Patriarch Kirill: Russia has a long way to go until today's formally Orthodox laity becomes committed believers

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that the Church should help people who formally consider themselves Orthodox to become committed believers.

Patriarch said that people often think of themselves as Orthodox by virtue of their cultural origin. "It often begins that way. A person eventually grows into such identity and becomes closer to the Church. We should be aware that Orthodoxy is the crucial factor of our cultural identity," he said answering students' questions at St. Petersburg Ice Palace on Friday.

"Theory should be in close contact with practice. The Church plays a very important role in this respect. Its major objective is to help those who consider themselves Orthodox out of tradition to become Orthodox by their way of life. This is what may be called people's true religious devotion, when their actions are inspired by ethical reasons," Patriarch said.

Therefore, he believes that Russia "still has a long way to go, until the present formally Orthodox laity becomes committed believers."

"This is our challenge, and we shall rely on the civil society to meet it. It is important to engage young people and student community because we are now referring to our country's future. Russia will become a great country only when it learns to match spiritual essence and material nature, temporal things and eternity," Patriarch added.

Source: Interfax religion