His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed the audience with an opening speech:
“I am very glad to see all of you, brothers, and I need to hear your voices, because you are working in an area in which I, by virtue of my ministry, cannot be fully involved. After all, presence in social networks, in a virtual discussion requires a very deep immersion, if we are talking about serious professional participation.
A priest otherwise and can not participate in this activity. If he sets out on the Internet only his dreams, fantasies, conjectures, then it is better not to go there at all. We read the following words from the apostle: I was everything to all, in order to save at least some (see 1 Cor. 9:22). Just imagine if this phrase is divided in half: for everyone, I was everything - period. Nightmare! But then: to save at least some - and everything falls into place.
I think that everyone who today works on the Internet and speaks, if not on behalf of the Church, then at least acts as a priest, should remember these words: For all, I was everything to save at least some . This means that the soteriological dimension of your presence on the Internet is absolutely necessary.
For a priest, the Internet is not a place where he demonstrates his intellectual abilities, not a place where he makes an impression, not a place where he collects "likes", but an environment where he brings the Good News to people - perhaps in specific words, in specific categories of thought, with the involvement of specific argumentation.
But if you detach your presence in the networks from the soteriological dimension, then you are a ringing brass and a rattling cymbal (see 1 Cor. 13:1), and it is better for you to leave from there.
Therefore, I want to say again: the only way we can justify ourselves before the Lord, before our neighbors and before our conscience is if we perceive the presence on the Internet as our pastoral service. Here is my main thesis, and therefore the conclusion is very simple: if I accept that this is my "pulpit", with which I address people - with a certain phraseology, with a certain goal-setting, but precisely as a priest, in order to contribute to their salvation, - then it's all justified.
Once again I want to say: I have great respect for your work. Unfortunately, I can't follow your posts as I should, but my colleagues, who are more knowledgeable in this area, help me keep track of a lot, especially if something interesting happens.
I have already had the opportunity to say that along with successful examples of work on the Internet, we also have experience of extremely inept presence. Sometimes the image of a clergyman, declared in the Internet space, turns out to be too far from the ideal that has developed in the cultural tradition of our people. Such a discrepancy first of all destroys the personality of the priest himself, and, unfortunately, such examples are well known to all of us.
I would also like to remind you that the principles of the participation of the Church in the political life of society, formulated in the Fundamentals of the Social Concept, remain relevant. Moreover, today we must especially observe these principles and not enter into the discussion of political issues, except when it becomes necessary to raise our voice in defense of spiritual and moral values. We enter into a dialogue with the public not to give political assessments or to position ourselves as political analysts, but only to bring a Christian dimension to this discussion.
Finally, it is very important that a pastor working in the information space should not forget about his main goal - to help a person find Christ as a Savior. I have already said that Internet activity should in no case obscure the concern for real parishioners and replace the work of pastoral care; all the more dangerous if the presence on the Internet makes the priest addicted.
The pastor must first of all remember that his calling is not the Internet, but the salvation of human souls.”