Thursday, January 31, 2019

Do You Have What It Takes to Be Russian Metropolitan of Istanbul? A New Game will Tell

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 30 – More than 40 years ago, the author of these lines purchased a board game called “The Russian Civil War” because the display at a Detroit department store declared “In this game, the Russian Whites Can Win.”  That game was called to mind by a new Russian one in which contestants try to become the Russian metropolitan of Istanbul.

            At a session on gaming at this year’s Christmas Readings conference, the creators of a game about what they called “the Orthodox Quest” presented a game that takes its basic ideas from the headlines about the conflict between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch in Constantinople (

            The hero of the new computer game, Orthodox Metropolitan Nikolay, is charged by Moscow Patriarch Kirill to go to Istanbul and set up a metropolitanate of the Second Rome and Anatalya. He has to display “unusual diplomatic talents in negotiations with officials, “avoid death at the hands of the evil Gulen and Bozkurt,” and at the end defeat the chief evil doing Barmaley.

            And he must do so not by “liquidating” the latter but rather by winning him over and thus gaining the title of bishop of the Golden Horde,” according to Roman Silantyev, a specialist on Islam who works closely with the Moscow Patriarchate and serves as a professor at the Moscow State Literature University.

            Only those who can do all those things will win Constantinople back to true Orthodoxy and save the day. 

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