Monday, April 9, 2012

Sometimes, Being Right Is Bad

We've mentioned the problems with Russia here several times over the history of this blog. The nutshell version is that they just replaced a patriarch who was a KGB asset (Alexei II) with a guy who at least seems to be a sympathizer (Kiril). There was a lot of hope that this wouldn't be the case and that the relationship between Moscow and Rome would thaw a bit when all this happened, but that doesn't seem to be taking. How else are we supposed to take claims that Stalin's push to liquidate the Catholic Church in Ukraine was an ok? Given that Kiril is cozying up to Putin, what the world needs to prepare for is the return of Imperial Russia with the full backing of the biggest force in Orthodoxy behind it. This is not a good thing.

If you need evidence of this, check out this article.

Russia's Orthodox Church said on Tuesday it was under attack from unspecified "anti-Russian forces" seeking to erode its authority after it threw its weight behind Vladimir Putin before last month's presidential election.

The unusually strongly-worded statement listed a recent protest performance by an all-girl punk band in Moscow's main cathedral as well as media allegations against Patriarch Kirill as examples of such attacks.

"The attacks have become more prominent during the pre-election and post-election period, which shows their political and also anti-Russian motives," the Supreme Church Council said in a statement posted on its website.

The Council called on Orthodox Christians to come to cathedrals across Russia on April 22 for a nationwide prayer "in defense of the faith, desecrated sanctuaries, the Church and its good name".

The Church's unequivocal support for the ex-KGB spy has angered many members of the anti-Kremlin protest movement in Moscow and other large cities, who view it as political meddling and an abuse of the church's position in society.

Seen as a modernizing figure in the Russian church, the largest in Orthodox Christianity, Patriarch Kirill called the 12 years of Vladimir Putin's rule a "miracle of God" ahead of the March 4 election, which Putin won convincingly.

And I'm sure those elections were completely and totally legit. After all, why would anybody not trust Vlad Putin?

In recent years, state TV has given a much higher profile to the Church, Kirill is frequently shown in the company of Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, and the church has been granted the role of a de facto policy adviser to the Kremlin on an array of issues that affect people's everyday lives...

Meanwhile Kirill himself has become a target in pro-opposition media outlets whose authors question his alleged role in dealings around duty-free alcohol and tobacco imports in the 1990s as well as his alleged wealth.

"Anti-Church forces fear the rising role of the Church in the country. Such people are few in numbers but some of them wield influence and are ready to use their resources to discredit the clerics," the statement said.

Look, I'm not saying that I like folks attacking churches or that religion has no role in society. This is the more specific problem of a force obviously hostile to the Church (as evidenced by Metropolitan Hilarion's comments re: Stalin) in full cooperation and support of a guy who could probably pivot in Stalin's direction and not flinch one micrometer. There's not a whole lot we can do about it, other than pray, but it's a creepy trend that I'd rather not see progress any further. Of course, it probably will. Once the Turks have managed to finish destroying the last vestiges of Constantinople, I think we're going to have some major, major problems in the Christian East.

Hopefully, we'll be wrong about that.

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