Russian Orthodox leader: ‘The problem of abortion ... is our highest priority’
MOSCOW, Russia, November 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Patriarch Kirill of Moscow opened the seventh church-wide Congress for Social Work with the repeated admonition that ending abortion is priority number one.
His Holiness stated emphatically that the fight for innocent human life is, and must remain, the Church’s main social work.
“The problem of abortion in our country … is our highest priority,” he unequivocally stated.
Many anti-marriage and anti-family issues have come to the fore in recent years, but Kirill brought the focus back to the source of social division and cultural death.
“A few years ago, I raised the issue of the need to pay special attention to the problem of abortion in our country… And I now repeat: It is our highest priority,” the patriarch said in the majestic sanctuary of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova echoed His Holiness’ concern. “We understand that our most important common task is the fight against abortion, and we have tried to do a lot together in this direction,” she said. “We have opened 1,500 abortion prevention centers and officers throughout the country, at maternity clinics and wards, and prenatal centers.”
She pointed out that the number of abortions in the country is going down. Over the past five years, abortions have dropped by 25 percent.
His Holiness said the way to combat the mass slaughter of the preborn is not only to rebuke abortionists and exhort women not to kill their children but to help women in crisis. The primate told 2,000 attendees to analyze why young women abort. He said we must address the problems that drive women to kill, such as instability, parents’ anger, social pressure, and poverty.
Kirill coordinated political leaders and Orthodox bishops to work together to build homes for pregnant women in every province. “I cannot say that everything is working well; there are issues in Church-State relations, but my call was heard,” he reported.
The Russian hierarch addressed the State Duma twice, boldly issuing a call to solve the “horrifyingly high” number of abortions in the mother country.
He pointed out that 650,000 abortions were committed in Russia in 2016. “A city like Tyumen has 744,000 residents. That means an entire city was lost within a year,” he noted.
The Orthodox Church’s Congress for Social Work brings together the leaders of Russian social projects, diocesan social work department heads, monastic sisters of mercy, and volunteers.
The congress also discussed how the church and the government can encourage and support large families.
Orthodox Christianity reports that the Russian Orthodox Church has more than 4,000 “social agencies, projects and initiatives.” Among them are more than 400 sisterhoods of mercy, 52 women’s shelters, more than 100 humanitarian aid centers, more than 40 almshouses, 400 projects for the disabled, and 95 shelters for the homeless. In addition, there are more than 500 Orthodox organizations helping addicts.