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The debate on the teaching of “Religion” in the Bulgarian schools

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After the democratic changes in Bulgaria and the collapse of the totalitarian atheistic regime at the end of the twentieth century, most Bulgarians sincerely agree with the statement that Orthodoxy is the spiritual treasure of the nation and the Fatherland. The majority is convinced that spirituality is a good thing, that the road to the temple should not be turbulent, and that in the spiritual treasury of Orthodoxy the Church of Christ has been accumulating and preserving the values ​​of eternal life for two thousand years. But how can each of us receive our share of this spiritual treasure?

– Spiritual and cultural expansion, bringing total unification, must be opposed by the joint efforts of the Church, state structures, civil society and international organizations to establish throughout the world a truly equal mutual educational, cultural and information exchange, linked to the protection of the identity of nations and other human communities.

Few people in our time would remember an excerpt from the life of a Bulgarian or pan-Orthodox saint, not a single Gospel parable, not a single meaningful saint, not a single Gospel parable, not a single meaningful theological thought, and almost no one would point to a case when a good deed was prompted by a heard church sermon or a deeply experienced worship service. There are few who, before making their choice, will look to the gospel or consult a priest. Most will consult a horoscope, magician or psychic – clairvoyant, because for them the only criteria are the human mind and private religious ideas and superstitions. It turns out that we live in a country with a “victorious occultism” – a sign of a deep moral and religious crisis. Undoubtedly, it is useful and necessary to conduct lessons in Christian doctrine in secular schools, which should be done at the request of children or their parents, as well as in higher schools. The state authorities must conduct a dialogue with the Priesthood of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the leaderships of other traditional religious denominations in the Republic of Bulgaria, aimed at legislative and practical fixation of the internationally recognized right of believing families to receive religious education.

The Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Solovyov emphasizes that this is exactly the dream of the Antichrist – to close Orthodoxy in a ritual and ethnographic reserve. In The Tale of the Antichrist, which crowns Soloviev’s posthumous work The Three Conversations, the Antichrist, proclaimed president of the globe, hopes to buy the favor of Orthodox Christians by addressing them with the words: “Dear brothers, I know that after you there are those for whom the most valuable thing in Christianity is the Sacred Tradition, the old symbols, the ancient songs and prayers, the icons and the liturgical rite. And in fact, is there anything more precious to the religious soul? Know, beloved, that today I have signed a decree for the allocation of huge financial resources to the World Museum of Christian Archeology in order to collect and preserve the monuments of church antiquity. Orthodox brothers, who cares about this will of mine, who can accept me and call me his true leader and bishop, let him step here …! ” – Then the elder John became and declared that “the most valuable thing in Christianity is Christ himself”.

Let us not forget that if we do not speak of Christ, we will not be able to imitate Him in life and work. Our word will cease to be a religious sermon, but will remain a kind of lecture on church history and archeology, in “spiritual cultural massism.” Let us nurture the hope that the spiritual awakening that began after the collapse of the atheist regime will gradually gain strength and over the years will be able to restore in human souls and in Bulgaria what has been destroyed and killed for half a century. The activity of these new missions and “messiahs” is fertilized by the cultural and religious nihilism, which they instilled in our country in the Stakhanov way by the emissaries of foreign religious propaganda, treating Bulgaria as a spiritual desert, in which even if there was any Christianity, it was totally infected and tainted by “medieval perversions and superstitions”, with their fierce preaching of a negative attitude towards the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Tradition, the Holy Sacraments and the worship of the Orthodox Church.

The foundations of the social concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, prepared and approved by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, are intended to serve as a guide for synodal institutions, dioceses, monasteries, parishes and other canonical church institutions in their relations with various secular authorities. organizations, with the extra-church media. The Church recalls that many national cultures have Christian roots and that Christ’s followers are called to help strengthen the interdependence of faith with the cultural heritage of nations by resolutely opposing the phenomena of anti-culture and the commercialization of the information and creative space.

I allow myself to cite the comprehensive analysis of the question developed in Chapter XIV, item 3 of the above-mentioned document, referring to religious education in the Orthodox-Christian aspect: “In the Christian tradition, secular education has always been respected. Many Church Fathers studied in secular schools and academies and felt that the sciences taught in them were necessary for the believer. St. Basil the Great writes that “external sciences are not useless” for the Christian, who must accept from them everything that serves moral improvement and intellectual growth. According to St. Gregory the Theologian, “every man with a mind recognizes learning (paideusin – education) as the first good for us. And not only the noblest teaching, which is ours, and which … has as its object the salvation and beauty of the contemplative, but also the external teaching, from which many Christians, out of ignorance, shun as unreliable, dangerous, and distant from us. God. ”

From an Orthodox point of view, it is desirable for the entire education system to be built on religious principles and to be based on Christian values. However, the Church, following a centuries-old tradition, respects the secular school and is ready to build its relationship with it, guided by the recognition of the freedom of every human being. … The Church calls for the elimination of the consequences of atheistic control over the state education system.

The Church continues to remind us of the contribution of Christianity to the treasury of world and national culture. Orthodox believers regret attempts to uncritically borrow educational standards, programs, and principles of education from organizations known for their negative attitudes toward Christianity in general or Orthodoxy in particular. The danger of penetrating occult and neo-pagan influences into the secular school, of destructive sects, under the influence of which the child may be lost to himself, his family and society, should not be ignored.

The school is the mediator that transmits to the new generations the moral values ​​accumulated during the previous centuries. In this regard, the school and the Church are called to cooperate. Education, especially for children and adolescents, is designed not only to provide information. The kindling in the young hearts of striving for the Truth, of a true moral feeling, of love for one’s neighbor, for the homeland, for its history and culture – all this should also be the task of the school not in a smaller, but perhaps in a more much more than teaching knowledge. The Church is called and seeks to assist the school in its educational mission, because on the spiritual and moral image of man depends his eternal salvation, as well as the future of individual nations and the whole human race. “

The executive branch has always duly assessed the role of religion in the formation of the spiritual self-consciousness of the youngest generation of Bulgarian citizens – our children, which is why within the mandate of the current leadership free aids and everything) the formation of groups for the study of “Religion” in the system of Bulgarian schools at the request of parents and students.

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