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Now for Moral Reform in the Church

Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and all the Russias has spoken out against one of the banes of the pre-revolutionary Russian Orthodox Church. This was monastic careerism, the desire to become a bishop on the part of the ‘black’ (unmarried) clergy, which brought monasticism into such disrepute before the Revolution.

Speaking after the consecration of two new bishops at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Solovki and quoted on Monday on the official Patriarchal website, he said: ‘We need to root out corrupt careerism in the Church, and, with God’s help, we shall do it’. The Patriarch also warned: ‘All who angle to become bishops are unlikely to do so’ and ‘we shall appoint bishops from those who are not looking for promotion’. He expressed his joy over the fact that during his visit to Solovki he carried out two episcopal consecrations, where the archpastors involved had maintained the highest level of service to the Church, not seeking honour.

The Patriarch added: ‘The most disgusting thing in the Church is monastic careerism. I think that the two episcopal consecrations that took place in Solovki are a very clear signal to all monks whose heads are filled with dreams of the episcopate and who think that life is not worth living if they have not become an archimandrite by the age of thirty’. He also said: ‘In the face of God, we are not listed by order of rank, by how many crosses we wear, or whether we wear a bishop’s mitre or a monastic veil. Perhaps there a Patriarch will give way to a cleaner, look into her eyes and say to her ‘Pray for me’’.

Patriarch Kyrill urged priests to remember that a Church career ‘is a relative thing, it does not have any direct connection to our salvation. God gives you strength and understanding so that you can keep your viewpoint in harmony with the conciliar mind of the Church, and that goes for bishops, metropolitans and the Patriarch too. Where you are, that’s where your service is. Do it boldly, in prayer and in love’.

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