Orthodox countries joining EU should not change values – Russian church

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, November 28, 2013) The Moscow Patriarchate has called on Orthodox countries, including Russia, not to allow EU influence to change them as they conduct dialogue, but to suggest the EU itself change.

“Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria, as members of a strong and self-sufficient civilization, have a right, when they gain accession to the Council of Europe, to demand its Western members begin forming the organization from scratch, changing a lot of the things that are characteristic of Western Europe but not so much of Eastern Europe,” the head of the [Russian Orthodox Church’s] synodal section for relations between the church and the public, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin wrote in a an article published on the Interfax-Religion website on Thursday [28 November].

In the same spirit, any negotiations with the European Union should start “not with listening submissively to someone’s lectures but with a question: what is the European Union willing to change about itself in order to be able to accommodate both the western and eastern sociopolitical tradition on a parity basis?”, he added.

“The western model of democracy is currently adopted by a minority of the planet’s population. This has to be recognized as proof that it is not the only model in existence, and to insist on its universality and especially to demand that all peoples and all political and legal systems adjust themselves to suit it, is, to put it mildly, unfair and unjust,” Chaplin said.

Any country with a strong religious tradition, whether Orthodox, Islamic or any other, should react to any attempts to strongly alter its legal system as it negotiates on accession to any international alliance with a question to the standing members of that alliance: “perhaps they should change themselves, especially with regard to moral, legal and political values before they try to form alliances with countries that have a strong religious and moral tradition”, Chaplin wrote.

Chaplin also warned Western elites from trying to force their values, especially their stance on same-sex couples, on the majority of the world’s countries. Chaplin noted that a ruling of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights announced on 7 November and stating that the Greek law allowing civil unions only for heterosexual couples discriminates against same-sex couples is generating a lot of discussion both within and outside Greece.