Russian Orthodox Church

I am interested to hear what the Orthodox Christians here have to think about the re-emergence of the Russian Orthodox Church as the Jack-boot licking lap dog of the neo-tsarist autocracy of Vladimir Putin. I am keenly interested in the Orthodox Church, as I find its theology (the energy/essence distinction) as much more compelling than anything in the west, but the unholy marriage of the Russian Orthodox Church to a man and political party/movement as blatantly corrupt and anti-human rights as the Putin administration is a blight on Orthodoxy. Where is the Russian Orthodox Church in condemning Moscow’s stand on Syria? Where is its stand on Putin stealing a democratic election? The Orthodox Church in Mother Russia should know better than anyone the pain of political oppression.

This is not true.

As for the issue with Syria, you have to understand that when regimes change in the Middle East, there is a high probability that many Christians will be killed (look at Egypt). You have to stop looking at this issue from a secular democratic perspective which values ideals like democracy and ‘freedom’ above human lives, and is quick to subject others to great pain and suffering for the propagation of its own ideals. The Christians in Syria, are not just pawns whom we can sacrifice for the cause of a secular and non-Christian idea.

That was a good article to read, thank you for posting it. Here is an article, written today, that seems to stand as a counter argument;

and another,

Perhaps the Russian Church is starting to come apart at the seems then.

I agree what you are saying about Syrian Christians. What happened to Iraqi Christians after the U.S. invasion is well documented, but Russia’s stand on Syria is political, not humanitarian.

I doubt it. Conflicts are common within all churches. You will not find one church which is in complete harmony, because churches are made of people.

I agree what you are saying about Syrian Christians. What happened to Iraqi Christians after the U.S. invasion is well documented, but Russia’s stand on Syria is political, not humanitarian.

We honestly cannot know that.

We honestly cannot know that.

What would it look like if Putin supported an uprising against an illegitimate government? He would be undermining his own ill-gotten hold on the Russian political system.

But we cannot claim to know the reasoning of the Russian Orthodox Church, just as we cannot know the hearts and minds of people.

It would seem, even from the article you posted, that the Church in Russia is held hostage by the Putin administration in much the same way as the media and industry in Russia. The Russian Orthodox Church owes its revitalization in part to the patronage of Putin, who is one smart cookie and recognizes the value of having such an institution as an ally, but is more than willing to put them back into their place should they step too far out of bounds. Thus the Patriarch of the Russian Church is between a Rock and a hard Place with no clear way out.

Just because they follow a line of action that disagrees with what you think is right doesn’t mean they are licking the boots of those who also disagree with you.

I agree with them on the Syria issue. Overthrowing these dictatorships has only led to Islamists coming to power.

I very much doubt Putin is holding the Church hostage. From what I’ve seen his policies are generally favourable to them, and they very likely support him partially because he is a member of the church, but also out of fear of an anti-clerical party coming to power (as has happened in the west, and even worse, in Russia, still in recent memory).

“Jack-boot licking lap dog of the neo-tsarist autocracy of Vladimir Putin”?? What an ill-informed statement. You appear to be the victim of Neoconservative and Sedevacantist propaganda. Let me explain:

  1. The reason that the Neconservatives (along with Team Obama) are currently demonizing Vladimir Putin, is because Putin (former KGB agent that he was) understands propaganda when he sees it and has exposed the our current foreign policy of “spreading democracy in the Middle East” as a pathetic cover for “the West’s” illegitimate, immoral and reckless push for hegemony (in the form of new military bases and puppet governments) in Russia’s backyard.

Putin is also on the record stating that the United States has intelligence assets on the ground in Russia as we speak fomenting unrest and fueling and funding the well-organized, well-funded Marxist street “protests” in Moscow and other Russian cities. Putin is determined to purge all illegitimate foreign influence from his soverign nation.

Putin and his generals have made it clear that the real reason why “the West” is in the Middle East has nothing to do with “democracy.” They have made it clear that they will not allow Syria to become another Libya. Chief of the Russian General Staff General Nikolai Makarov and has made it clear that Russia is not going to be drawn into a ground war in the Middle East; Makarov is on the record stating that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons to deter any threat to Russian national interests. They will use nukes rather than fight a ground war.

Its ironic in the extreme that it has taken Russia and China to put a check on Washington, Tel Aviv and London’s warmongering.

