Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs -  Freedom of Conscience Returns

      ...At last our society has begun to break down the barriers by which it separated itself from its own history, its own culture, and from the Church.

      Freedom of conscience is returning. A strange expression-- freedom of conscience." After all, conscience is always free, and if it is not free, then it is no longer conscience but something else. Each individual has the freedom to act according to his conscience and the freedom to betray it. In any society, life is always more difficult for those who follow their conscience. Whether or not a particular society offers favorable conditions for freedom of conscience may be determined on the basis of whether that society directs its institutions and laws in defense of an individual who dares to live according to his conscience, or whether it applies the full strength of its apparatus to helping that individual live "like everyone else,"

      Perestroika, in its principal—human-dimension, is the transition of society from this latter condition into the other.

       The life of society is being normalized, just as the life of the Church is being normalized. It is becoming increasingly obvious that "religious needs," the demands of a believer’s conscience--these are not only cult requirements; this is also a thirst for active humanitarian ,service; it is normal for the Church to turn to the world and not to run away from it...

Andrei Kurayev graduate of the Moscow Theological Academy
(Moscow News," June 12, 1988)