Staunton, July 21 – The mass influx of Russians into the Orthodox Church in the 1990s brought with it the ideals of liberalism and humanism and, given the shortage of priests and bishops, even resulted in liberals and humanists becoming part of the clergy, Maksim Vorobyev says.
But those philosophical positions imported from the West over the last two centuries are incompatible not only with Orthodoxy but with the Russian nation and so they must now be rooted out to save both the truth of the church and the survival of Russia, the Orthodox writer says (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2022/07/21/liberalizm_v_pravoslavii).
On the one hand, Vorobyev’s words are nothing new. Russian Orthodox divines have long attacked liberalism and humanism as alien to the Orthodox faith. But on the other, they are new and disturbing because they link these ideas to the influx of people into the church in the 1990s and call for a campaign against them and the priests and hierarchs who support them.
Many who turned to the church have since fallen away, but the priests and hierarchs who emerged from that generation from an increasing part of the church establishment. If those sharing Vorobyev’s position gain in strength, then there is likely to be a serious purge in the church, reducing the number of clerics and leaving the church even smaller and weaker.
But that is now likely because Vorobyev argues in ways that many will find attractive: He insists that Christianity was never intended to come to terms with the world but rather to fight it and that it is better to be a saving remnant of the true faith rather than a larger but alien body within it.