord. Such people will gain a great deal, and first of all they will get the deepest inner satisfaction.”
“I think there can be only one criterion here: no Church ministry, including social ministry, should be used for personal purposes. Otherwise it will be harmful. As a matter of fact, in secular society good works are seen in the same way. For everybody sees the behavior of such people very clearly, especially the behavior of those who frequently speak on TV. People unmistakably feel what one or another benefactor is engaged in, whether he really strives to help others or simply works for himself. This phenomenon must not exist in the Church. I would like to be heard by everyone today: by those who practice works of charity and by those who engage in activities in other spheres of Church life. If we serve God, then there can be no double entry bookkeeping; our ministry cannot be both for the glory of God and for our personal interests. This is what I can say in answer to the question,” the patriarch emphasized.