By Aimilios Polygenis
September 24, 2011
"The number of Orthodox in the Czech Republic is increasing every day," said the Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Republic and All Slovakia in an interview.
His Beatitude the Metropolitan of Czech spoke of increased faith compared to other denominations in the country, saying that "many people from the former Soviet Union come to live here. Many Czechs come to be baptized Orthodox; the Orthodox Church is a refuge for all."
Moreover, Metropolitan Christopher said that "all Orthodox churches are full, even on holidays the people fill the church even going outside of it. Meanwhile Catholic churches are empty."
Asked why this happening, since the Czech Republic is the most atheistic country in Europe, the Czech Metropolitan said: "About this I am asked very often. I answer that my much-suffering country, which received the baptism of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, for centuries was born with the persecution of the Popes and Cardinals."
"Catholicism was implanted by force, with almost the same methods as traditionally practiced by the Nazis and the communists. If you were disobedient they would take your property and send you into exile, and they may have even put an end to you," continued Mr. Christopher.
Then he added that "of the 150,000 rural families there are only 30,000 left. It seems clear that the Czechs do not like Catholicism. So Czechoslovakia soon became an independent country, with about one million people leaving the Catholic Church and the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Czechoslovakia."
Also the Metropolitan of the Czech Republic and Slovakia said: "More and more people today in the Czech Republic and Slovakia prefer the Orthodox Church. We now need to boost their morale, especially among young people, and teach them the truth that they did not know."
In closing, Metropolitan Christopher was asked what the biggest problems today in the Church of the Czech Republic are, and he stressed that "the biggest problem is lack of space. Have you seen what's going on inside the churches? Believers can hardly fit, and many sit on the street."
"I want to thank the Russian Church, Patriarch Kirill, Bishop Hilarion and the Head-priest Nicholas Balasof who helped me purchase our offices and Sunday School," added the Metropolitan of Czech.
Glory to God!
I knew a Czech Episcopalian, who said that the people, after the fall of Communism, expressed that the only positive legacy of Communism was that it destroyed and dispersed the following of the Vatican there. We were both quite sad about such emptiness. I'm glad that it is being filled, especially being filled by the Orthodox (although I'd be happy even it was Ultramontanists).
On size, I remember the dinky Church I went to in Bratislava (what was interesting that there was a half dozen soldiers attending and worshipping (as oppposed to just watching: CzS was one of the few places in the Soviet Block were I felt a constant reminder that I was in a communist country, and it was nice to see soldiers in that context coming and crossing themselves and praying). One of the smallest Churches I've been too, and in the capital of Slovakia.
May they do SS. Cyril, Methodius, Ratislav, and both Gorazds proud!