By Kostas Onisenko
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to drastically reduce the information leakage on the media by clergy and monks.
A decision was announced yesterday stating that priests and monks who leak “confidential” information about the Russian Orthodox Church will be severely punished. According to the Interfax News Agency, the reason for the decision was “cases of disclosure of internal secrets of the Church to third parties, including the media.”
According to the same source, the punishment for the possible violation of this prohibition by a priest will be a ban from officiating the religious services for a period of up to one year and up to three years if should such an offense occur again.
Accordingly, monks who commit the same offense will be banned from Holy Communion for up to one year and up to three years if repeated. At the same time, the Holy Synod explained that only the Patriarch or the archpriest of the respective Metropolis will be able to grant authorization to a priest or monk for the disclosure of confidential information.
This decision raises questions as since the beginning it is not clarified which information is considered intra-church and which is not. For example, is the information about the personal assets of priests and other church-related persons confidential? Furthermore, for example, what effect can such a decision have if the confidential information disclosed relates to serious criminal offenses?
Church officials say they are waiting to see how the decision will work in practice to draw further conclusions about its purpose and usefulness.