Orthodox Christian




Statement by the Moscow Patriarchate on the Draft Preamble to the Treaty Establishing the Constitution of the European Union

On May 27, 2003, the Presidium of the Future of Europe Convent presented to the participants of the Convent for their discussion a Draft Treaty establishing the Constitution of the European Union. As the work on the Draft Treaty is planned to be completed in these days, the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations makes the following statement on the contents of the Preamble. It is regrettable to see historical incorrectness made in the Draft Preamble. Pointing to the civilizations which nourished the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, the Draft enumerates Greece and Rome, as well as the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment, completely ignoring the historical period from the 4th to the 18th centuries when Christianity was the dominant influence in the development of European nations. How the presence of magnificent cathedrals in Europe and the reasons why great composers, artists and writers used biblical and church subjects in their creative works can be explained to the younger generations of Europeans? The approach proposed in the Draft means a reshaping of history according to certain ideological patterns. We know only too well from the history of Russia what the dictate of one particular worldview implies.

Unfortunately, a special reference to the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment also reveals an ideological bias of the Draft. In our opinion, the ideas of the Enlightenment played an important role in some countries, but they are not universal or commonly accepted, since many people do not share them fully. A reference to the ideas of the Enlightenment is no more ideologically neutral than a reference to a particular religion.

In addition, anthropocentric formulations included in the Preamble to the Constitution of the European Union may provoke a negative attitude of many religious Europeans including Orthodox Christians to the integration processes.

We believe that the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment may be mentioned in the Preamble only along with the Christian inheritance and perhaps that of other religions visibly present in Europe. A reference to an abstract "spiritual impulse" does not remove this problem.

We hope that our opinion will be taken into account in finalizing the text of the Preamble.

Europaica  Bulletin of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions, № 18.

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