The Foreign Ministry said Moscow would expand its spiritual presence in other countries
Moscow, February 1 – Gennady Askaldovich, the special envoy of the Russian Foreign Minister for cooperation in ensuring the right to freedom of religion, said that Moscow intends to expand its spiritual presence in friendly countries, and to build Orthodox churches in Southeast Asia and Africa.
“Now there are plans to build Orthodox church buildings in Southeast Asian countries, as well as in a number of African countries. Within its competence, the Russian Foreign Ministry will provide this process with information, consultations and other support,” the diplomat said. He said.
He added, “Russia considers countries that have not joined the West’s frenzied streak of Russophobia as promising areas for growth, and we are, of course, interested in seeing the spiritual presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in this area only expanding.”
Askaldovich stressed that Moscow does not view the Church as a tool of foreign policy, like the West.
“Russian Orthodoxy is our traditional religion, based on millennia of traditions and values, and, let’s say, the carrier of our” institutional memory “. And we are interested in the fact that the foundations of our worldview, on which Orthodoxy is based, are so widespread in the world, “- he explained.
The diplomat added that the Russian Orthodox Church will continue to develop bilateral relations with world religions and increase the number of its churches and parishes abroad.
Askaldovich noted that at the end of 2021, about 100 Orthodox priests of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church, who disagreed with the support of Ukrainian dissidents from the Alexandrian Patriarchate, were accepted into the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the African Patriarchate. The Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was established, and this work acquired a more focused and concrete character.
He noted that the ROC has always been interested in the African continent – a positive attitude towards Russia has always been maintained there, many compatriots live there.
“For their part, Russian diplomatic missions, within the framework of their respective competences, are ready to assist the Russian Orthodox Church in carrying out its mission on the African continent … Assistance is provided in legal registration of rights for religious activity, as well as in resolving a number of organizational and everyday issues. Of course, there is a global mission promising to build Orthodox churches on the territory of a number of states, which requires additional agreements, solid financial investments and a certain amount of time,” he explained.
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