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Preparations for election of patriarch
LEADERSHIP OF MOSCOW ECCLESIASTICAL ACADEMY ACKNOWLEDGES VIOLATIONS IN
ELECTIONS OF COUNCIL DELEGATES
31 December 2008
The Academic Councils of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Ecclesiastical
Academies expressed discontent with violations committed in the recent
elections of delegates for the local council from seminaries.
"The discussion at the Academic Council of the Moscow Ecclesiastical
Academy [MDA] went smoothly, outside of a context of a presupposed
conflict of 'parties,' but there was complete unanimity of the Academic
Council in the understanding that the rectors' conference was conducted
abnormally and that there were violations not only of procedures but
also of ecclesiastical ethics," one of the participants in the session
of the Academic Council of MDA, who wished to remain anonymous, told
Interfax-Religiia on Wednesday.
According to his information, "the very same picture occurred at the
Academic Council which was held at the St. Petersburg Ecclesiastical
Previously, MDA Professor Deacon Andrei Kuraev called what happened
recently in the voting at the conference of rectors of ecclesiastical
seminaries of the Russian church "false elections" and "the first
confirmation that Metropolitan Kliment really does intend to become
head of the church (before this day this was only the supposition of
journalists)." "It was his brother, Archbishop of Tobolsk Dimitry, who
at this meeting organized a genuine revolution," the professor noted.
In his turn the prorector of MDA for academic theological work, Priest
Vladimir Shmaly, suggested that the goal of this pressure that was
exerted on the participants of the rectors' conference by Archbishops
Feofan and Dimitry "was to strengthen by extremely crude means the
position of one of the candidates for the patriarchal throne." Fr
Vladimir reported that he and a number of other members of the
administration of the academy, who were responsible for organizing the
conference, "were roughly expelled from the hall of the meeting by
"The opinion of the Academic Councils is officially stated in the
minutes of the meetings and these documents are secret and not usually
subject to publication, but at the same time they are presented for
review by the patriarchate of Moscow or the acting patriarch, in the
case of the Moscow academy, and also by Metropolitan of St. Petersburg
Vladimir, in the case of the St. Petersburg academy," the agency's
Thus, he continued, "there is no doubt that in the near future, perhaps
even today, Metropolitans Kirill and Vladimir will be informed about
the reaction of the aforementioned academies to the events that
occurred at the rectors' conference."
At the same time Deacon A. Kuraev, on his web site, confirmed this
information, stating that "the Academic Councils of both Russian
ecclesiastical academies (in both Moscow and St. Petersburg) have
reacted to this event [the rectors' conference—IF].
"The assessments are fully accurate and they are expressed in the
official minutes of the Academic Councils, which in the near future
will be presented in the Holy Synod. The same is true of the report of
the chairman of the Academic Committee of RPTs, Archbishop Evgeny. It,
it seems, in contrast to the academies' minutes, will contain simply
the incidents of procedural violations without any assessment. At
least, this is the way his report to our council meeting today was,
extremely calm and factual," Fr Andrei shared his impressions.
In addition, in a conversation with an Interfax-Religiia correspondent
he stated that he "especially pitied the St. Petersburg academy because
although from MDA there will be two teachers as members of the
organizational committee of the preconciliar commission, from St.
Petersburg there will not be a single professor at the council." "For
the first time in its history the St. Petersburg Ecclesiastical Academy
will not be represented in a local council in any form," the professor
He recalled that at the local council of 1917 "each of the four
ecclesiastical academies was represented by three professors, in
addition to eleven professors representing the universities and another
delegate came from the Russian Academy of Sciences."
According to Fr Andrei, among the members of the council of 1917 there
were "such outstanding thinkers as the academician and famous eastern
specialist Boris Turaev, Academician Nikolai Nikolsky, Sergei Bulgakov,
and Evgeny Trubetskoy."
He also called it remarkable that at that council people of various
vocations were represented, for example, on one hand there was "the
count and agriculturalist Apraksin, and alongside him a simple peasant
or a master of felt boots or a mechanic from the yacht 'Polar Star.'"
