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Orthodox Social Teaching

Orthodox Teaching on Social Issues

In 2000, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church adopted a document expressing the basis of Orthodox social teaching. It is neither an exhaustive teaching on ethics nor a dogmatic or inspired article of faith, but it very clearly lays out the thinking behind classic Christian ethical teaching and the Church’s approach to contemporary issues. It ought to serve as a starting place for any conversation on the Church in society.

The Foundation of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church


Adopted at the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, this document sets forth the basic provisions of her teaching on church-state relations and a number of problems socially significant today. It also reflects the official position of the Moscow Patriarchate on relations with the state and secular society. In addition, it gives a number of guidelines to be applied in these social-ethical issues by the episcopate, clergy and laity.

The nature of the document is determined by the needs experienced by the whole of the Russian Orthodox Church during a long historical period both within and beyond the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. Therefore, it deals primarily with fundamental theological and church-social issues, as well as those aspects of the life of the state and society which were and are equally relevant for the whole Church at the end of the 20th century and in the near future.


  1. Basic Theological Principles
  2. Church and Nation
  3. Church and State
  4. Christian Ethics and Secular Law
  5. Church and Politics
  6. Labor and Its Fruits
  7. Property
  8. War and Peace
  9. Crime, Punishment, Reformation
  10. Personal, Family and Public Morality
  11. Personal and National Health
  12. Problems of Bioethics
  13. The Church and Ecological Problems
  14. Science, Culture and Education
  15. The Church and Mass Media
  16. International Relationsh

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