Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov and Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and All Russia have signed today an Agreement on cooperation between the Ministry for Emergency Situations and the Russian Orthodox Church. The signing took place at the residence of the Patriarch and Synod in Daniil’s Monastery in Moscow.
Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and All Russia expressed gratitude for the signing of the document which shows that the Emergency Ministry and the Russian Orthodox Church are ready to close cooperation.
“The document was not made from scratch as the Emergency Ministry and the Russian Orthodox Church have been closely cooperating for a number of years now,” Patriarch Cyril of Moscow and All Russia noted. “This cooperation shows in different circumstances, including those connected to managing crisis situations caused by natural disasters, emergency situations and other events damaging people’s lives and health.”
According to the Patriarch the cooperation in fire safety is also important. “All Russian medieval cities and most of temples were made of wood this is why fires did tremendous damage to our historical heritage. We must keep safe everything that we have today,” Patriarch Cyril said.
Minister for Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov pointed out the importance of close contacts between the Ministry and the Russian Orthodox Church and readiness to provide all kinds of assistance considering the Church’s special significance to all Russian society.
“it is a happy day for the Emergency Ministry – we have signed an agreement which opens new horizons for out further cooperation. The document provides for participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in prevention of emergency situations and provision of humanitarian assistance to people in disaster areas,” Mr. Puchkov said after the agreement was signed. “Another area of cooperation is spiritual support to employees of the Emergency Ministry and their families, cadets and students of Ministry’s educational institutions.”
Special focus is going to be made on development of spirituality and traditional moral values, patriotism and pride for the history of our country, as well as to building culture of international communication based on tolerance.
The agreement provides for religious organizations of the Russian Orthodox Church to take part in helping people affected by disasters. The Emergency Ministry will teach priests, sisters of charity and volunteers how to help people in crisis situations. In addition, the Ministry will be able to involve trained volunteers in relief operations legally.
Priests are ready to provide spiritual help and support to the affected people and their families, including that at their homes, institutions, temporary shelters and in the field. To do that, centers of sisters of charity and volunteers, as well as field churches may be set up in disaster areas.
The dioceses are planned to be informed on crisis situations by the Emergency Ministry to make quick decisions on dispatching volunteers.
Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church are going to take part in disaster management exercises, seminars and conferences.
The Emergency Ministry plans to assist dioceses with creating and developing volunteer fire brigades in religious institutions. At present volunteer fire teams made up of priests protect some monasteries and temples and are dispatched to put out fires in remote settlements.
Under the agreement the parties also signed Protocol of Intentions which provides for priests to take part in inspections of religious institutions. The protocol provides for agreeing the terms and time of such inspections. Representatives of the church are going to be included in territorial commissions created under inspectorates of Emergency Ministry’s Directorates in Russian regions to consider compliance with fire safety code in religious institutions.