Modern television
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I have not watched a single series in my life. By this I do not mean to say that these are low level products - I am far from being that critical. I just have never seen more than two episodes. If someone can watch them, then he has too much free time. I would advise students not to watch endless TV shows, but to read, work, think, pray, and do sports if you like, to shape your character. A TV series won’t shape anything... 

When a person has absolutely nothing to do, let him turn on the TV and watch shows. 

Speech at a meeting with students of Kaliningrad universities, Kaliningrad, March 23, 2009

We still have some television broadcasts that create an illusion of legitimacy of the most sinful way of life. We are sometimes told: if you don’t want to, don’t watch. This is indeed a strange approach, because children cannot be taken away from the TV, especially when parents are at work. An adult who lives with different ideals, who is at a different level of intellectual development, will not turn on this program and spend time on it, but the child can turn it on.

On the one hand, society does not want any kind of censorship, and I think that this is correct; on the other hand, it is necessary to ensure spiritual security. This requires a very serious interaction between the Church, the state, and public organizations.  In this, something has already been done. Maybe not everyone can see this, but personally I notice that the translations of the central tele-vision have changed significantly in recent years. Again, supporters of the liberal approach criticize our state for this and say that freedom of speech is being limited, but, despite the criticism, positive changes in this area are taking place. 

God grant that all this should be on the rise. Where people do not have enough understanding of their own to stop, there society should help them to avoid those things that would destroy the moral foundation of our social life. We need to learn how to combine the moral responsibility of a person who has freedom. Here of course, our Church preaching, participating in public life, catechism and educational work, and working with young people is called to play a huge role. 

Meeting with the clergy of the Tver diocese, Tver, July 1, 2010

You and I live in an era when a whole field of corruptions and temptations lies before a person, especially a young person. Outwardly, it is very attractive. There are beautiful flowers here, the grass turns green, fresh streams murmur, and one wants so much to run across this field. Somewhere in the distance are beautiful images of a happy life, a flourishing, personal well-being, material growth, prosperity, pleasures, which this, the picture of heavenly life, seems to open before a per-son. People rush across this field – not realizing that  it is a mine field.

Modern civilization paints a tempting picture for man. Take films, advertisements, or glossy magazines - this is a kind of fabulous world of well-being!   A huge number of people believe in this, as if it were something quite real, and  not just an advertisement. Additionally, it is an invitation to participate in building this world. How? Earn more, spend more, enjoy more, enjoy life more... 

Our television programs alone are worth some-thing! Every day television makes people laugh, but all these entertainment programs are of no interest to anyone. Most viewers turn off these broadcasts - but they go on making us laugh, entertaining... This is how a certain substitution of human happiness takes place - the inner joy of a person, which is a synonym for happiness, is replaced by fun, and the fun quickly passes, especially after a hang-over. So, people come across these mines - they believe in what they are shown, but in fact, all this is not as it appears. That is why we see a colossal growth of alcoholism, drug addiction, the number of suicides, divorces, and abortions. A happy person would not do all of this...

On average, our people spend four to seven hours a day in front of a television or computer. How much time do they spend in church? At best, two hours a week  if they attend church every week. Is it possible to compare in terms of the power of influence on human consciousness, everything that you or I do - our Sunday schools, websites, diocesan departments, parishes - with the secular media? These are incomparable quantities.

By the way, they will never be in balance. We can never say that our impact is the same as the impact of a secular, god-less philosophy of life. First, because the Church does not have such means. In addition, the Church will never use many of the existing methods of influencing the human consciousness, it will never appeal to instinct. The godless world appeals precisely to it, because it is not walking along the path of God, but along the path of the devil. When a person’s instinct is aroused by advertisements, films, literature, this element turns on and darkens the eyes, and we know what happens to the person as a result. Hence, the conclusions of modern sociologists that the “myth” about Orthodoxy will disappear in 10–20 years - they are convinced that, in spite of our efforts, the youth will be completely torn away from the faith in 10–20 years. 

