MOSCOW: November 3, 2005-11-03

"The Change in State Holidays Will Give Impetus to Overcoming Social Division," Say Representatives of the Russian Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate

The change in state holidays in Russia will give impetus to reevaluate the events of the past which led to the division of the Russian people. This opinion was expressed by a representative of the Russian Church Abroad. "This is a good sign that shows that society is intent on reevaluating its view of the Revolution and the Civil War which divided Russia," said Bishop Michael of Boston.

The fact that for this first time this year, November 7, will not be a day of celebration but of remembrance, designated as a new holiday, the Day of the Unity of the People, "gives reason to evaluate our common past," said the bishop. In his opinion, the next step in this direction is "the removal of Lenin's body from the Mausoleum." "Society must realize that the Revolution did not bring good to Russia, that this person was brutal in his actions against the cream of society: he destroyed the nobility, grand dukes, clergymen," said the bishop.

Those who found themselves abroad, in his words, "always kept their hope and faith in Russia." "They never felt like emigrants; for them, the Russian land was always sacred, but, sadly, it was desecrated by brutal repressions against its own people," said the representative of the emigration.

The hope that the change in the state calendar would draw together the people in our country and abroad was also expressed by the Moscow Patriarchate. "The events of 1612 are also viewed the same way by our compatriots, regardless of whether they live in Russia or abroad," said Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. At the same time he noted: "November 7 cannot be the basis for a holiday of reconciliation and concord, since the Revolution radically divided society." In his opinion, the reevaluation of history "will facilitate the unification of the Russian diaspora," which until this day has differing views on the matter of reconciliation with the Moscow Patriarchate.