Rome, Italy, Jun 22, 2010 / 19:51 pm
As the EU court in Strasbourg prepares to issue a new ruling on the public display of crucifixes on June 30, the president of the Bishops' Conference of Russia, Bishop Joseph Werth, noted that the crucifix is not only a religious symbol but it also represents Europe’s true identity.
“Religious symbols such as the cross are not only the sign of Christianity but also one of the most important elements of European identity,” the bishop said.
In a statement published by L’Osservatore Romano, Bishop Werth recalled that “in Russia under the communist regime, many believers suffered persecution and society suffered from moral insanity.” Given these facts, he continued, “pluralism and freedom of conscience do not imply restrictions on the rights of those who wish to live according to the spiritual and cultural heritage of our continent.”
Bishops in Bulgaria, Poland, Greece, Slovenia and other countries have issued similar statements, asserting that Europe’s foundation was built upon Christianity, which has the cross as its main symbol.