Eternal Values – the Foundation of the Russian Identity

28.01.2011, 04.55

By Itar-Tass World Service writer Lyudmila Alexandrova

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has begun the new year with a series of bold initiatives that have generated extensive public response.

The head of the Synodal Department for Church-Society Relations, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, has presented a set of "eternal Russian values" – a conceptual view of what, in its opinion, is the moral basis of the country. Together with a number of Russian church youth groups the ROC issued a number of recommendations to improve inter-ethnic relations and migration policies in Russia.

In addition, Chaplin called for the introduction of a universal dress code for women and men.

The church project for eternal values, developed in cooperation with political parties, is a list that enumerates social virtues of importance. It includes eight items.

The co-author of the concept, Archpriest Chaplin, hopes that the draft will "fill the vacuum of values in society." So far the ROC has merely urged policy makers and the "wider social strata" to discuss the document. The list of values may be complemented with something or even cleared of some things.

In the first place the list mentions justice, in the second, freedom, then there goes solidarity, collegiality, self-restraint and self-sacrifice, patriotism, human well-being and family values.


On the very first day the document was widely and fairly acidly commented on on the Internet, says Rossiyskaya Gazeta. For example, many bloggers were surprised to see that such a value as "patriotism" is in sixth position on the list.

"The Synodal Department for Church-Society Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate this year is unrecognizable," writes the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. "Its head, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, keeps Russia’s Orthodox Christians in constant amazement. Almost every week he comes out with unforgettable initiatives. The document called Svod Vechnikh Tsennostei  (Eternal Values – Foundation of Russian Identity) – is one of the most bold ones, and also one of the most enigmatic projects of the newly elected leadership of the ROC."

MOSCOW | Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:31pm EST

MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) – God is absent from a new spiritual guide the Russian Orthodox Church is drafting in tandem with Russia’s ruling party, a newspaper said on Thursday.

Instead justice, patriotism and solidarity top the list of the guideline, dubbed "Eternal Values: The foundation of Russian Identity, which the Church is to publish with the dominant United Russia party, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The moral guide lists the values in order of their importance in the eyes of the church and the party: 1. justice, 2. freedom, 3. solidarity, 4. unity, 5. self-restraint and sacrifice, 6. patriotism, 7. welfare and 8. love, the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported.

The paper cited Church spokesman, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, as saying the principles were based on how strongly they are "rooted in God’s truth and in the life experiences that remain constant."

The Orthodox Church has gained substantially in power in Russia since the fall of communism, forming close ties with Russia’s political elite.

But its dominance has drawn criticism from rights groups who say it’s growing political role undermines Russia’s secular constitution.

Earlier this month, the Church outraged Russian feminists by proposing that women dress more modestly.

(Additional reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; writing by Lidia Kelly, editing by Paul Casciato)


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