Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
2. To give legal advice to believers when their civil rights are infringed.
3. To appeal to state institutions concerning the defence of believers' rights.
4. To conduct research, as far as this is possible, to clarify the legal and factual position of religion in the USSR.
5. To assist in putting Soviet legislation on religion into practice.

The Committee has no political aims. It is loyal to Soviet laws. The Committee is ready to cooperate with social and state organizations, in so far as such cooperation can help in improving the position of believers in the USSR.

The Committee is made up of members of the Russian Orthodox Church. For centuries, Orthodoxy was the State religion in our country. Orthodox churchmen often allowed the State to use forcible methods to restrict the religious freedom of other denominations. As we acknowledge that any use of compulsion against people on the grounds that they are not Orthodox or belong to a different faith is contrary to the Christian spirit, we consider it our especial duty to take the initiative in defending the religious freedom of all believers in our country, regardless of denomination.

We ask our fellow Christians to pray that God may help us in our human frailty.

Source: Religion in Communist Lands, Vol. VI, No. 1 ( 1978), pp. 33-34.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 174.


176
Appeal to the Ecumenical Patriarch by the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers' Rights (Extracts) April 11, 1978

In April 1978 the Orthodox Church undertook a formal celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the restoration of the patriarchate (after the long interruption begun by Peter the Great in 1700). In contrast to the official commemoration, the CCDBR seized the occasion to publish an open appeal to the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, Demetrios, detailing the sufferings of the Russian church under Soviet oppression. The committee not only criticized the hierarchy for serving the atheist, state and failing to defend the faithful, but raised a fundamental theological issue: Were not the hierarchs, in their segregation of cult and Christian life, guilty of separating the two natures of Christ, in a manner reminiscent of ancient Christological heresies?

From Religion in Communist Lands, Vol. VII, No. 2 ( 1979). Copyright, 1979, by Keston College, publisher. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

-466-

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