Russian Orthodox Aren't Happy With Euro Text

Warn Against "Ideological" Reshaping of History

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MOSCOW, JUNE 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow criticized the omission of Christianity in the draft preamble of a European Constitution, and warned against attempts to reshape "history according to certain ideological patterns."



The draft refers to "the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe which ... [was] nourished first by the civilizations of Greece and Rome" and "later by philosophical currents of the Enlightenment."

A statement issued Friday by the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church pointed out the "historical incorrectness" reflected in the draft.

It faults the text for "completely ignoring the historical period from the fourth to the 18th centuries, when Christianity was the dominant influence in the development of the European nations."

"The approach proposed in the draft means a reshaping of history according to certain ideological patterns. We know only too well from the history of Russia what the dictate of one particular worldview implies," the Russian Orthodox Church's statement observed.

It also said that the mention of special philosophical currents of the Enlightenment reveals the ideological tendency of the draft.

"In our opinion, the ideas of the Enlightenment played an important role in some countries, but they are not universal or commonly accepted, since many people do not share them fully," the Russian Orthodox statement said. "A reference to the ideas of the Enlightenment is no more ideologically neutral than a reference to a particular religion.

"In addition, anthropocentric formulations included in the preamble to the Constitution of the European Union may provoke a negative attitude of many religious Europeans, including Orthodox Christians, to the integration processes."

The statement said that the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment can be mentioned in the preamble "only along with the Christian inheritance and perhaps that of other religions visibly present in Europe."

"A reference to an abstract 'spiritual impulse' does not remove this problem," the statement concluded.

Brussels is working on a new draft text of the European Constitution, which should be presented next week at the European summit in Greece.