Right on the heels of the discussion on NFTU radio concerning mixed marriages in Russia, a cold statistic has reared its head in the Moscow Patriarchate’s Belgorod region: only 9% of the marriages in the region are in fact Church marriages. Furthermore, according to Russia Religion News, translating an article from Portal-Credo:
” At the same time, the number of baptisms of children under the age of one year has remained the same for several years, higher than 90%. Last year in Belgorod province 18,000 newborns came into the world.
According to data from November 2010, in 2010 the numbers of marriages and divorces in Belgorod region were equal at 6030. The bishop called these numbers “alarming” and he noted especially that they “speak most clearly of a certain crisis of the family as the foundation of our society.”
Even worse, the article goes on to say that only about half the church divorces requested were in fact granted, indicating that the problems of marriage in the region are far more pronounced than the authorities are willing to admit.
Last month, the Governor called for a welfare-scheme based system where benefits are granted for increasing the number of children. The article states that “In December 2010 Governor E. Savchenko announced a proposal for economic stimulus for having several children in Belgorod region and he proposed to test it as a pilot project in the provincial center. In the event of the birth of a third child the family is granted a loan of one million to one million 200 thousand rubles for building a private home. Upon the birth of a fourth child, the loan is cut in half, and a fifth child gives the right to free housing.”
While this may or may not help contribute to the increase in the population, the statistics are grim for marriage itself unless a real change occurs in the society, which the Moscow Patriarchate is in no strong position to implement.