SPIRITUAL FATHER OF PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA ACCUSED PROTESTANT REHABILITATION CENTERS OF PROSELYTISM
Schema-Archimandrite Eli (Nozdrin), spiritual father of Optina Monastery and Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and All Russia, sent a letter to the members of the Supervisory Board of the National Counter-Drugs Union stating his resignation from the Board.
“I hereby state my resignation from the Supervisory Board of the National Counter-Drugs Union due to the fact that this organization has found itself under the influence of the religious groups that use the opportunities of counter-drugs activities for the conversion of Orthodox Christians into their faith”, wrote Eli in his letter published by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and cited by RIA-Novosti.
In spite of the failure of the Schema-Archimandrite to specify these religious groups many people had reasons to believe that the shadow was cast on the Protestant members of the Union who had been very successful in their attempts to rehabilitate the drug addicts.
For example, 700 drug addicts underwent rehabilitation in one of such centers located in the city of Tomsk during the 15-year period of its existence. At least 350 of them never came back to drug use.
Sergei Ryakhovsky, Senior Bishop of the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, confirmed that in the last few years such rehabilitation programs as Exodus, Splendiferous Way and New Life had proven their efficiency. They passed the test of practicability and the test of time, stressed the Bishop. The Protestants stand ready to share their experience with similar organizations acting under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. So far this process had been developing spontaneously. But, in his opinion, this work must be systematized and streamlined. Only then we would be able to save many people who are now standing at the death's door, said Ryakhovsky.
The Protestants are known for their intransigent attitude towards drug trafficking. Drug dealers respond to it by intensive slander campaign against those whom they call the “sectarians”. According to Constantine Bendas, Assistant to the Senior Bishop, in this campaign they often resort to their lobbying potential.
National Counter-Drugs Union is an association established with a view to coordinate the activities of public and non-profit organizations of Russia in the sphere of the prevention of drug use and drug-related crimes. The Union works in liaison with the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation; federal and regional authorities; public, religious, youth, sports and other organizations. As noted on the Union’s official website, there are no political or religious aspects in its activities.