On the eve of a new academic year, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Wednesday again said the basics of Orthodox culture should be taught in public schools.
Mintimer Shaimiyev said, "I consider attempts to unilaterally introduce the teaching of the basics only of Orthodoxy in Russian schools a mistake."
He suggested that the Education and Science Ministry work out a basic course of study of all world religions for the country's schools.
Shaimiyev said Orthodoxy and other religions should be taught separately at Sunday schools.
Academic Alexander Chubaryan said the Russian Academy of Sciences had already created a textbook on the history of world religions that would be tested in several Moscow schools during the new academic year.
He said the textbook, approved by the Education and Science Ministry and religious leaders, contained sections on Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, other religions and sects.
Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko said he also backed the idea.