"The local council of 1917 showed the precise face of society; they
took into account such a detail as that there should not simply be
delegates from the provinces but also from the war fronts, that is, the
masses at the front were treated separately and therefore from that
quarter both priests, officers, and soldiers were elected separately,"
the agency's informant added. (tr. by PDS, posted 31 December 2008)
FORMER SUPERINTENDENT OF TOBOLSK SEMINARY CONSIDERS ELECTIONS OF
DELEGATES FROM ECCLESIASTICAL SCHOOLS HONEST
31 December 2008
Bishop of Barnaul and Altai Maxim, a former superintendent of the
Tobolsk seminary, thinks the elections of delegates to the local
council from the ecclesiastical schools, which were held recently at
the Moscow Ecclesiastical Academy, were honest and fair.
According to the results of the elections it was decided that the
Tobolsk seminary along with four others will be represented at this
supreme ecclesiastical forum. Meanwhile, the elections at the MDA were
almost immediately subjected to fierce criticism on the part of
professors and representatives of the leadership of both the Moscow and
St. Petersburg ecclesiastical academies and were considered to be an
attempt "at a military seizure" conducted by Archbishop of Tobolsk
Dimitry and Archbishop of Stavropol Feofan.
However the ruling bishop of the Alta Territory did not agree with this
"I would like to note the positive role played by Master Dimitry in
this conference. It was due to his commitment to principle that the
elections were conducted fairly and honestly," Bishop Maxim declared in
an interview on the Barnaul diocese site.
This testimony differs from the words of MDA Professor Deacon Andrei
Kuraev, who stated earlier that Archbishop Dimitry, first, "in an
extremely harsh manner and on extremely dubious bases" demanded that
the chairman of the Academic Committee of the Moscow patriarchte, MDS
Rector Archbishop Evgeny recuse himself from conducting the meeting,
after which formally the chair was entrusted to Metropolitan of
Tashkent Vladimir, although "in reality it was Master Dimitry who
conducted everything that ensued without appeal." (tr. by PDS, posted
31 December 2008)
ELECTIONS OF DELEGATES FROM BARNAUL DIOCESE NOT COMPETITIVE
31 December 2008
A number of clerics and laity of the Barnaul and Altai diocese were
perplexed by the results of the diocesan meeting where, on 30 December,
the delegates to the local council where the new patriarch will be
elected were chosen.
According to their report, which reached Interfax-Religiia Wednesday,
the chosen delegates (from the diocesan clergy, Priest Georgii Kreidun,
from monastics, Nun Klavdia Kremleva, and from the laity, Yury
Nizhegorodtsev) were designated by Bishop of Barnaul and Altai Maxim
"quite a long time ago."
The "elections" were conducted on a uncontested basis. Originally
Bishop Maxim tried to restrict the nominating of the enumerated
candidates to the diocesan council, and not at an assembly, as was
proposed, which he stated publicly during a press conference held 12
Bishop Maxim is a former superintendent of the Tobolsk Ecclesiastical
Seminary. He worked in Tiumen province about twelve years, after which,
in January 2002, he became bishop of Barnaul and Altai. (tr. by PDS,
posted 31 December 2008)
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Kirill touts conservative credentials
METROPOLITAN KIRILL: I AM CATEGORICALLY OPPOSED TO CHURCH REFORM
29 December 2008
Acting Patriarch Metropolitan Kirill, in the course of today's meeting
with reporters, expressed a decisive rejection of reforms that would
destroy church traditions.
Responding to a question from a woman reporter whether any kind of
reforms are being planned within the Russian Orthodox church, the
metropolitan stated that quite recently, when he was participating in
the TV "Name of Russia" project, he spoke out against Peter I's winning
of the virtual competition since he was the personification of reform,
"which destroyed or, at least, tried to destroy the backbone of our
people." The acting patriarch thinks that the fact that Holy Prince
Alexander Nevsky won the "Name of Russia" contest testifies that the
Russian people, in the majority, do not accept such reforms.
