Thursday, April 21, 2011

Russian trip part III: Papa Leo

The second day of the conference started with a lecture from Dutch Senator Roel Kuiper. He spoke about the important fact that Christians historically are wise focused on creating communities. The new movement that will be started is an example of this. He also mentioned that the main founders of the Christian social thinking can be laid by Pope Leo XIII and Abraham Kuyper.

Interesting was that here in Moscow also a Leo and a Kuiper explained the basics of Christian Democracy. Christians always have been focused on the creation of communities and he wondered if the societies have become not too much based on contracts and less on covenants. The difference between a contract and a covenant is that the latter is focused on an agreement and a commitment for a longer sustainable time. Contracts are business like, short time oriented. In his eyes, moral capital is more important than social capital. Christian justice should be therefore be based on "shalom" and "cheset": justice but also taken the person into consideration!

During his speech, the translator made a hilarious mistake when Roel referred to my speech the day before saying: "Leo explained about..." which was translated with "pope Leo explained". Since then many people have called me ... "Papa Leo" ....

Not long after the speech of Roel Kuiper, Henkjan van Schorthorst (from the Dutch Reformed Party (SGP)) gave a clear explanation about how the European Union (dis)functions and why Christians were called to enter the European politics.

After the break opinions concerning politics were shared. There was even a speaker explaining recovering a monarchy based on Romanov blood. However the participants were not very agreeing with him and this let to some argumentations. After this an emotional discussion about the state of Russian democracy took place. There was a lot of dissatisfaction concerning the current regime and people spoke freely about this. One person was afraid that a new revolution will take place if nothing will be done by the civil society. The spirit of revolution is in Russian air, because people have reached their limit of tolerance toward corruption and social injustice; and there is not any publicity instrument availabel for people would share their concerns. It is the task of the new movement to unite peaceful and democratic forces in order to change the society in a positive way.

Alexander Ogorodnikov told about the Christian Democratic Movement in the 90's and the challenges and depressions they faced. An emotional discussion took place about the reasons why this movement finally failed and the absence of a clear support of the orthodox church for the movement. Others said that the failure was due to the fact that it was not the right time, the movement was too much focused on relations with the West and leas to the situation of the country and a lack of experience. However all the participants were agreeing that now the timing is much better and that this new initiative is carried much broader.

In the evening Henkjan, Ekaterina and me were invited for dinner from the patriarchate. Also Father Nicholas was present.

The first day was about society, the second day about politics, tomorrow it will be about Christian business and the conclusions of the conference will be drafted.

1 comment:

  1. Dinner at the Patriarchate? HIGH LEVEL! Congratulations for your inspired and successful mission. Christ is Risen!