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10:46 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russia

Church Spokesman Likens Environmentalists to Pagans

Russia
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Radical environmentalists who value humans less than other species are channeling pagan and occult ideas, a Russian Orthodox Christian Church official said on Tuesday.

Radical environmentalists who value humans less than other species are channeling pagan and occult ideas, a Russian Orthodox Christian Church official said on Tuesday.

“There’s an ongoing attempt to tell people that they are harmful by default for all living creatures and for the ecological balance in the world,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said in Moscow.

“The idea stems from idolization of nature, an attempt to introduce pagan and occult elements into environmentalism,” Chaplin said, speaking at a roundtable on church’s ecological policy.

Quasi-pagan ideas are shared by certain radical environmentalist groups in Russia and abroad, he said, without naming any names.

“We believe that nature was created for man, that man should be its assiduous master, but not worship nature,” Chaplin said.

But depredation of natural resources is also despicable and should be avoided, Chaplin added.

In May, the Orthodox Christian Church drafted an environmental policy statement, the first in its thousand-year-long history. The church paid increasing attention to environmental concerns in recent decades, but no formal policy initiatives were passed before.

The document was discussed on Tuesday in the Public Chamber, a state-run advisory body, ahead of its review by church leadership, a complex process which could begin in November, according to Chaplin.