"The church in and of itself is the conservative foundation, because it
'conserves' and maintains the apostolic faith," the metropolitan
continued. "If reform destroys the faith, tradition, and values, then
such reform is called heresy."
"I speak out categorically against any reforms," the acting patriarch
emphasized. "Even more, not one of the approximately 145 bishops who
could aspire to gain the patriarchal throne has any kind of reformist
At the same time, Metropolitan Kirill noted, the church does not stand
still. If one compares the situation in RPTs today with what it was
like in the soviet period, one can see enormous difference. Indeed,
changes do take place in the church, but they do not evoke protest
since they are the result of "natural growth and natural movement."
According to the acting patriarch, there remain in the memory of the
Russian church people at least two negative examples of reforms: these
are the liturgical reforms of the 17th century that led to the tragic
schism and the activity of the renovationists at the beginning of the
20th century. The "project" of the latter group upset people's minds
but did not produce any of the results the reformers sought.
In response to a request from another reporter, regarding the relations
of the Russian Orthodox church with non-Orthodox, Metropolitan Kirill
noted that these principles were exhaustively formulated by the jubilee
Bishops' Council of 2000. The acting patriarch considers the Holy
Confessor Ilarion (Troitsky) to be the model of relations with
non-Orthodox confessions; Kirill performed a liturgy over his relics in
the monastery of the Presentation on 28 December, his memorial day. As
an uncompromising defender of Orthodoxy against liberal influences at
the beginning of the 20th century, particularly against the protestant
"theory of branches," Archbishop Ilarion at the same time conducted
active dialogue with one of the patriarchs of the ecumenical movement,
Robert H. Gardiner, a member of the American Episcopal church.
According to Metropolitan Kirill, Gardiner seriously pondered
converting to Orthodoxy at the end of his life, not apart from the
influence of Archbishop Ilarion. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 December 2008)
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Western financial support for fighting Russian
BOOK PUBLISHED NAMING "FALSE RELIGIONS AIMED AGAINST RUSSIAN STATEHOOD"
30 December 2008
A book published in 2008 by an independent legal expert council
(Materials of Scientific Conference "Contemporary Law Education."
Gubkin Russian State University of Petroleum and Gas, 17 October 2006,
Moscow: Independent Expert Legal Council, 2008, 86pp.) contains
xenophobia and intolerance on the basis of religion or convictions, a
Portal-credo.ru correspondent reports.
Among the materials of the conference there is an article by a
professor of the department of economic, administration, and law
disciplines of an affiliate of the Russian State Humanities University
in the city of Domodedovo, Yu.G. Karpukhin, "Legal education: the army,
law enforcement agencies, religious movement and Russian
security." In particular, in the opinion of Karpukhin, "parallel
to the truly historically defined—which means legal
confessional—denominations, there have appeared also false religions
which were created and aimed against Russian statehood, the Russian
people and their centuries-old traditions, morality, and culture. They
have appeared in great numbers and are trying to replace Orthodoxy,
Islam, and Buddhism. . . . One may include among them, for example,
'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' (Mormons),
'Sahaja-Yoga,' 'World Church of God,' 'White Brotherhood, 'Church of
the Last Covenant,' 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' and others. Such
organizations have come to be called sects."
In this context the writer speaks of the threat "both for the
individual and to the whole of contemporary society and state" and
laments the normative indeterminacy of the concepts of "a religious
sect" and "religious security."
The book is addressed to teachers, graduate students and student of law
faculties of institutions of advanced education, law enforcement
workers, and all who are interested in questions of the improvement of
law education in Russia. The publication was carried out with the
financial support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacCarthur
Foundation, the National Fund for the Support of Democracy, and the
"Open Society" Institute. (tr. by PDS, posted 30 December 2008)
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Preparations for election of patriarch disorderly
COMMENTARY: KLIMENT WILL NOT MAKE IT! KIRILL OR DEATH!
