How dialogue of Orthodoxy and culture developing in Tatarstan
A plenary session of the 32nd regional stage of the International Christmas Educational Readings was held in Kazan on 2 November. The theme was “Orthodoxy and Domestic Culture: Losses and Gains of the Past, Image of the Future”. Also at the meeting, the winners and laureates of the first stage of the All-Russian competition “For The Moral Feat Of The Teacher” were awarded. A correspondent of Realnoe Vremya visited the Christmas readings.
The significance of Christmas readings in Tatarstan
According to Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan, this event is of particular importance for Tatarstan citizens. The reason is that in the schools of the republic, unlike many other subjects of Russia, the basics of religious cultures — Islamic and Orthodox — are not taught. Therefore, children receive religious knowledge in temples and mosques.
“It is important for us that people who are engaged in upbringing and religious education in our Sunday schools feel the support and community of the entire pedagogical community," the metropolitan stressed.
“Orthodoxy, like other traditional religions and confessions of Russia, has a rich history on our land. For many centuries, the national culture has been built on a strong spiritual foundation, enriched through communion with the Orthodox faith not only with beautiful examples of spiritual architecture, painting, music, but most importantly — with eternal moral ideals that fill a person's life with true meaning," Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan, who opened the meeting, noted in his opening speech.
He mentioned that the 20th century was destructive for spiritual culture, many samples were completely lost. “We continue to work on the restoration of the desecrated shrines, on the revival of our culture," the metropolitan stressed. According to him, the upbringing and introduction to the spiritual life of the new generation, to whom the revived shrines will be native, are of particular importance — that is why proper education in general and religious in particular is so important.
Dialogue of different faiths and cultures
A considerable place at the readings was devoted to the development of interreligious and interethnic ties. For example, the first deputy minister of education and science of the republic, Andrey Pominov, stressed during his speech that Tatarstan has become one of the recognised centres of interreligious cooperation. He expressed the hope that the meeting will contribute to the further establishment of dialogue between representatives of different faiths.
Minister of Culture of Tatarstan Irada Ayupova said that representatives of 175 nationalities live in Tatarstan, and the number of representatives of eight of them exceeds 10 thousand people. There are more than 220 national cultural public organisations, nine peoples' friendship houses, four peoples' friendship centres, and more than 100 national cultural centers in the republic.
According to her, it is important not to perceive culture as something static. Changes in it cannot be avoided, but it is important to avoid a conflict between ethnic and confessional identities. That is why, Irada Ayupova stressed the importance of forming a discussion about not contradicting the essence of spiritual traditions within the framework of traditional holidays. As an example, she cited Karavon, an age-old tradition that is celebrated in the Laishevsky district of Tatarstan.
“It is very important that the spiritual component in this holiday be correctly emphasised, without contradicting the pagan one," she noted.
Church and cultural institutions
The chairman of the missionary department of the Kazan Diocese, Priest Alexander Ermolin, spoke about the interaction of the Kazan diocese with the cultural organisations of the republic. He said that the diocese is ready to hold a series of talks about Orthodox culture for Tatarstan culture houses. A methodological manual dedicated to the organisation of holidays and events related to Orthodoxy is already ready.
According to Ermolin, there has already been the request for lectures from representatives of cultural organisations. Moreover, there is a successful experience: a project is already being implemented in Tatarstan, which provides lectures on Orthodox culture for guides. According to the priest, such employees stand out qualitatively against the background of less prepared colleagues. Besides, Ermolin called for the establishment of intellectual ties with the Kazan Institute of Culture as a training centre for future specialists.
“Culture is also museums, libraries and much more. And in all these areas, we have something to help each other," the priest concluded.