In their telling, he says, every priest has a Mercedes, and such reports infuriate many Russians. “The people have acquired the sense of envy. And it is well-known that the Russian peasant woud like not to acquire a second cow but to see that the cow of his neighbor has died. The Bolsheviks inculcated this and changed the mentality of the people.”
“There is a whole army of [such] people,” the archpriest says. “They constantly troll the church and the patriarch.” They treat any report about well-off clergy as if the next story would be about Nagasaki or Hiroshima. Indeed, “an entire pleade of such nihilists has arisen who know nothing.”
According to Smirnov, “the main symbol of their worldview is the Mercedes … Yes, priests sometimes travel in good cars, because those who support them and can give them such vehicles, not new ones but all the same…” He says that he was given a nine-year-old Audi.” It was in good condition, he sold it and then bought a Volkswagen.” It is at least new.
He argues that “Christianity is the foundation of European culture, and if Russia is a European country, then Russians must know the basics of the faith. Just like, for example, the French. Regardless of whether he believes in God or not, a Frenchman must know the basic commandments and know something about Christianity.” Russians must do the same.