Saturday, December 23, 2017

Orthodox Find It Easier to Forgive Oppressors than to Show Sympathy for Victims, Moscow Paper Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 22 – Many in the Russian Orthodox hierarchy like many Christians in general, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, find it far easier to forgive those who are the oppressors than they do to show sympathy for the victims of such people, a pattern that does them little honor and makes the overcoming of the past far more difficult.

            That is especially the case with regard to Stalin’s repressions because the Moscow Patriarchate needs to justify its cooperation with him because that made possible the triumph of Orthodoxy after his death and indeed after the demise of the USSR, according to the paper (

            “The representatives of the Church easily find in the times of the godless five-year plans, “the ties” between the power and its unique moral code of statehood,” Nezavisimaya gazeta says. The church sees its reaching out to the state as a noble and useful pursue “for us all,” but it is unwilling to explore the moral problems this approach entails.

            The Moscow Patriarchate and many of its parishioners “somehow too easily adapt themselves if not with the thought about the inevitability of state terror in Bolshevik times then at least with the correctness displayed by the leaders of the Orthodox who concluded with the ‘godless’ a pact on mutually profitable cooperation.”

            And because the church looks at the repressive state this way, it looks on the victims of that state past and present more skeptically except when it has an immediate and direct interest in those who suffer such as priests. Otherwise, it is inclined to identify with the state rather than its victims, a position at variance with the teachings of Christ.

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