Sunday, September 17, 2023

Moscow’s Claims about Russian Orthodox Church in Africa Fraudulent, Furman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 6 – To deflect attention from its failures elsewhere and to hide the way in which it has been working hand in glove with the Wagner PMC to gain access for Russia, the Moscow Patriarchate has fraudulently claimed successes in Africa that even its own sources do not provide any support for, Lera Furman says.

            The religious affairs journalist who writes regularly for Novaya Gazeta says that the Moscow church routinely claims several hundred congregations in Africa but lists only 12 on the website of its African “exarchate” ( and

            Moreover, its patriarchal exarch for Africa is based not on that continent but in Moscow and combines service to Africa with service to a bishopric in a region not far from the Russian capital, an indication of just how unserious and exaggerated Russian claims about the ROC MP’s presence in Africa has been, Furman continues.

            The Kremlin has its own reasons for pushing for the expansion of a church presence in Africa: such institutions can provide cover for intelligence operations – and there is good evidence that is exactly how they are being used by the Wagner PMC and other Russian espionage and active measures groups.

            But the ROC MP has its own reasons for wanting to claim more in Africa than it has produced: it wants to punish the Alexandrian patriarchate for its support of Ukrainian autocephaly and has managed to convince a large swath of observers that Alexandria has no institutions south of the Sahara.

            That isn’t true, Furman points out. The Alexandrian patriarchate currently has 43 bishops and about 700 priests, far more than even Moscow’s inflated claims for itself give the ROC MP. In short, Alexandria is still the dominant Orthodox denomination in Africa north and south, all of the Russian church’s claims notwithstanding.

            For background on the Russian church in Africa, see,, and

No comments:

Post a Comment