Saturday, February 2, 2019

‘The Moscow Patriarch, Israel’s Chief Rabbi and the Dalai Lama are All in Boat’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 1 – Occasionally a new and memorable anecdote appears in Russia at precisely the right time. This past month, as Moscow has marked the tenth anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill, one has been circulating that seems particularly apt not only for what it says about him but also what it says about Russian attitudes toward other faiths.

            As recounted by Maximonline (, the story goes as follows:

“The Moscow patriarch, the Dalai Lama and the Chief Rabbi of Israel are aboard a boat on a lake when they suddenly see a café on the shore.  The rabbi exclaims “It wouldn’t be a bad thing to eat something!’ He jumps out of the boat and runs across the surface of the water to the shore.

“Having watched this, the Dalai Lama also jumps out of the boat and without hurrying walks on the water toward the rabbi.

“The Moscow patriarch sits and thinks: ‘How can this be? These two non-Christian are walking on water as if it were dry land. Should not I, the head of the Moscow Orthodox Church, God’s representative on earth, not be able to repeat their performances?’

“He jumps out of the boat and immediately sinks to the bottom of the lake.

“Observing this, the rabbi looks out at what is happening as says to the Dalai Lama: ‘Probably we should have told him about the wooden causeway just under the surface?’

“The Dalai Lama responds: ‘What causeway?’”

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