Deacon Kuraev lays foundation for an all-out aggressive PR campaign
against Metropolitan Kirill's competitors.
by Alexander Khramov
26 December 2008
Some days ago Metropolitan Kirill Gundiaev, the current acting
patriarch of RPTsMP, declared that the election of the patriarch should
not be compared to political elections and consequently people should
refrain from the use of secular political tactics, such as "antagonism
with the goal of eliminating a competitor from the contest and pouring
mud on him."
Deacon Andrei Kuraev has clearly violated the will of Metropolitan
Kirill, having poured a whole bucket of mud on his competitor,
Metropolitan Kliment Kapalin. And, one must suppose, he certainly did
not do this on his own initiative but in accordance with the wish of
the acting patriarch.
One should not forget that after Kirill Frolov it is Father Andrei who
appears as the most active agitator in the "campaign staff" of
Metropolitan Kirill. And while Frolov, the notorious head of the
virtual organization of the "Union of Orthodox Citizens," does not
inspire any special confidence, Deacon Kuraev is a different matter.
After all, he seems to be the most sought-out figure in Russian
Orthodoxy. It is his robe and beard that most frequently appear on
television screens, and his recognizable voice resounds in the radio
air space. He is the one whom journalists first call when they want to
learn the "opinion of the church" on any matter. Father Andrei can
hardly manage to turn the sympathies of the church people in favor of
Metropolitan Kirill since the dislike of the "tobacco metropolitan" is
too strong among them (and indeed Kuraev himself has an ambiguous
reputation among the church public), but he can have an effect on the
secular public regarding the upcoming election of the patriarch.
And the deacon has actively engaged in this. So there recently appeared
an extremely wide-ranging article by Fr Kuraev in which he explained
why one should already become used to the idea that Metropolitan Kirill
will become the future patriarch. And even somewhat earlier he proposed
Metropolitan Kirill in the capacity of a "crisis manager," which
supposedly is extremely necessary for one who is the head of RPTsMP.
Until recently Fr Andrei Kuraev has tried to persuade the public that
there is no alternative to Metropolitan Kirill and that his election as
patriarch has already actually been accomplished and the upcoming local
council will be merely a "technical formality," and he has insisted
that there is no competition for the patriarchal throne among the
leadership of RPTsMP and any talk about such competition is nothing
more than the fantasy of the news media. "All these numerous articles
in the news media about the antagonism of competitors and aspirants to
the patriarchal throne are a very incorrect projection of secular
political stereotypes onto church life," Fr Kuraev declared two weeks
But now, the "deacon of all Rus" has sharply changed his position.
Discussing the 24 December election of delegates (totaling five
persons) to the local council from ecclesiastical seminaries, he
acknowledged "that Metropolitan Kliment is actually intending to become
the head of the church" (hitherto this was only the supposition of
journalists). That is, now Kuraev admits to what he earlier called "the
fantasy of news media," namely the presence of a competition for the
patriarchal throne. And the competition is extremely fierce. Hitherto
we could understand that the situation of the election of the patriarch
was not quite as smooth as the publications (like Interfax-Religion)
under the control of Metropolitan Kirill tried to make it seem, but
only on the basis of indirect indicators. So, a certain anonymous
source told "Gazeta.ru" that at a session of the commission preparing
the local council in St. Daniel's monastery, "the discussion became so
heated that the participants were about to grab one another by the
Now, one should suppose, the struggle which they tried unsuccessfully
to hide, has broken out into the open and its participants are ready
"to tear out one another's beard" in public. And Kuraev's discussions
about the illegitimacy of the election of delegates from the
ecclesiastical seminaries is the first public manifestation of this
fierce struggle for the patriarchal cowl. Apparently in it will
be used all means as far as slander, black public relations, and mud
slinging. God forbid that it comes to murder.
And Kuraev's accusation against Metropolitan Kliment (and his
"party"—see the contrast: a week ago, according to Kuraev, there was
the smooth surface of God's grace, but now suddenly there are
antagonistic "parties"!) is nothing other than black PR.
First, Father Andrei himself was not present at the session and thus
his information is second hand.
