In the complicated relationship between Russia and the West, changes in religious legislation, the Vatican has made a big gift to the legal community. 28 June 2018 at the residence of the Apostolic Nuncio (Ambassador) of the Holy see in Russia the ceremony of awarding the order of St. Pope Gregory the Great lawyer, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, member of the Council on human rights under the President of the Russian Federation and co-Chairman of the Slavic legal center.
Essentially in the person of Vladimir Ryakhovsky has been recognized not only his personal merits as a lawyer, but also the achievements of the Russian public in the field of freedom of conscience and belief.
The insignia of the order of St. Gregory the Great, Vladimir Ryakhovsky on behalf of Pope Francis were handed over by the Nuncio of the Holy see Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who noted the great contribution of the lawyer to the protection of the believers and approval of the principle of freedom and dignity in Russia. Now Vladimir Ryakhovsky is a Knight of the order of St. Gregory The Great.
According to Vladimir Ryakhovsky, for him this award was a big surprise, although the lawyer many times defended representatives of different faiths, including representatives of the Catholic Church in our country. Was cases and the Armenian Catholic Church and Franciscan monastery in Moscow, and assistance in the activities of the Catholic parish at the American Embassy. The portal “Religion and law” regularly publishes materials about problems with the return of Church buildings of the Russian Catholic Church.
One of the latest cases was significant and related to the Catholic Church in Siberia. One of these centers of Christian culture is the Novosibirsk diocese of the Russian Catholic Church (RCC), headed by Bishop Joseph Werth, a Russian-born German in Kazakhstan. The diocese has become the focus of charitable aid within the framework of Caritas, religious education, and a place where people come representatives of the Novosibirsk intellectuals for lectures and concerts. However, last autumn, the diocese lost one of its activists, the priest Ganesa Andrew North, head of the Catholic center of spiritual development “Inigo”. 16 October 2017 by the decision of Novosibirsk regional court was annulled the residence permit Janaza of the North in Russia. A crucial role in the retrial was played by the intervention of a member of the Council on human rights under the President of Russian lawyer Vladimir Ryakhovsky, who represented the interests of the priest in court. As a result, 6 February 2018, the Novosibirsk regional court quashed the district court’s decision to annul the permit and issued an additional decision that is very rare. Janes Andrew North is in Russia since the early 1990-ies as a member of the independent Russian region society of Jesus and the head of the Russian center “Inigo” in Novosibirsk. The center holds public lectures, Seminars, conferences, theatrical performances on the basis of the diocese. On the website of the center created a rich historical archive on the history of the Catholic Church in Siberia.
As noted at the time, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, the expulsion of a Catholic priest would be, of course, injustice and a personal shock to him, who spent half his life in Russia. The tragedy of today is that in Russian society the euphoria cause by legal decision, which must take the court within the framework of the normal legal process.
Receiving from the hands of the Nuncio Order, Vladimir Ryakhovsky said that all his life is connected with the protection of the rights of believers: even as a child he saw the lives of their parents, the Ministers of the Protestant Church, under persecution and constant trials. In the heavy Soviet times Ryakhovsky said: “I want to be “Aria” – as lead counsel, defending persecuted believers, including father, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, a lawyer Semyon Aria. The dispersal of services with the help of police, prison sentences for pastors and bishops, attempts to take away children from Christian parents – this was all before the eyes of Vladimir with the childhood. The pain for the faithful, a keen sense of injustice, which often happens in Russia towards believers, Vladimir Ryakhovsky has carried through life. As a lawyer and public figure, Ryakhovsky defended freedom after the adoption of the Law on freedom of conscience 1997, after the adoption of the “Law of Spring” to control the missionary activities of the lawyer in the vanguard of the democratic forces of civil society.
High reward is also advance in the future, is the inspiration for the work of Vladimir Ryakhovsky and all my colleagues at the Slavic legal center, which works with believers of different faiths since 1990-ies.
Now in Russia there is the owner of one of the highest social Orders of the Catholic Church. The order of St. Gregory the Great papal knightly order of the fourth class, which is given in different countries of the world to outstanding people for their service to the Church and society. June 28 Lady of the order of St. Gregory the Great was also the lawyer of Ioannina Lazovsky, defending the orphanage of the sisters of Mother Teresa in Moscow. I must say that the number of people that can be awarded by this Order, limited to a certain number (the Order is awarded to the new candidate only when one of the knights leaves this world).
Among awarded the Order of St. Gregory the Great writer Gilbert Chesterton and Oscar Schindler who saved Jews from the Nazis. Russian citizens Medal in 2015 was awarded Yaroslav Ternovsky, a member of the all-Russian public movement “Catholic heritage”, representing Catholics in the Public chamber of the Russian Federation.
The letter of Pope Francis on the awarding of the order of St. Gregory the Great, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, approved by the signature of the Vatican’s Secretary of state cardinal Pietro parolin says:
“Francis Is The Supreme Pontiff
Willingly accepting the petition, addressed to us, from which we learn about Your achievements in promoting and maintaining the good of the Church and Christianity, we wish to give You a clear indication of our gratitude and erected, appointed and declared to You, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, a Knight of the Secular Order of St. Gregory the Great and gives You the right to enjoy all the privileges attached to this dignity.”
In the sphere of freedom of conscience such a high international award of the Holy see awarded for the first time. It is possible that this is due to the special relations between the Orthodox and Catholic churches after a meeting in Havana of the Pope and the Patriarch, and with a special attitude of Pope Francis to Russia, and the desire of the Pope not to forget about persecuted Christians of all denominations. Lawyer Vladimir Ryakhovsky as a public figure stands in the centre of the debate about the future of Christianity in Russia like a knight spiritual freedom from within and a defender of religious freedom in the outside world the face of the state.
Author: Roman Lunkin