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Russian Boat Disaster Shows Public Immorality - Church Leader

File Photo of Patriarch Kirill
file photo
MOSCOW. July 12 (Interfax) - Sunday's sinking of the cruise boat Bulgaria in a Volga River reservoir, which claimed at least 90 lives, reflects the degree of immorality in Russian society, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, argued on Tuesday.

"If it were just a one-shot, exceptional event! But it isn't. Quite recently we were mourning the innocent fatalities of the air crash in Petrozavodsk. But how many fatalities have been caused by so-called manmade disasters! And think of the hot summer of last year, which claimed many lives," Kirill said after a worship service that marked the 450th anniversary of St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, one of Moscow's landmarks.

The service included a prayer for those killed in Sunday's shipwreck.

"There was the so-called human factor in all those terrible disasters," the patriarch said.

"If a piece of equipment has become obsolete, can it be used with human lives being put at risk just in order to make some money?" he said.

Furthermore, there were those who were taking pictures with their mobile phones both on the site of the Petrozavodsk crash and on that of the Bulgaria accident, and "this means that nothing had turned in those people's souls," Kirill said.

"What is happening today is an insult to the government, to society, to the entire people, and we must not see this calmly as just one more accident. We must pluck up courage, use our willpower, our financial resources to prevent possible disasters of this kind in the future," he said.

And the main point is that people must learn to be sympathetic and able to come to others' rescue, and remember that "anyone may get into trouble, and we know how this happens during disasters and during terrorist acts," Kirill said.

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