Moscow, January 11, 2011
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia decisively disagrees with those who believe that Orthodoxy is the reason for economic failures and low living standards of Russians.
In particular, last year the renowned TV anchor Vladimir Pozner addressed such reproaches at the Orthodox Church.
"It's a rather strange discussion, people with poor knowledge of history probably participated in it," the Patriarch said in his interview with Rossija 24 TV channel.
To illustrate his words he pointed out that Byzantium was a center of culture, education and sciences and "reached such heights in the Middle Ages as no other country had reached, especially Western countries, which were at that time still wild, barbarian peoples."
Patriarch Kirill noted that Orthodox Russia, at times still called "a nation in bast shoes," had in the 19th century the world's highest GDP, competing with America "as they put it, neck to neck."
Russian peasants did not drink "as it was a sin to drink during the week. Drinking was allowed on feasts, or on Sunday after the Liturgy." The Patriarch noted that "there were no supervisors nearby", but "inner self-control was rooted in moral tradition of the nation."
"And then everything was broken. Eventually, with great efforts, including terror, high economic indicators were reached," the Patriarch said, explaining the further collapse of the USSR with the fact that the "backbone of national life was destroyed" during years of revolution.
"Today our life is worse not because we are Orthodox,
but because we ruined our country and the spiritual
foundation of our life twice in one century.
Protestant countries live better not because they are
Protestant, but because these countries have not been at
war, they developed their economy under more favorable
conditions." In conclusion, the Patriarch expressed
his wish that God "give us reason, so
that we might preserve our political
and social stability, and develop ourselves both
spiritually and economically."