Patriarch Kirill: Multiculturalism Puts Christianity At Risk

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church leads a mass at the Russian Orthodox church in Havana, February 14, 2016. His meeting with Pope Francis was controversial.Reuters

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has hit out at multiculturalism saying it has "no future".

In an interview with RT, he said it "implies different cultures mixing, different cultures and religions poured together and shaken vigorously to create a kind of cocktail.

"That would be impossible because of deep-rooted traditions."

Kirill continued: "If multiculturalism implies weakening people's connection to their religion and traditions, it automatically makes them victims of discrimination and forces them to be defensive; so this very approach contains a dangerous source of division, and I mean the fundamental division of the brother-against-brother kind."

He criticised attempts to limit Christians' freedom to practise their faith, saying: "For example, why should we use 'X-mas' instead of 'Christmas'? The answer we got to this question is that we shouldn't hurt the feelings of non-Christians.

"So we asked Muslims if they were offended by the word 'Christmas', and they said 'no'. We asked if they were offended by decorated Christmas trees in the streets, and they said 'no'.

"So if Muslims are okay with that, whose feelings are we hurting here? It's likely it's no one's."

He said the Church was "very wary when, under the guise of political correctness and universal rights and liberties, we glimpse signs of discrimination against the people who want to be open about their Christian convictions".

Kirill said that Russia was an example for the rest of the world to follow. "Russia is a multiethnic country, but the idea of multiculturalism has never been promoted.

"This approach, which allows people to express their ethnic and religious identity freely, has especially flourished recently, in modern Russia.

"We're not talking about any mixture or cocktail – we say that every person should stay who they are. But we all live in the same country, so all of us must observe the law and be nice to each other."

The Russian Orthodox Church, which works closely with President Vladimir Putin, is highly influential in the country. Russia has recently passed the 'Yarovaya Law'  imposing draconian restrictions on Protestant evangelistic activities; several pastors have already been fined.

Kirill also praised US President-elect Donald Trump, who has expressed admiration for Putin.

He said: "Based on what Mr Trump said in the course of the election campaign, we can see that he does have the intention to establish a dialogue with Russia, including first and foremost when it comes to combating terrorism."