English version of Patriarch Kirill’s book presented at London book fair

A presentation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia’s book entitled Freedom and Responsibility. In a Search for Harmony. Human Rights and Personal Dignity took place on April 11, 2011, at the London International Book Fair.

Participating in the event were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Richard Chartres of London (Church of England), Archpriest Vladimir Solovyev, editor-in-chief of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishers, and Mr. Brendan Walsh, editorial director at Darton, Longman & Todd.

Among those present were Archbishop Gregory of Thyateira and Great Britain (Patriarchate of Constantinople), Metropolitan George of Pathos and Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou (Orthodox Church of Cyprus), Archbishop Yelisey of Sourozh as well as clergy of Local Orthodox Churches. There were also Mr. A. Sternik, minister-counsellor of the Russian embassy in Great Britain, Mr. M. Shvydkoy, special representative of the Russian president for international cultural cooperation, and representatives of the public and scientific and business communities.

Opening the presentation ceremony, Metropolitan Hilarion remarked that it was for the first time that a book by Patriarch Kirill was published in English.

The head of the Russian Church, in his work written when he was metropolitan and head of the department for external church relations, raises fundamental problems of human life concerning not only the Orthodox Church but also the entire society of today, Metropolitan Hilarion stressed. ‘How is an individual’s freedom combined with his responsibility before himself, before the society, before God, before history? How are human rights including freedom of speech combined with the individual responsibility before the world around? How can and must the norm of faith become the norm of life for the modern man? – all these and many other questions are given answers in Patriarch Kirill’s book, which has already been published in eight languages and will be translated into many more’, he said.

The DECR chairman drew the attention of the audience to the fact that the interest in the problems raised by His Holiness the Patriarch went far beyond church walls to embrace broad sectors of society. It is not accidental therefore that the book Freedom and Responsibility is presented not only in Orthodox churches but also at such events as the opening of the London Book Fair.

‘His Holiness the Patriarch has expressed the official stand of the Russian Orthodox Church on problems posed by today’s world. In doing so, His Holiness as an outstanding thinker and personality is not afraid of posing very acute problems in his public statements and books. His deep insight into the modern problems of humanity and his ability to embrace problems of people’s everyday life including those of believers living in a secular society attracts broad interest in his creative work. That is why the book Freedom and Responsibility, though not big in volume but very capacious in the number of its ideas provokes such a great interest’, the metropolitan remarked.

Bishop Richard Chartres, who spoke next, told the audience about his meetings with Patriarch Kirill to be in the 80s and about his manifold work in the area of inter-Christian relations as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Speaking about the content of Freedom and Responsibility, Bishop Chartres pointed to the originality of the author’s thinking and his ability to cover a broad range of pressing and significant problems. ‘Today His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia leads one of the largest and most important Christian communities in the world’, he underscored.

The English version of Freedom and Responsibility is published in 2000 copies with the participation of the Moscow Patriarchate publishers and support from St. Gregory the Theologian’s Charity, the Russian World Foundation and Baltic Chemical Terminal Ltd.

DECR Communication Service