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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: the 16th Patriarch

Thursday, August 26, 2010 · Category Religion · comments 1


Metropolitan Kirill was born on 20 November 1946 in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). His secular name was Vladimir Gundyaev. Both his father and grandfather were priests. "I wanted to be a priest even when I was a child" he said in one interview. The "quiet man of prayer" has made way for the "efficient manager". A small inside.

In Church circles in Russia and abroad, Kirill is known as a man of broad erudition, profound knowledge and intellectual prowess. He has published and presented over six hundred papers and written several books. Somewhat unexpectedly for a top cleric, His Eminence has a penchant for sports. After work, Kirill dons a tracksuit and walks his dogs. On vacation, he swims a couple of miles non-stop every day. In winter, he enjoys downhill skiing. The Patriarch says this has been his passion for the last forty-three years.

Patriarch Kirill Quotations

On Vladimir Putin:
"I not only trust that Vladimir Putin is a true believer, I can actually sense it. As for his KGB past, I think everyone has the right to make their own choice in life."

On relations with other religions:
"Only by hearing out Muslims can we make out the sense of modern Islam. Yet understanding others does not mean betrayal of oneґs own identity."

On the financial crisis:
"This is God's judgment on human wickedness and greed for money at any cost."

On the fiscal system:
"Our Church insists on progressive income taxation and we have been ahead of all political parties in this. We strongly advocate imposing a luxury tax."On NATO: "Our instinct for self-preservation compels us to remonstrate against NATO's expansion to the East."

On oligarchs:
"The modern capitalist system run by monopolies and oligarchs is doomed. It would inevitably collapse under the enormous pressure of the internal conflicts and massive social protests it has been generating worldwide. Over the past twenty years alone, the gap between the rich and poor has widened dramatically, the global economy has been constantly teetering on the brink of financial crisis and millions of people still have no access to the benefits of civilisation. Simply speaking, this economic policy is anything but ethical."

On relations with the Vatican:
"The Russian Orthodox Church takes the same stand as before on the issue of a meeting between the Patriarch and the Pope. Our position ensues from the specific context of relations between the two Churches and that has nothing to do with the personalities of their respective leaders. The meeting between head of our Church and the Pope will only be possible when we see some real progress in resolving those issues that have upset our relations for a long time."

On human rights:
"The view of abortion as a womanґs right makes international organisations ignore the unborn babyґs right to life. Ethics are out of the picture when experiments are carried out on the human embryo. Even more astounding is that some people propose to include euthanasia as a human right. Human rights, which begin with the fundamental right to life, might soon be supporting death."

On clergy:
"Becoming lukewarm and fixated on formal rites are the two greatest dangers for a clergyman. Spiritual leaders must not turn into ritualists, considering it their primary, if not only, duty to recite public prayers, perform funeral services, bless around peopleґs cars and apartments. Likewise, they must not be bogged down in administrative or economic activities... A good shepherd does not carry this burden alone but shares it with the flock, without losing any of his authority or the final word as leader of the church community."


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