Second, it is at least strange that Kuraev wishes that there be present
at the local council "famous theologians" (after all he is most
bothered by the fact that unknown persons were selected): "In the end,
they supposedly elected for the council persons absolutely unknown in
the theological world. Even an Internet search gives no link to a
single one of their theological works." But after all there will not be
any discussion of theological questions at the council so that the
presence of the best known professors of the ecclesiastical academies,
on the basis of their scholarly works, is absolutely unnecessary. Of
course, it would not be bad to honor famous theologians with the title
of "participant in a local council," but this is a matter of
exclusively formal status. And if one considers that among the
delegates from the dioceses to the council there also have been
nominated church functionaries who are not especially well known for
their activity, like chairmen of protocol departments of diocesan
administrations, then the nomination of functionaries from
ecclesiastical education should not seem out of order (as Kuraev
Third, as regards the procedures of election, which, most likely, were
really not ideal, it is hard to understand Kuraev's displeasure. If one
just looks at the procedures one sees that the absolute majority of all
currently "elected" delegates to the council should be considered
illegitimate. After all it is no secret that no "elections" were
anywhere conducted; the ruling bishop, on his own authority, appointed
from his diocese a priest, monk and layperson in each case. Often the
bishop simply informed the people attending the diocesan meeting about
whom he had decided to appoint as delegates to the local council
without even trying to conduct a formal procedure of their election.
So it was pretty much the same scenario on 24 December for appointing
five delegates from the ecclesiastical seminaries, although elections
were formally conducted and the ballots were immediately destroyed so
that nobody could verify the accuracy of the count.
There is no argument that all these "elections" are no more "elections"
than the "elections" of the president or the State Duma in the Russian
federation of today. But why has Kuraev awakened only now? It could
hardly be that it is merely procedural violations that are the reason
Fr Andrei is suddenly "at odds" with Metropolitan Kliment. No, this is
only a pretext.
Using this pretext, Kuraev has managed to make out of the procedural
violations of a single meeting--that elected fewer than one percent of
the delegates to the council, without mentioning at all similar and
even worse violations in the elections of delegates in other
places—much more far reaching conclusions about the personality of
Metropolitan Kliment: "The party of Metropolitan Kliment has
demonstrated how it values ecclesiastical thought and the freedom of
its expression." And along the way Kuraev accused Metropolitan Kliment
of plagiarism (he supposedly presented to the Moscow Ecclesiastical
Academy a work of "nonindependent" character which the academy
caught). It is curious that they were quick to accuse the deposed
Bishop Diomid of plagiarism; supposedly in his time at the Moscow
Ecclesiastical Academy Diomid unsuccessfully tried to defend a
dissertation that he was not the author of. So the tactics of black PR
among supporters of Metropolitan Kirill are standard. And Metropolitan
Kliment should be careful; they are beginning to "pour" on him the
means which were used against Bishop Diomid several months ago.
Deacon Kuraev could not help finishing off his ardent accusation with a
regular assertion in favor of Metropolitan Kirill: "I will say
that in conversations with me even several rectors of seminaries who
previously had not been inclined toward Metropolitan Kirill have now
changed their position or they have seen just how unrestrained in
tactics the ultra-Orthodox 'alternative' can be."
Deacon Kuraev can hardly have decided to "attack" Metropolitan Kliment
on his own. Most likely, he was given approval from the "campaign
staff" of Metropolitan Kirill. And Kuraev's accusation has laid the
foundation for a dirty PR campaign against Gundiaev's competitors,
principally Metropolitan Kliment. It cannot be ruled out that
ecclesiastical administrative measures also will be used; thus, Kuraev
speaks confidently about some incident occurring at the next session of
the Holy Synod.
A decision about starting this campaign testifies that the position of
Metropolitan Kirill is not anywhere near as simple if he needs to apply
such methods to his competitors. Metropolitan Kirill's competitors have
managed to substantially strengthen their positions, despite how he
used emergency means to call the council and to try to "spring into the
patriarchate" as quickly as possible, so that one should expect that in
the near future a whole host of professional mud-slingers will be
employed, whose actions will be coordinated by the acting patriarch.
(tr. by PDS, posted 29 December 2008)
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