Press release (the photos are from here: http://www.scientologynews.org/press-releases/grand-opening-scientology-ideal-organization-opens-moscow.html ):
The Scientology religion has opened its first major Church in the Russian Federation—the new Church of Scientology of Moscow. The building stands in the city’s central Garden Ring, just a mile from Red Square.
Commemorating this new Scientology Church, Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the religion, declared: “It has been said that Russia cannot be understood with the intellect, that it cannot be measured by any common standard and that it can only be believed in. Well, let Russia now believe this: The Church that now stands in Moscow possesses a technology that is all but synonymous with the human spirit. It is a technology to bring forth the goodness in people and the greatness they are destined to achieve. It is a technology that is both kind and strong. It is a technology for freedom and wisdom.”
Scientology established its first Church in the Russian Federation in 1993 after the fall of communism and has seen phenomenal growth in the years since. It has been recognized as a leading voice in the fight for universal human rights.
The new Moscow Church not only meets the needs of its growing congregation of Scientologists, but also serves as the center for all faiths to unite for community betterment and social improvement in the name of religious freedom.
The Church of Scientology of Moscow further coordinates the Church’s many humanitarian initiatives. The 65,000-square-foot building houses a Public Information Display presenting an introduction to all Church-sponsored programs, including those dedicated to drug education, literacy and human rights. The new Church also provides public conference rooms and an auditorium for religious community functions.
The Moscow Church already stands at the forefront of Russia’s greater human rights movement. It works in coordination with the internationally renowned Moscow Helsinki Group, founded by Ms. Lyudmila Alexeyeva. Ms. Alexeyeva is one of the original Soviet era dissidents to decry communist oppression. She is also the recipient of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. On the occasion of the Moscow Church opening, Ms. Alexeyeva stated: “For me, as a human rights advocate, all religions are equal in their rights. Your Church is particularly devoted to defending the freedom of belief not only for its own parishioners but for all religious people of any denomination.”
The Church’s religious freedom victories are now legend. Scientology’s landmark decisions before the European Court of Human Rights set the standard for religious rights in all 47 member states. In recognition of what this new Church of Scientology represents to religious freedom, Mr. Boris Nikolayevich Panteleyev from the Russian Federation’s Public Chamber stated: “The precedents you have set in the European Court of Human Rights regarding your Church are very important for all those who stand for religious freedom. Today all lawyers, religious scholars, human rights advocates and representatives of other faiths carefully study these texts, seeing in them hope for justice and protection from discrimination in our own land.”
Mr. Panteleyev, who presented the Church with a recognition commemorating its grand opening, continued, saying: “Scientologists work to see that all have the right to thought, to practice religion and to rejoice. You work to see that all people have the right to assemble, the right to establish and support their own churches and organizations; that they have the freedom to think for themselves and to the expression of their thoughts and ideas. These freedoms are the very manifestation of the individual spirit. So it is important that we rejoice today, for this is a glorious day in the name of freedom for all of Russia.”
Scientology’s Drug Free World initiative is but one of the Church programs now adopted by citizens of the Russian Federation. Among its foremost advocates is Dr. Victor Ivanovich Cherepkov, two-term State Duma Deputy, who said: “The drug industry has taken its toll on Russians for years. Until recently we had no solution that could prevent the problem. Your drug education is well recognized in Russia. We are already using your literature and your methods in the fight against drugs. In fact, these are widely disseminated throughout Russia. And it’s spreading for one reason only: it simply is working everywhere and anywhere.”
Dr. Cherepkov went on to say, “In the effectiveness of your anti-drug campaign, I see the wisdom of L. Ron Hubbard—the great teacher and philosopher. For he unlocked the human mind and human problems with knowledge, to free us from the wickedness of existence in the name of creation, perfection and kindness.”
With the new Church of Scientology of Moscow, so begins the next historic chapter for Scientology. It is a chapter that not only signifies a renaissance for the religion itself, but a new era for religious and human rights in Russia.
Under the guidance of Mr. David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, the Church is undergoing an era of explosive growth. The opening of the Moscow Church is the second since the beginning of 2011, and the 20th to be christened in cultural centers world over, in just the last 5 years, including:
- the Church of Scientology of Melbourne, occupying a landmark estate in the cultural capital of Australia;
- the National Scientology Organization of Mexico, at the historic center of the nation’s capital, Mexico City;
- the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles, serving the largest congregation of Scientologists on Earth;
- the Church of Scientology of Las Vegas, in the fastest growing city in America;
- the Church of Scientology of Québec, in the cultural heart of French Canada;
- the Churches of Scientology of Europe, Brussels Branch, at the administrative center of the European continent;
- the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, DC, which stands on “Church Row,” just blocks from the White House;
- the Church of Scientology of Italy, at the historic crossroads of Western civilization in Rome;
- the Church of Scientology of Nashville, in the songwriting capital of the world and Music City, USA;
- the Church of Scientology of Malmö, a landmark Church for Sweden and Scandinavia;
- the Church of Scientology of Berlin, a beacon of spiritual freedom near the Brandenburg Gate;
- the Church of Scientology of London, at the epicenter of the English-speaking world;
- the Church of Scientology of New York, on the pulse of the city, just off Times Square;
- and the National Church of Scientology of Spain, located in Madrid’s historic Neighborhood of Letters.
There are currently another 60 major Scientology Churches in design, planning or construction around the world. (For the complete list of new Scientology Churches, see David Miscavige: At the Helm in the Era of Expansion)
This same period of unparalleled expansion also saw:
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in the United States in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 9,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 165 countries.