Monday, January 8, 2024

Kirill’s Russian Orthodox Church Now ‘a Death Cult' in Service of the Kremlin, Soldatov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 7 – The present-day Russian government has failed to articulate specific ideological goals, a shortcoming that has opened the way to the displacement of rationality and the rise of “a gloomy ‘spirituality,’” Aleksandr Soldatov says, a trend that has become almost “a new religion, at the center of which is the cult of death.”

            The religious affairs specialist who writes as an observer for Novaya Gazeta says that in the process Russian Orthodoxy is being redefined into a set of ideas that “rejects the peacemaking commandments of Christ and appeals to battle scenes from the Old Testament and Russian history” (

            According to the church’s new teachings, Soldatov says, “there is no longer any need for faith, obedience to the commandments and the execution of good deeds. Instead, religion has been reduced to a single act, self-sacrifice” and not for the faith but for the Russian state and its political goals.

            Patriarch Kirill argues that “the special military operation” in Ukraine has “not a physical but a metaphysical meaning,” one that requires doing away with Christ’s injunctions to “love your enemies and bless those who curse you” and putting in its place the principle that “goveness without justice is capitulation and weakness.”

            Soldatov argues that “before our eyes, a new religion is being born, one that is seeking to integrate itself into the political world” at the expense of the teachings of the founder of the Christian faith. Kirill’s church now says that sacrifice and death for the fatherland is the most noble goal and that those who die for that cause will be blessed more than anyone else.


            Kirill’s church does make “one exception” to that idea. It has managed to secure protection for all its clergy from mobilization. After all, Soldatov says, “the preaching of death requires living performers.”

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