Moscow (AsiaNews) - A Duma State deputy, Vladimir Sysoev, has advanced a bill to recognize the civil validity of Orthodox religious marriage without the Church itself being consulted on the subject. The astonishing initiative is highlighting the different conceptions about state secularism in Russia, while the Orthodox Church appears more determined in marking differences than politicians.
The representative of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy head of the Department for Relations between the Church and Society, told the Interfax-Religija correspondent in this regard that "this proposal has not been discussed with the Russian Orthodox Church, it was a surprise for us too. " He recalled that the practice of civil registration of religious marriages was normal in the Russian Empire before the Soviet Revolution, when the Orthodox Church was officially a State Church, as is also the case in some European states where there is still this union between the Church and State.
Today, according to Kipshidze, "the return to this practice, under the secular state that we have in Russia, could create a series of complications and confusion in the same civil law on the family. At a minimum, it would require detailed legislation." According to the Patriarchate, the rights and duties of spouses before the law would become even more complicated in the presence or absence of sacramental marriage. Indeed, Sysoev's proposal would distinguish the juridical conditions of orthodox marriage from those of other types of conjugal union.
On the one hand, it highlights the will of some politicians to introduce confessional elements into the life of Russian society. On the other hand, the Church is showing prudence, in order to avoid being overly identified with the more radical nationalist politics and trends. Patriarch Kirill's appeals often emphasize the need to defend the values of the family and the defence of life, even in controversy with contemporary tendencies towards unlimited freedom of coexistence or gender, but he has never suggested the necessity to overthrow current legislation.