In a interview to the specialized Russian religion news portal Credo.Press, Sevastianov the Chairman of the World Council of Old Believers stated that “Monopoly in religion grows into cartel conspiracy”.
Portal “Credo.Press”[CP]: How will you remember 2021?
Leonid Sevastyanov[LS]: On the one hand, the outgoing year will be remembered for the continuing antique-like restrictions. On the other hand, this year was filled with attempts to hold all kinds of forums, religious round tables – from inter-religious to intra-confessional. It would seem that it is necessary to rejoice at new attempts at interreligious dialogue – after all, this is always going beyond the confessional monopolies.
But, looking more closely, we see that the monopoly consciousness never leaves the sphere of religious life. It only develops into its next form – a cartel religious consciousness, a cartel conspiracy of the dominant confessions. Indeed, religious leaders around the world, realizing the loss of the traditional position of their confessions, are attempting to create interreligious cartels, introducing (up to the level of legislation) the division into “friends” and “aliens” both among denominations in general and within their own confessions. confessions. Moreover, we can observe this not only, say, in the ROC-MP, but also among Protestants and even Old Believers.
CP: Please explain in more detail: how is this cartel conspiracy manifested?
LS: More and more cartel terminology, such as “traditional religions”, “Abrahamic religions”, “major Christian churches”, “canonical territories”, “schism”, etc., penetrates into the religious dialogue. The intrinsic motivation of religious leaders following this path is quite understandable. But the motivation of states to facilitate this process is not entirely clear. It would seem that it is a priori beneficial for the state to have an inclusive process in interreligious dialogue. Most likely, successful attempts to manipulate states to obtain preferences from individual religious centers are explained by the low competence of officials on religious issues, which we inherited from the era of atheistic propaganda and anti-religious education.
I am sure that sooner or later our society will come to an understanding of the vital need to start the most inclusive, that is, including all religious groups and traditions, process on the part of the state in relation to the religious aspects of the life of its citizens.
CP: What do you expect from 2022?
LS: In May, it is planned to hold (after a natural break) an interreligious summit in St. Petersburg. I hope it will start the process of that very inclusion on the part of the state in relation to the religiosity of citizens, and will not turn into another round of pressure in relation to those who are not included in the interreligious cartel.
(Interviewed by Alexander Soldatov, Portal “Credo.Press”, Published: 26.12.2021 в 19:17)