27 May 2019, 11:27
Patriarch Kirill sanctifies Church of All Saints in Strasbourg
Strasburg, May 27, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church builds on average three churches a day, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said.
Thirty thousand churches were built over the past ten years, he said.
The patriarch sanctified the Church of All Saints in Strasbourg on Sunday.
"We now build on average three churches a day, if I'm not mistaken, in 24 hours. Thirty thousand churches over ten years," the patriarch told the flock who had come to the service.
"It's not because we have a lot of money and we don't know what to spend it on. Our people, who have lived through years of atheism, now understand with their mind and heart that nothing works without God," the patriarch said.
"Human soul forces are not enough for the simplest things," he said. "The main idea of the modern civilization is that man can do everything, that he is the main force," the patriarch said. "But the Lord says yes, yes, he has force, but it cannot reach me without my will and involvement," the patriarch said.
"What do we, simple people, need to do? How can we grow in the force of the spirit? Until our first visit to a supermarket, where our goals become earthy?" the patriarch said.
"Our technologically developed civilization needs such places where people can feel their closeness to God," he said.
"We in Russia understand that very well. Most churches were destroyed under the atheist administration, it seemed to many people that there would be no spiritual life in Russia," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch called the construction of the Church of All Saints "a historical event for Strasbourg."
Russians lived through difficult years of atheism, he said. "All forces of the superpower, the USSR, were used to build a happy life without God [...] but it didn't work," he said.
The patriarch said that "time will come" in the West "when people will realize a huge need for their spiritual life to become stronger.'
Strasbourg mayor Roland Ries, who attended the service, said that orthodox Christians had held services "in a remodeled garage" before the church was built. The mayor later told reporters the policy of the city administration "is to respect all religious and to give people of all religions the right to have their churches." "All people have equal rights and equal duties here," he said.
Responding to a question as to whether the difficult relations between Russia and the West have reflected on the construction of the church, the mayor said: "We did not have any debate on this matter. On the contrary, residents of the quarter, including me, supported the idea of building the church."
The construction of the Church of All Saints and a parish spiritual-cultural center began in 2013. The land site for the construction was leased by Strasbourg to the Russian Orthodox community for 99 years. The construction was financed with private donations.
"Donations for the construction were made not only by our parishioners, but also by people from different countries of the world. Many donations came from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. But there were also money transfers from the United States, Canada, Poland, the UK and even Japan," Hegumen Filipp (Ryabykh), father superior of the church, who represents the Russian Orthodox Church in the Council of Europe, said.
He was made an archimandrite before the sanctification of the church.
The tent-shaped church is intended for 300 people. Its height, including the cross, is 41 meters.