Russian Orthodox leader: Church is strong

Jan. 6, 2013 at 4:47 PM

MOSCOW, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said Sunday the church will defy campaigns seeking to minimize its work.

"The church will continue strengthening its positions in society despite attacks," the Moscow news agency Interfax quoted Kirill as saying.

Kirill said anti-church campaigns of 2012 arose because of the strengthening of the church's positions and influence in society, adding that public opinion polls show people's high confidence in Russia's church and clergy.

"They would like to see our church as silent in the face of sin, lawlessness, and injustice. They would like it to be inconspicuous -- not persecuted, not banned, not exiled. Or they would like to see it as just folklore, some exotic embellishment of folk life, which has no real influence on people's minds and hearts," Kirill said.

"We will continue caring for the poor and the sick, we will continue to openly call sins sins. That's what our savior called on us to do. He also warned us that people will resist the word of God and the world will rise against the church."

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