THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH AND
THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
Is Patriarch Kirill Orthodox? The answer is NO.
THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE APPROVES OF ABORTION AND
“ROCOR” ACCEPTS 30 PIECES OF SILVER FOR BETRAYING CHRIST AND ORTHODOXY
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH IS A KGB AGENT
THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH PATRIARCH IS GUILTY OF FALSE TEACHING
GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH MAFIA
CORRUPTION AND VICE – A WAY OF LIFE IN THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH?
YOU MUST BE CRAZY TO DISAGREE WITH THE MOCOW PATRIARCH
Clerical Whispers: Moscow : The Patriarchate creates it own militia
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Moscow : The Patriarchate creates it own militia
Freedom of religion was declared de jure in the USSR in 1990, when perestroika
was in full swing. Nowadays, however, a major U-turn is happening.
VTsIOM, a social research agency close to the powers-that-be in Vladimir Putin’s
Russia, has recently published a poll revealing that half of the respondents
supported the creation of a voluntary militia controlled by the Moscow
Patriarchate, whose role would be to support the police.
Wearing a ready-made black uniform with red stripes on the sleeves, this army
will focus on places of worship. The idea was first launched by Ivan Otrakovsky,
the famous leader of the extreme right-wing movement Svyataya Rus (Holy Russia).
Otrakovsky aims to set up “training classes” in every parish for teaching
worshippers how to stave off vandals from places of worship. Parishes will
therefore become instruments of public order.
According to the news agency Interfax-Religion, these “Patriarchate vigilantes”
will also be responsible for patrolling streets and public places. It appears
that several Pussy Riot-inspired vandals have recently defaced places of worship
and religious objects by scribbling graffiti on them.
The situation in Russia, however, is not so clear cut for two reasons. First of
all, acts of vandalism against churches and religious objects do not seem to be
mere “pranks” or blasphemous acts but take on a more complex meaning: they
manifest political dissent against Putin’s regime and the Patriarchate itself,
which increasingly acts like a religious long arm of the state.
It is no coincidence that many dissidents have described the church as reverting
to Soviet times, when the Moscow Patriarchate was ruled by KGB agents and the
old ecclesiastical tradition was reduced to what was known as the “Catacomb
Church”, confined as it was to private homes and buildings.
Secondly, these vigilante groups have existed for at least 10 years and have
already staged acts of vandalism and, to say the least, “Pussy Riot-like” raids.
Their real targets, however, are Orthodox jurisdictions in Russia.
Recent, as well as not-so-recent, events reported by the media confirm one
thing: the Svyataya Rus vigilante groups have been de facto operational for
years now, perpetrating violence with the full support of Moscow as well as
local religious hierarchies. This haphazard, man-made justice is now about to
receive “institutional blessing” after years of uncertainty by the Interior
Ministry. After all, violence is a fact -- and facts are pretty eloquent.
In July 2011 a group of men forcefully occupied the Holy Protection church in
Malyn, Ukraine on behalf of the Patriarchate. The church is in jurisdiction of
ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia) and run by Agafangel, the
metropolitan of Odessa. He is one of the three bishops who refused to unite with
Moscow in 2007, against the will of the ROCOR leadership, thus perpetrating an
ecclesiastical diaspora that had started in the ’30s.
According to news reports and eyewitnesses, vigilantes assaulted Archpriest
Vasily Demchenko, twisted his arms, threw him to the ground and dragged him
outside the church. Things, however, took an unexpected turn for the aggressors,
as worshippers gathered around the church, making sure no food could get to the
aggressors from the outside.
The nature of the attack became obvious when the Moscow-affiliated archbishop of
the Ovruch and Korosten jurisdiction in Ukraine, Metropolitan Vissarion
(Stretovich), arrived to give his blessing to the occupation and take formal
possession of the church. Expecting a warm welcome, he was met with protests
from the crowd, who successfully pushed him and the vigilantes away from the
The controversy surrounding Malyn began more than 10 years ago, when Father
Vasily Demchenko and his congregation started using the run-down church in the
town centre, restoring it with their own work and money. The pastor had the
exterior renovated and frescoed and this is when Moscow started claiming the
The Patriarchate, having no property rights over the church, which belongs to
ROCOR, waged a veritable war against the Malyn community through legal
proceedings, string-pulling and occupations. Attacks continued during
celebrations for Saint Peter and Saint Paul on 8 and 12 July 2011, when
religious ceremonies were violently suspended. On 15 July some vigilantes waited
for the pastor outside the church, waiting for the right time to occupy it.