… You can, of course, do nothing and live as you or I have always lived – we serve on Saturday night, and even then not in all parishes; on Sunday we serve the Liturgy, then molebens (prayer services), panikhidas (services for the dead), occasional services... At best, we preach a sermon, having prepared for it, and at worst, we say something off the top of our head. Or we even may say nothing at all, convincing ourselves: “I am so tired, what can a sermon on earth profit?” Perhaps, we give classes to some groups of children - about seven or eight kids, but even then our meetings are irregular.

The question arises: what should we do today as a Church? The Bishops’ Council clearly realized this problem - a number of documents were adopted at the Council that turn our church life in the direction where we face a struggle and where we do not want to be defeated. 

Speech at a diocesan meeting Kaliningrad diocese,

Kaliningrad, October 13, 2011

Cultural politics on television is very important. After all, you can make action movies so that there is a good idea and a clear positive character. We all watched films about the police, intelligence officers which had the character of an action movie, but implicitly carried a high idea, foster-ing love for the Motherland, human self-sacrifice, hon-esty, adherence to principles, and a willingness to take on a heroic deed. Today, cinema and television should carry this not through moralizing, which, forgive me, makes everyone sick, but through the wise and correct inclusion of our national values, which are at the same time universal human values, into the flow of information. 

Speech at a meeting of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin with the leaders of traditional religious communities of Russia, Moscow, February 8, 2012

We live in a world from which you cannot hide anywhere. We live in an open world; whose information flows penetrate into our home and into our bed-room. After all, many have TVs right next to the bed; man opens himself to all of the trends of this age. If you take a closer look at what the modern world offers to a fasting person, we can draw a very sad conclusion - all this represents a gigantic temptation at the level of thought, feeling, and will. Never has a person been exposed to such corruptions and temptations. This is not a beating on the head, but a gradual penetrating into the subconscious, forming a kind of negative attitude towards Christian values, almost without the participation of the person himself.

Recently, quite by accident, I turned on the TV. In Russia, where most people are Orthodox, young women humorously discuss a topic. At first, these faces aroused sympathy in me - indeed, the people were witty, the interaction was good. However, when I listened to what was being discussed, I was horrified. It’s embarrassing for me to tell you what it was about. It’s embarrassing even to use the words that these women easily used when appearing before an audience of millions where the majority are Orthodox people, with a huge number of children and adolescents.

I will try to discreetly say what was discussed: should you enter into an intimate relationship at the first date or at the second? The conclusion of the entire broadcast was this: enjoy sex.

This is not only one broadcast. 

24 hours a day, through dozens of channels, a flood of information inundates us, destroying any psychological state appropriate for fasting. What food to eat? Which brand of herring or lump of butter? We are faced with an enormous impact on our soul, and in order to overcome it, enormous efforts are required.

Fasting today is incomparably harder, but I think that the result of fasting is incomparably higher. A person who is able to overcome the attraction of evil, strengthened by all the power of modern technical civilization, becomes truly free and really acquires what the Lord calls us to - communion with Him, which means fullness of life and eternal life afterwards. 

Speech in a TV program “Word of the Pastor.” April 7, 2012

Today we are talking about the creation of public tele-vision. At first, we accepted this idea with enthusiasm, and then we had second thoughts about it. Indeed, in our country, more often than not, the biggest cry comes from those who do not represent the majority. The authorities react to them with some fear, but this is not the majority. The majority, I assure you, are those who today agree with what I am saying. 

This is not just a presumptuous statement - it is based on the closest scrutiny of the public sentiment that the Church is pursuing through its own means. By the way, not only the Church: according to the Foundation “Public Opin-ion”, from 63% to 82% (depending on the issue) welcome the participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in social and public programs. People also have a need for the Church to participate in socially significant projects.

Therefore, public television should also reflect not the number of decibels in public statements, but the real number of people who are associated with this or that position, and who adequately represent different points of view. Among other things, of course, representing those people who are concerned about the moral state of our society. 

Speech at a meeting of the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin with the leaders of traditional religious communities of Russia, Moscow, February 8, 2012