Moscow, July 7, Interfax - The head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion has reminded what he said when asked during a television program whether Russia should return to monarchic government, and reassured that his remarks did not contain calls for its restoration.
"Can this reply be seen as a call for the restoration of monarchy or a call for a debate on the restoration of monarchy? In my view - no. Unless, of course, you wish to read between the lines," Metropolitan Hilarion told Interfax-Religion.
When asked on the "Church and the World" program aired on Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) channel on July 1, what he personally thought about Russia reverting to monarchy, Metropolitan Hilarion said: "My personal opinion is that the form of government, where a person is anointed as ruler by the clergy and receives not just a mandate from voters to exercise governing powers for a certain period of time, but a sanction from God, through the Church, to his rule (and the rule is for life, until the monarch passes power to his heir), has proved itself favorably in history. It has many advantages in comparison with any election-based forms of government where a person comes in for some specific term."
"On the other hand, absolute monarchies are practically non-existent nowadays. What you see mostly are constitutional monarchies where the monarch normally plays a decorative role. We all know such countries where a monarch cannot sign a single law, has no powers to interfere in the text of a legislative act. Do we need such a monarchy in Russia? I very much doubt that," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
"With regard to the Moscow Patriarchate: first of all, the church's position on forms of government is formulated in the 'Foundations of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church'," the clergyman said. "Effectively, it says that the Church is neutral on which form of government the people choose, that it is loyal towards any government unless the government starts calling for some actions that run counter to the Christian morals. Such is the position of the Church," Metropolitan Hilarion said
"Secondly, one can say that, within our Church, there are groups of people advocating the restoration of monarchy. And I think that if our society one day feels ripe to discuss this issue, the Church will take most active part in that discussion," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
Commenting on the remarks that he made on television, he asked "not to make a sensation out of something that is not a sensation." "My position on the issue of forms of government coincides with the one formulated in the 'Foundations of the social concept'. I have no other position," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
Meanwhile, at a meeting with believers at the Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow on July 4, the head of the patriarchal council for culture, bishop Tikhon of Yegoryevsk dismissed the talk of a real restoration of monarchy in modern day Russia as pointless.