a Russian social code

In February 2004, the Russian Orthodox Church sponsored the eighth meeting of the “World Russian People’s Council”-a civil society forum- in which a code of ten moral principles to guide Russian business was put forward.

Owning private property was endorsed, but “within the context of stewardship, echoing St. John Chrysostom‘s observation that “Wealth is not forbidden if it be used for that which is necessary.” The first commandment enjoins Russian entrepreneurs: Take care of the welfare of other people, the nation and the country when seeking personal welfare” and the second observes, “Wealth is not an end in itself. It must serve for the creation of the good life for individuals and the nation.”

The document also draws upon the traditional Russian concept of sobornost’, or conciliarity, to put forward a vision of public-private partnerships, of joint efforts between “government, society, and business” for creating a healthy standard of living for all citizens, especially the disabled and the vulnerable.”

The document includes an “unequivocal condemnation of tax evasion as “stealing from orphans, the aged, disabled and other unprotected categories of people.”

To access the ten moral principles, click on this article, a commentary by Nikolas K. Gvosdev on the website of the Acton Institute, Feb. 18, 2004: http://www.acton.org/commentary/commentary_180.php

Another reference to the code (scroll down for article in English): http://orthodoxeurope.org/page/14/69.aspx

Russia has a history of Church-state cooperation. The U.S. Constitution separates Church and state. These Christian principles could apply everywhere, including the U.S., but how would such recommendations be received? That businessmen should “especially” bear in mind the disabled and vulnerable- now there’s a truth to be proclaimed loud and clear in the public square. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.- Editor.

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