Does the Eastern Orthodox church oppose communism?

I ask because I have a few friends who identify both as Eastern Orthodox and as communists.
Are these people poorly catechized, or does the Orthodox church not oppose communism the way Catholicism does?
Thank you.


I know I do, but I think you can rest assured that if you find an orthodox supporting any kind of communism it would not be the totalitarian communism of the Russians.

The big problem with communism is atheism.

Don’t forget democracy gave us Hitler so it is probably more about the people running a country than the type of government.

I know that there are probably few people who support what Stalin turned the Soviet Union into. But from what I hear, the Catholic church opposes communism on a technical level in that it places the state above the individual. I was curious if the Orthodox church opposed it on this same level.

But all Communism inevitably leads tyranny, and there is no room for religion in Communism (unless it is run by the state, as can be seen in China - but forced beliefs are no beliefs at all).

Since communism as a form of government has killed many religious people throughout the 20th century. I would say yes they are opposed to it.

I’m not an expert on Eastern Orthodoxy, but I get the impression that the answer to this is complicated.

The Russian Orthodox Church abroad opposed the Soviet Union, but in Russia, the church was divided between the official Orthodox Church that was coerced into co-operating with the Communist authorities and the ‘catacomb’ church that operated illicitly and opposed the state. I don’t think the aftereffects of this division have been quite healed.

Stalin himself co-operated with the church during the war. Though he did this out of necessity, he did give the impression of deep down wanting to be a Russian Tsar on the side of the church. After all, he had been raised Orthodox and went to seminary.

I’ve interacted with a few Russian nationalists online and some of them don’t see a conflict between being proud of Russia’s Imperial heritage and her Soviet heritage. There are far right organisations in Russia and eastern Ukraine that actually identify with Soviet Communism. I suspect a lot of Russian Orthodox might be caught up in that odd internal tension.

Many Eastern Orthodox Christians, especially of the Russian nationalist flavor in the ex-USSR, don’t think the two contradict each other. The Moscow Patriarchate leadership didn’t have any problem with communism once Stalin made the Russian Orthodox Church the state church during World War 2 (The diaspora based “Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia” was firmly opposed to communism and remains so to this day, though they reconciled with the Moscow Patriarchate a few years ago) , likewise the Romanian Orthodox in Transylvania benefited significantly under communism at the expense of Catholics. There were also splits in the diaspora communities of the Romanian and Bulgarian Orthodox over communism.

What communism? Communism has been dead in Orthodox countries for years, and exists in only three places China, North Korea, and Cuba.

Only Cuba is partially Catholic, not Orthodox and China and N. Korea are not remotely Christian.

So what’s the big deal? :confused:

It’s interesting to think about how Orthodox Christians define themselves in terms of their relationship to the state. They do seem to have a very different way of approaching politics than western Catholics and Protestants. The clear divide of Right and Left don’t quite apply in the same way.

In terms of contemporary politics this is relevant with the rise of Russian nationalism and its relationship to the west. It is also relevant for American politics as Orthodox churches grow in the USA. I have heard conservative Orthodox don’t identify with the Republican party as closely as conservative Catholics and Protestants, if they do at all.

I think more than the ideology of communism what disgruntled eastern Europeans are clamoring for is a return to a bigger role in their lives from the state. Many of them believe that the past governments provided full education and employment, and this is what they look to with nostalgia, not necessarily the ideology of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.

In the case of Russian nationalists I’d say the same applies, except they are proud of the Soviet Union because it was the biggest extension of Russian power and influence ever. Vladimir Putin seems to look longingly at the USSR, but he’s a committed Orthodox Christian. I think they’re just practical in the parts of communism they accept and reject.

I wouldn’t disagree. I think perhaps it indicates that those in the east define their ideology a lot less in terms of economics than we do in the west.

Of course, a lot of Republicans in the USA seem to think wanting the government to do any more than run the army and police makes one a Communist. But we’d better not go there.:slight_smile:

I am assuming you are referring to the former Soviet Union (a conglomerate of what is now 15 separate countries). The country of Russia is no longer a communist government.

you tell me what the big deal is

ramifications of communist collaboration live on to this day.

Eastern Orthodox themes are common in rallies of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (number 2 political party in Russia) and Orthodoxy is also on the party platform.

Different political systems have different kinds of political arrangements. Russia and the United States are shaped by completely different histories. Russians have a history of strong leaders, while the US was essentially founded on the concept of local rule.

Some ramifications may still exist in pockets. But the Communist party lost power years ago.

So again I ask: What is the big deal now?

they murdered the bishop in cold blood… and the ramifications may still exist? Interesting.

if putin ever loses power, these guys will fill the vacuum Russia has the largest Orthodox Church. Russia’s largest and only viable political opposition now is the Communist Party. So I think it is safe to say Orthodoxy’s relationship with communism is a pretty big deal.

Likewise in eastern Ukraine these guys are number 2 after party of regions

That’s weird. Communists have spilled a TON of Christian blood over the past hundred or so years.

Christians have every reason to NOT support Communists.

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