Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Russian Military’s New Orthodox Church Epitomizes Dangerous Fusion of State and Faith

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 25 – The Russian Orthodox Church has been caesaro-papist for centuries, but plans for a new Orthodox cathedral for the Russian military epitomize the dangerous fusion not only of church and state but of religious and military ideas to the fundamental detriment of the former. 
            The new church will not only be khaki colored to match the uniforms of the military but will have cupolas shaped to suggest missiles, all but one of its side chapels devoted not to religion but to military campaigns and entry stairs formed from melted down military trophies from World War II (ahilla.ru/stupeni-glavnogo-voennogo-hrama-rf-sobirayutsya-otlit-iz-trofejnoj-tehniki-vermahta/, interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=71655 and znak.com/2018-12-24/trofeynuyu_tehniku_tretego_reyha_pereplavyat_na_stupeni_glavnogo_hrama_vooruzhennyh_sil_rf).

            The church will include as well training centers for military chaplains, and consequently, many Russians may see these arrangements as entirely natural. Patriarch Kirill clearly does: he has given his blessing to this construction project. But such an interpenetration of religion and militarism comes at a cost at least to the faith.

            Many of the most fundamental propositions of Christianity stand in open opposition to military actions; and by acting as if this is not the case, those behind this cathedral will simultaneously deracinate their own faith and drive those committed to religious values away from the ROC MP.

            Indeed, the construction of this church which the Moscow Patriarchate views as a great victory may prove to be a Pyrrhic one, reinforcing the view of many that its hierarchy at least is little more than a branch of the ideological department of the Putin regime, one that has little or nothing to do with what the Founder of the faith had in mind. 

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