Metropolitan Feofan: ''I believe that Our Lady of Kazan will return''
About the World Cup, the construction of the cathedral and anonymity on the Internet
The annual press conference has been held for the first time in the history of the Kazan Metropolis on the eve of the New Year, Metropolitan Feofan once again confirmed that he would continue to pursue the course of frank communication with the press. The meeting was attended by the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.
''We can live by working together''
The Metropolitan of Kazan and Tatarstan began a meeting with journalists very unexpectedly: with a conversation about the World Cup in Kazan. He explained that on the eve of the championship and during it, he often had to hold meetings with journalists together with the mufti of the Republic of Tatarstan, and it was a demonstration of tolerant attitude to each other, which traditionally exists in Tatarstan. ''We can live not only tolerantly, but also cooperating, working together,'' explained Metropolitan Feofan.
The most important question during the outgoing year, Metropolitan Feofan called the construction of the Kazan Cathedral, which already forms the architectural appearance of the centre of Kazan. The metropolitan announced that they were going to build the cathedral on the day of his arrival in Kazan, immediately after a church service in the Annunciation Cathedral, calling the task of the construction of this temple the priority.
''We see how quickly the cathedral is being built, today it stands in all its grandeur, all the domes. It took the place that historically occupied in the landscape of Kazan. The whole of Kazan benefits from this. And not only in the religious direction, but also in the sense of architectural ensemble. We are reviving the cathedral together with the Muslims, as it was, for example, in Bolgar. It is very important in the current situation, when we see what is happening with our neighbour — Ukraine. As a religious factor instead of peace and harmony it brings division. Interference in religion, which is essentially peacemaking, politicians and some foreign interests do a bad service for the country, for the people living in Ukraine,'' the head of the Kazan Metropolis expressed his opinion.
He also touched upon the importance of the transfer of the Nikolo-Gostinodvorskaya Church to the Kazan diocese this year, everything happened, according to him, peacefully, the problem was solved step by step. ''In this temple served not just a saint, but also a citizen of Russia, native of Kazan, future Patriarch Germogen. He became the man who, with his firm standing, led the Russians to the militia — for Russia, for faith, so he saved both Moscow and Russia from the ''guests'', whom no one asked to come here,'' the metropolitan explained the importance of returning this Church to the believers.
He reminded that in 1579 the future patriarch, and then a simple priest, took the main Russian Shrine in his hands — the miraculous image of Our Lady of Kazan, found by the girl Matrona. Now Nikolo-Gostinodvorskaya Church is being restored, recently, on St. Nikola's Winter Day, there was a prayer service.
''How do you like the updated seminary?''
The press conference of Metropolitan Feofan took place in the premises of the library of the Kazan Theological Seminary. ''How do you like the renovated building?'' asked the journalists. The answer was plain to see: the updated seminary met us with comfort, sparkling interiors, enviable library. Asked by the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya what were the sources of funding for the construction works, the rector of this institution, Metropolitan Feofan, said that it was co-financing: part of the money was allocated by the government of Tatarstan, for which the metropolitan warmly thanked President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, part of the costs — from the Kazan diocese. ''We have received a modern, comfortable building, where everything allows future pastors to receive both education and moral vaccination, and to be initiated into modern technological processes,'' the metropolitan concluded.
''There are more parishes today''
From the information provided by the press service of the Tatarstan Metropolis, it follows that the number of parishes now in Tatarstan is 364. When asked by the correspondent of Realne Vremya whether their number has increased over the year, Metropolitan Feofan replied in the affirmative. He explained that there were parishes that worked, but were not registered, now the metropolis has its own legal service and passed the procedure of their registration.
Last year was marked by unpleasant events in Bolgar, where there were many complaints about not quite church behaviour of the rector of the local church, Archpriest Vladimir (Golovin). Journalists asked what was happening in Bolgar. His Eminence replied that the Bolgarians belong territorially to the diocese of Chistopol, but as the ruling metropolitan, he, of course, knows how the situation was developing. Now Golovin is forbidden for service, which is a very serious punishment for the priest.
The journalists also asked how the metropolitan felt about the fact that there is an opinion on the prohibition of anonymity on the Internet. His Eminence answered this question positively, explaining that the principle of anonymity allows in some cases to write offensive things, but also play into the hands of terrorists, those people who recruit teenagers to suicide clubs.
Metropolitan Feofan finished the press conference on a positive note, noting that he believes that Our Lady of Kazan, stolen from the Bogoroditsky Monastery in 1904 by the intruders, has not been destroyed and when the Kazan Cathedral is restored, it will return to its ''home''. According to Metropolitan Feofan, it will be a miracle, but miracles and Divine Providence defy logic.