Sunday, January 28, 2024

ROC MP’s Repression Now Means Russian Orthodoxy in Future Likely to Be ‘a Federation of Churches without a Vertical,’ Chapnin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 25 – The increasingly repressive actions of the Moscow Patriarchate against dissenters, actions far more severe than in Soviet times, means that after Putin, Orthodoxy in Russia is likely to be reorganized as a federation “without a clear vertical structure,” Sergey Chapnin says.

            The Russian specialist on the ROC MP who now works as a researcher at the Center for Orthodox Research at Fordham University in the US argues that the behavior of the Patriarchate is driving Christians out of the church and only survives for the time being by relying on state power and copying the state’s approach to dissent (

            But when this state collapses, Chapnin says, it is very likely that the believers will want nothing to do with a Patriarchate, especially as the bishops from whom Patriarchate Kirill’s successors are likely to be drawn, is as clueless and religiously ignorant as the man who appointed them.

            In big cities, genuinely Orthodox Russians are already church-shopping, shifting from congregations led by priests who tow the party line without question to those who are more open to change and more critical of the Patriarchate’s policies. But outside these places, Russian Orthodox don’t have that choice.

            However, when Putin goes, Kirill and his church are likely to disappear as well, with individual priests rather than bishops pushing for a confederation of Orthodox churches in place of the hierarchical system that the current patriarch has exploited and made even more authoritarian than his Soviet predecessors did. 


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