The draft new document of the Russian Orthodox Church “On the secular labor activity of clergy” does not prohibit absolutely any concert activity or participation in vocal shows, the winner of the “Voice” show 2015, Hieromonk Fotiy, explained to Open Media. According to him, this document has been discussed for several years, and it deals with events that contradict Christian canons, for example, shows with markings 18+, “to which priests do not go anyway.”
Earlier, the Interfax agency, citing a member of the editorial council of the Inter-Council Presence, Priest Georgy Maksimov, reported that this document was discussed at the plenum of the Inter-Council Presence on May 28, 2021. He must define the framework and criteria for professions acceptable to the clergy, in which they can work in parallel with the ministry. As noted in the message, in particular, “the priests are invited to prohibit all stage activities, including participation in vocal shows are not encouraged.”
“As far as I know, this document is still crude, and it does not directly speak about the ban on vocal shows,” Hieromonk Photius told Open Media. However, he explained that the origins of the document and the discussion of the participation of priests in stage activities “lie in the history of Christianity.” “In the apostolic canons, priests were indeed forbidden to participate in spectacles, but they spoke of special spectacles, debauchery, in which the priest denigrated himself, it was inconsistency with the rank,” he explained. “And those shows are incomparable with modern theaters or vocal shows.” “I see no reason to change anything in my activity, because I am not doing anything illegal and contrary to the canons,” said Hieromonk Photius.
The project “Professions compatible and incompatible with the priesthood” was created by the Commission of the Inter-Council Presence on church governance and mechanisms for the implementation of conciliarity in the Church on behalf of the Presidium of the Inter-Council Presence on January 28, 2015. Since 2017, there has been a discussion on the document in church councils, in particular, the project was published on several thematic portals to collect feedback. The head of the Legal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate Abbess Ksenia (Chernega) could not comment on the document, but confirmed to Open Media that it was a document that had been developed since 2015.
In the first edition (from 2017 goals), indeed, it was said that “serving in the clergy is incompatible with acting, with the profession of a dancer or stage singer.” However, in the 2019 edition (the interpretation has been significantly expanded and changed at the disposal of Open Media. It stated that Rule 55 of the Carthage Cathedral “certainly excludes the acting profession from the activities of clerics and, in particular, professional dancing (ballet) or stage performance). singing, if its content and form contradict the teachings and moral ideals of Orthodoxy. ”It was also pointed out that“ work in the field of entertainment shows is unacceptable, since it is based on the exploitation of human passions and entails increased temptations. ”
An informed source in the Patriarchate told Open Media that the final version of the document will be published only after its approval by the Council. “An interim version will not be published,” he said. “The need to develop this document was caused, among other things, by the fact that some priests are engaged in activities that do not fully fit into the church tradition, for example, everything related to acting and acting.” At the same time, he could not say unequivocally whether vocal shows with the participation of clergy would be acceptable. It is assumed that the Council of Bishops must approve this document in November, after which it will be binding.