On 16 July the Patriarchate authorities in Moscow organised three unauthorised
processions around the church, thus declaring a state of siege on the church. As
the processions unfolded, a dozen buses full of vigilantes in uniforms arrived
at the church, lying in wait to occupy it again. Agafangel wrote a letter to the
authorities stating: “The Moscow Patriarchate has tried to occupy Malyn’s church
nine times already. These illegal actions are currently headed by Metropolitan
Vissarion of Ovruch with the connivance of the regional and district
authorities, the police and the prosecutor’s office.”
More processions took place on 22 July as new vigilante groups clashed with
Malyn parishioners. Metropolitan Agafangel said that the chief of the Malyn
police force had given instructions to the vigilantes on how to proceed with the
The cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church (ROAC) dedicated to
“Tsar Constantine” in Suzdal, Russia, has also been the target of an on-going
siege. The ROAC is an old “Catacomb Church”, i.e. the part of the Russian church
that refused to join the Moscow Patriarchate in Soviet times and was therefore
violently persecuted. To some, the ROAC is the modern successor of Russia’s
In 2002, subdeacon Andrey Smirnov was violently beaten up in the cathedral at
the end of the divine liturgy as he had apparently refused to disclose
“sensitive information” about the leader of the ROAC to a group of vigilantes.
This is just one of the many episodes of violence and intimidation brought to
bear on the ROAC.
Last month, in the run-up to Patriarch Kirill’s visit to the Vladimir diocese,
which includes the town of Suzdal, the Russian police individually “targeted”
members of the ROAC congregation. The police, concerned that a mass protest
against the patriarch might erupt, visited each family of the congregation.
It should not be forgotten that there is another unresolved legal dispute in the
Vladimir region over the relics of the Saints Euphemius and Euphrosyne, which
have historically belonged to the ROAC since 1917, when it stopped them being
This is not all.
The parishes facing the greatest challenges are those in Russia, where the
Moscow Patriarchate reigns supreme and other jurisdictions do not have large
In Ukraine things are definitely easier for such jurisdictions as the
Patriarchate of Kiev which has been locked in a long-lasting war against the
Patriarchate of Moscow in a bid to foil its expansion plans.
In Russia, vigilante groups are much more violent. In April 2011, during the
Easter vigils, 10 men attacked the ROCOR New Martyrs and Confessors Church in
Moscow. The parishioners managed to shut the doors as the vigilantes hurled
stones and bottles at the gate, shouting abuse at the congregation.
The police, alerted by the worshippers, arrived at the church far too late and
the aggressors managed to get off scot-free.
Another case in point is the ROAC Ascension Church in Barnaul, Siberia, which
was set on fire for the fourth time in 2012 on the night of 24 April.
In 2004-05 groups of vigilantes torched the garage of the building hosting the
ROAC synod (which, interestingly, is located near a police station) as well as a
monastery in Vasilievskaya Street, Moscow.
This is not to mention the numerous vigilante raids on liturgies and the endless
legal proceedings against the ROAC and ROCOR in Russia, Ukraine and the USA over
property claims, which the Patriarchate often wins.
Moldova, an erstwhile Soviet stronghold now in the hands of Putin and the Moscow
Patriarchate, is another prime example. In September 2011 a number of local
representatives and twelve Moscow priests broke into the Resurrection Monastery
The alleged reason for the raid was yet again a property dispute. The monks said
that the Moscow representatives had assaulted them physically, and told the
senior monk that his problems would stop if he joined the Moscow Patriarchate.
Some time ago Aleksey Makarin, director of the Centre for Political Technology,
cynically endorsed the persecutions: “The separation of the ROAC from the Moscow
Patriarchate was nothing but a hideous schism. It was after the split that the
Patriarchate started taking harsh measures against the ROAC. Right now the ROAC
is being dismantled. In order for that to happen, its property, i.e. places of
worship and religious objects, have to be confiscated. Deprived of its churches
and holy items, the ROAC will be reduced to a meaningless organisation.”
The Svyataya Rus raids are, therefore, much more than a mere defence strategy
against vandals. As Russian dissident Dimitry Savvin wrote, Putin’s regime uses
the Moscow Patriarchate to reiterate its “vertical of power” and presents the
Patriarchate itself as flourishing and prosperous under the aegis of its
In fact, Savvin says, the Russian state is simply reverting to a Stalin-like
approach to religion, whereby Christianity is nothing more than an instrumentum
It is no coincidence that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, led by
Metropolitan Agafangel, recently united in condemnation of what is known as
“Sergianism”, a word derived from the Stalin-appointed Moscow Patriarch Sergius,
who brought the Patriarchate close to the Soviet regime in 1941.
“Sergianism”, therefore, is used to describe the Church’s subservience to the
A term that is becoming increasingly widespread, not only in the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad, to describe the situation in Putin’s Russia.
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