  1. The other group that is spreading propaganda on Vladimir Putin is the Sedevacantists and other “traditional” Catholics. They don’t not want to believe that the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary actually took place in 1984 - they have all kind of wild conspiracy theories that try to show that the 1984 Consecration was invalid. They refuse to see “the signs of the times” and that a genuine religious revival is taking place in Russia as we speak and grows larger and larger and more public and visible every day. One of the more telling public displays of this revival was the public veneration of the The Cincture of the Theotokos (the belt of the Blessed Virgin Mary). Here are two excerpts from two accounts of that public veneration:

*"The Belt of Our Blessed Virgin Mary, visiting from Athos, Greece, is to receive pilgrims from 10 am on Saturday, Nov. 19, in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

On its first trip outside Greece in 200 years, the belt – also known as the Precious Sash of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos – is expected to draw tens of thousands of pilgrims to Christ the Savior Cathedral…The relic has seen huge crowds gather to visit it during its tour, which has already covered a number of cities including St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Norilsk, Vladivostok, Krasnoyarsk, Tyumen, Volgograd, Rostov on Don and Kaliningrad. It has been venerated by some 2 million pilgrims in Russia, including President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Interfax reported on Friday. Its tour was originally scheduled to wind up on Nov. 23, but was extended to Nov. 27 due to popular demand."* - November, 2011 (

and there is this account:

*“The Belt of Our Blessed Virgin Mary has left Russia after 3 million people went to see it on its 15-city tour…In Moscow, more than 800,000 people came to see the holy relic that was taken back to Mount Athos on Monday. A final prayer in Vnukovo airport was given by the Patriarch Kirill…In the meantime, life in Central Moscow is returning to normal after days of street closures and traffic jams to make space for the thousands of pilgrims.” *- November, 2011 (

Wow. Propaganda… it goes both ways and Putin is a master, as are “Traditionalist” Catholics. I will stop there lest I become even more uncharitable in my reply.

I have friends here in the U.S. from Poland. They lived through the Communist experience and came here as adults in the 90s to teach engineering in American universities late in their careers. They prefer the eastern traditions. They would be Orthodox, but for the history of the Orthodox under the Communists in the slavic countries. They told me of Orthodox priests who revealed confessions to the Communists to have the penitents arrested, imprisoned and disappeared, as well as other betrayals.

They claim the Orthodox Church collaborated with the atheist regime in many ways.

Compare that to the slavic pope John Paul II, who found a way to always resist and outsmart the enemies of God and eventually bring their ungodly regime down. It all started in Poland for a reason.

I find it ironic, incomprehensable, that Orthodox believers despise the pope and look to those who collaborated with the enemy, atheist persecutors of religion for spiritual leadership.

You might also want to consider the reaction of ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) to the relationship of the Moscow Patriachate to Pres. Putin; whether they compare it to the relationship of the Patriarchate to the Communist Party, and maybe even before that to the Czars. While not quite caesaropapism, you could make the argument that in a lot of ways the Russian Church is beholden to the government, but then again look back on the relationship of the Papacy to the Holy Roman Empire, or France

There is a lot of unflattering history on both sides when it comes to collaborating with governments, to be fair.

Please, don’t stop. Continue!

I would love to hear a rational argument rather than the mere assertion that Putin is engaging in propaganda. How so?

I am unaware of anything nearly comparable to what happened in eastern Europe, to be fair.

I believe that the Russian Orthodox outside Russia claim the last Czar, Nicholas, is a saint. Honestly I don’t understand this, but I look at it through Catholic eyes. Also I may not be aware of the reasoning. Maybe he was a holy man, but I think calling him a saint had political motivations.

Under his rule there were notorious pogroms, great social injustice, the mess with the Japanese, and Russia greatly declined militarily and economically. The whole thing is a sad story.

It is because of how his life ended. By all accounts, he and his family suffered their arrest and execution by the communists in a pious and Christian manner, and so they were canonized as passion-bearers, a rather unique type of Russian saint. Considering that Emperor Constantine, Empress Theodora, and Emperor Justinian are all saints, I’m not too bothered by it.

There are numerous inquisitions. Honestly, any time the Church, Eastern or Western become too enmeshed in the Secular mechanization of the state suffering is the result.

It wasn’t that the Orthodox priests collaborated with the Communists so much as that the Communists infiltrated the Orthodox Church - and this happened in all Communist countries, of all faiths.

I’ve heard plenty of stories from people who lived through it, they spoke of having to figure out which priests were truly Orthodox, and which were not.

A sad state, but not nearly as bad as it could have been.

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