These days celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Centre for religious studies in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus of Lyons. The day of the founding of the Center for religious studies (CRS) in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon is the fifth of Sep – Church memorial day of this Saint. On this day, Alexander Leonidovich Dvorkin is then an employee of the Department of religious education and catechization of the Moscow Patriarchate announced the creation of the Information-consultation center of St. Irenaeus of Lyons. By the time Church historian Alexander L. was engaged in totalitarian sects (he first used in the Russian language this instantly caught the term) for about a year and as he remembers it, I realized that as soon as he took this theme, it is necessary to do it professionally.
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Early nineties was difficult for the Russians. The old state disappeared and a new was in its infancy. The structures of power governing life in different areas, only more evolved. Legislation in the field of religion was characterized by extreme liberalism and inconsistencies. Using this, the country has experienced a wide and muddy stream of foreign missionaries and recruiters to open their many religious (or religious) organizations. Appeared and “their” homegrown sect. Followers of the “AUM Shinrikyo” and “White brotherhood”, neopentadactyla, “bogorodichnyi”, Scientologists, Moonies, Krishnas, Mormons, Satanists – this is not a complete list of sects, which suddenly faced our fellow citizens. No wonder that soon there were people who have suffered from such destructive associations.
The establishment in September 1993, the Information and Advisory centre (later the Centre for religious studies) in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus of Lyons was the public response to these “sectarian” invocations. The head of the organization was Professor of St. Tikhon’s University, doctor of philosophy, candidate of theology Alexander Dvorkin. Thanks to him, was worked out the only correct concept of the activities of the Centre: not only and not so much “pull” people out of destructive cults and to work “proactively” to wide informing of citizens and the state about the dangerous totalitarian sect. In its activity the organization has received the blessing of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II. This is evidence of a great danger, which was already seen in the sects of the Russian Orthodox Church.
For a quarter century, our Center began in a modest room in a dilapidated building in krapivensky pereulok, has come a long way of formation and development, continually expanding the scope of its activities. Came close and friendly relations with similar organizations in countries near and far abroad. Gained fame with numerous performances of heads and representatives of the Centre in mass media, at international and Russian scientific-practical conferences, round tables. Our employees have accumulated about the activities of sects a wealth of material, which was protected by more than a dozen diploma and PhD works.
In many respects the work of the Centre, constantly raised the problem of human rights violations in destructive cults has allowed the adoption of a new Federal law “On freedom of conscience and on religious associations”, which tightened the registration requirements of different communities and introduced the Institute of the state religious expertise, as well as a number of provisions of the Federal law “On countering extremist activities”.
Testimony to the effective work of the Center was the acquisition of the status of the head structure of the Russian Association of centers for the study of religions and sects (RACERS) and a member of the European Federation of the research centres of informing on sects (FECRIS), in which Professor A. L. Dvorkin for three consecutive terms Vice-President. For their activities, many employees of TSRi was awarded the highest Church awards, letters and certificates from state authorities and local self-government.
Now the Centre for religious studies continues its work. Enjoys more attention our online website www.iriney.ru and has a “hotline”, where you can seek advice from relatives and friends of the individuals involved in the sect. The regional branch of the RCT, its authorized representatives or fraternal organizations in almost any subject of the Federation. There is close interaction of the Center with the parishes and institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional for our country’s faiths. To the employees of TSRi has been regularly consulted by law enforcement authorities, which, alas, are increasingly faced with the crimes of religious-extremist nature. Materials collected by representatives of the Centre, helped the Prosecutor General’s office of the Russian Federation to close in a judicial order first major pseudo-religious movement “Transformation of Russia”, and most recently the local “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, as well as about twenty other less widely known but no less destructive sects. The centre cooperated effectively with the media and his representatives several times a week, give comments to journalists of Federal and regional publications, television and radio broadcasts.
Note that the Center for religious studies in the name of the Holy Martyr Irenaeus of Lyons is registered as an interregional public organization, and all our work is done on enthusiasm.
Needless to say, that the leadership themselves of totalitarian sects activities TSRi – as a bone in the throat. Therefore, regularly taking large-scale, generously funded, but it is always cowardly-anonymous attempts to discredit the leaders and staff of the Center in the eyes of the state and citizens. However, practice shows that such attempts seriously sectarians no one sees.
As you know, a quarter of a century – the age when they have already found a place in the life of a person begins to work in full force, to bring the maximum benefit to society and the state. We are sure that our Centre is celebrating twenty-fifth birthday, in front of a big future.