"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
mattress,/
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Patriarch Kiril's Book

Though the patriarch of Moscow does not command the press attention that the patriarch and pope of Rome does, the former is nonetheless a significant figure in global Christianity by virtue of being the head of the second-largest church on the planet. A recent book brings some of his thoughts to us in English: Patriarch Kiril, Freedom and Responsibility: A Search for Harmony (Darton, Longman, and Todd, 2011), 160pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
At a time of crisis, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church presents his remarkable personal vision of a ‘multi-polar’ future for the world. Two antagonistic systems are ranged against each other, one liberal, secular and humanistic, the other religious and traditionalist. Patriarch Kirill draws on the bitter experience of the Russian people in the twentieth century to illustrate the dangers of totalitarianism and how grave the break with one’s spiritual roots can be for civilization. Rather than a struggle to the death between competing value systems, he proposes instead the way of co-existence, grounded in mutual respect for moral categories that are common to all. He calls not for liberal values to be abandoned but to be supplemented by other cultural and philosophical systems, and to create a harmony between the two, not just with declarations of mutual friendship and respect but also through the reform of law and global governance. The Patriarch quotes the great Russian writer Dostoyevsky, who declared that "Beauty will save the world".

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