Moscow, August 29, Interfax - Russian Justice Ministry registered the World Union of Old Believers, chairman of the newlyset organization, permanent member of the Commission for Old Rite parishes at the Moscow Patriarchate Leonid Sevastyanov reports.
"The Union focuses on helping and protecting Old Believers, Old Rite communities and organizations. Old Believers face a range of problems, so we needed to set up a structure to help Old Believers at all levels," Sevastyanov said Thursday in his interview with Interfax.
According to him, the Old Rite followers were the most persecuted community in the Russian history and even today the society experiences a kind of inertia in its relations with Old Believers, therefore they face numerous problems that should be settled.
The head of the newly set organization noted that the union would not interfere in dogmatic and liturgical discords among various old-rite communities, but on the contrary, he considered such a variety healthy.
Commenting how the union will help Old Believers, Sevastyanov said that it would be mostly judicial protection. "Old Believers need help in obtaining permissions on construction of churches and prayer houses, in registering documents and settling conflicts with local authorities," he said and added that the union also plans educational initiatives.
According to Sevastyanov, Old Believers established the modern Russia, and acting Russian Constitution is almost identical to the one promoted by Old Believers early in the 20th century, except the provision on monarchy. He believes that Old Believers stood behind the progress of the Russian culture and the whole "silver age" cannot be imagined without Old Believers.
"Without studying Old Rite tradition we won't be able to understand ourselves. We all are the Old Rite tradition. It is in our genes", head of the World Union of Old Believers said.
Leonid Sevastyanov was born in 1978 in Rostov-on-Don to an Old Rite family. In various years he studied in the Moscow Theological Seminary, Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Georgetown University of Washington, in Oxford University. After coming back to Russia in 2004, he set up the Stratinvestru international PR company. In 2010, was included in the Board of Directors in the Protec pharmaceutical company. He set up a charity foundation of St. Gregory the Theologian in 2009 and was its head till July 2019. Speaks English and Italian. Married, brings up a daughter.