In one of the cities in the state of Illinois, it was approved for the first time in the USA’s history to pay reparations to those who will prove that someone from their ancestors was a plantation slave: they will be allocated 25 thousand dollars each. In connection with the decision of local authorities, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that ‘there can be no realization of the American dream without grappling with the original sin of slavery’.
Commenting on this situation on the air of the Church and World TV program, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, noted, ‘I agree that slavery is a sinful phenomenon. After all, it was overcome, first of all thanks to Christianity’.
He reminded the listeners that nothing specific is said in the teaching of Jesus Christ about the abolition, since our Saviour ‘was not at all a social reformer as He was the reformer of human souls’.‘The good news He brought was addressed to an individual, not to society as a whole’, he continued, ‘He did not call to certain political changes, to the abolition of particular existing institutes. But the ethical paradigm laid down by Christ and developed by His apostles and later by holy fathers was primarily based on the idea that all people are equal before God, that before God there is neither Black nor slave, nor free; as St. Paul put it, neither Greek nor Jew (Col. 3:11). All the differences existing among people be they social, racial or any other are abolished in Christianity’.
Precisely this paradigm, many centuries after Christ’s preaching, led to the abolition of slavery in Christian countries, Metropolitan Hilarion said.
‘The legacy that has remained in the USA after the colonial period, when black slaves were brought to America in ships’ holds and unloaded there and they had to live in inhuman conditions (and many died on the way) is a sin for which America will have to pay off for a long time yet’, he said. In his opinion, if a state is ready to take upon itself reparations to the descenders of black slaves, then it can be only welcomed.
DECR Communication Service