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Patriarch shows Church power at Solovki

Patriarch Kirill intends to strengthen the Church position at Solovki. Photo: Patriarchy press service

Amid mounting criticism of the Church’s close relations with the state, Patriarch Kirill brings key parts of the Church leadership, as well as several prominent state officials, to Solovki, the archipelago in the White Sea.

Location

The Church leaders, under fire from critics because of their loyalty to the Kremlin and clear-voiced dislike of liberal values, are assemblying in Solovki, the Orthodox stronghold in the Russian North. A number of prominent Church clerics have joint the Patriarch to the White Sea archipelago. Among them are four metropolitans, including Metrolitan Daniil of Arkhangelsk and Kholmogorie, and a number of bishops and archbishops, Church administrators and officials.

Also several prominent secular leaders attended the Patriarch’s events at Solovki, among them Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky and Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov. Also the region’s Deputy Governor Roman Balashov responsible for Solovki issues was present at the meetings, the Arkhangelsk regional government informs.

A key issue in the visit is a major government-funded development program for the archipelago. Billions of rubles are expected to be spent on the restoration of church buildings, a number of them several centuries old, as well as on local infrastructure. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky himself stresses that the development of Solovki is a ”top priority” for the federal government.

”We will do all we can so that every Russian at least once in their lifetime visits Solovki”, the minister said to Dvinainform.ru.

Meanwhile, a troubled relationship between the church on the one hand and the local population, municipal authorities and the local museum on the other, continue to strain life on the island.

The Patriarch himself underlineed the importance of Solovki for the Church. ”Today, the reconstruction of Solovki is an utmost important task for the state and the Church, not only because this is a masterpiece, but also because it is a monument on the braveness and spiritual strength of our ancestors”, Kirill said. He added that it is the state and the Church’s common commitment to restore the monastery and the surrounding village in a way which reflects the greatness of the place, a press release from the Patriarchate reads. ”The local population must both have a good life and a life which is in line with the unique spiritual and historical context of the place”, the Patriarch said.