Monitoring news media reports about religion in Russia
countries of CIS
Copyrighted material. For private use only.
If you quote material, please credit the publication from which it
came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page for any print use of
If any electronic reproduction is made, please
the URL: http:www.stetson.edu/~psteeves/relnews/
Religion News Current News Items
Patriarchal spokesman supports Putin's political
CHURCH HOPES THAT SOCIETY'S OPINION WILL BE CONSIDERED IN PREPARATION
OF PUTIN'S CAMPAIGN
17 January 2012
A spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate called society to a broad
discussion of the campaign article published yesterday by Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin.
"I am pleased that the prime minister offered his campaign points for
general discussion. I hope that it will be active and that people's
suggestions will be heard," the head of the synodal Department for
Relations of Church and Society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, told
Interfax-Religiia on Tuesday.
He said that it was no coincidence that V. Putin proposed in his
article to strengthen the role of civil society in the country. The
priest thinks that today in Russia "many people are ready to express
themselves constructively," and he stated the hope that these people's
opinions "will be taken into account in finalizing the election
At the same time he thinks it important that these opinions are not
only proclaimed on the Internet but also "are picked up by someone for
consideration in the process of a dialogue of the campaign staff with
representatives of various public associations and various social
As the news agency's interlocutor noted, the article says much about
economics, "in particular about the undoubted achievements of the
economic and social policies of Russia in recent years." In his view it
is no coincidence that the prime minister speaks of the sphere of
values and morality. Economics are important but it is the
psychological state of society "that determines whether the country
will be successful in various areas of its life, including economics."
"The idea that unites Marxists and ultraliberals and comes down to the
simplification that economic relations determine everything else is
false, as is demonstrated by the state of the contemporary West where
the idea of the freedom of the market from ethical and social
restrictions has gradually led to total economic collapse, which only
the blind do not see today," the church's representative declared.
Thus, he continued, one cannot but agree with Putin's words that
"personal freedom is productive if you recall and think about others.
Freedom without a moral foundation turns into tyranny."
The priest also considers important the article's accent on the
development of civil initiative, including in the activity of socially
oriented noncommercial organizations. "Today it is necessary to provide
for public associations the systematic opportunity of participating in
implementing social, educational, cultural, and health care policies
and in combating corruption, crime, drug addiction, drunkenness, and
the immorality of some of the news media," Fr Vsevold is convinced.
He hopes that the ideas that have been proclaimed will lead to
"specific suggestions of how to increase the systematic role of the
nongovernmental sector and local communities in the administration of
the state and implementation of its policies, which of course must be
joined with greater delegation of budgetary resources and authority
from governmental structures to public ones."
The priest considers it necessary to revive a serious dialogue about
the place of Russia in the world and about the picture of the world
that Russia would want to bring about along with other countries "who
aim for sincere dialogue and cooperation with it."
He agreed with V. Putin's thought that "the former single 'pole of
power' is now incapable of maintaining global stability and new centers
of influence are still not ready to do this," and with the idea that
"an impasse has been reached with the model built on unrestrained
borrowing capacity and living in debt and mortgaging the future with
virtual but not real values and assets."
"In such conditions Russia must state and defend in a deliberate way
its own vision of international relations and of the reestablishment of
a just and balanced world economy. I hope that our society will also
take a most active part in the discussion of these aspects of future
Russian policies," Fr Vsevolod added. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 January
Related article: "Russia
in Focus--the Challenges We Must Face
," by Vladimir Putin
Religion News Current News Items
Orthodox political parties
RUSSIAN CHURCH APPROVES IDEA OF CREATION OF "ORTHODOX" PARTIES BUT WILL
NOT GIVE THEM ITS BLESSING
12 January 2012
The head of the synodal Department for Relations of Church and Society,
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, called for thinking about whether an
"Orthodox" party would be possible in Russia.
"The church views positively the prospect of the creation of Christian
or Orthodox parties or intra-party groups, but it will not show them
exclusive support or grant its blessing. The church is for everybody,
and not for the supporters of one political force," Fr Vsevolod writes
in a recent open collective blog, "Orthodox politics," of which he is
one of the authors.
In a note under the heading "Is an "Orthodox"/"Christian" party needed
or possible?" he reaches the conclusion that "it seems a time of stormy
party construction has begun."
"The creation of parties on religious bases is not permitted by law,
but nobody forbids forming an 'Orthodox' or 'Christian' party without a
formal mention of it in the name; let's recall that Christian Democrats
in the European Parliament call themselves the European People's Party
and the moderate political Muslims in Turkey, the Party of Justice and
Development," the writer mentions.
He said that there are no impediments to the creation of such parties
on the part of the church. Its "Bases of a Social Doctrine" says that
the existence of such political organizations is viewed by the church
"as a positive phenomenon that enables laity to work together to
conduct political and governmental activity on the basis of Christian
spiritual and moral principles."
As the priest recalled, the same document says that such organizations,
being free in their activity, are at the same time called "to consult
with the church hierarchy and to coordinate activities in the area of
implementation of the church's position on social matters." At the same
time, organizations that participate in the political process "cannot
have the blessing of the church hierarchy and act in the name of the
"The main question, whose answer I still do not know is whether an
'Orthodox'/'Christian' party is possible in contemporary Russia. The
experiences of the 1990s that I observed closely were most often
unsuccessful, although they were started by good and sincere people (I
am not thinking of one group whose name concealed its purely commercial
interests and which did not conduct any political activity at all)" the
church's representative writes. He noted that the main problems
were "fragmentation, petty ambition, and mutual alienation if not
Fr Vsevolod thinks that today Orthodox and generally Christian ideas
are proclaimed by a whole number of organizations "who, it seems, are
ready to try to become parties." "But will it turn out again that
there is fragmentation and in the end obtain support of a tenth of a
percent or one percent of the voters? There is another question: would
it be possible to create (form) Orthodox/Christian groups within the
framework of large existing parties? I would be happy to hear quite
different responses," the blog says. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 January
CREATION OF ORTHODOX POLITICAL PARTY IS ROAD TO SOCIAL DIVISION.
Orthodox Religious Studies Expert Valery Otstavnikh on Fr Vsevolod
Chaplin's unconstitutional initiative
"Echo of Moscow" blog, 13 January 2012
Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin has again "shaken" the Internet with original
suggestions. This time he has proposed trying again the create an
"Orthodox political party." More precisely, "to think about it." It
seems to me personally, a priori, that this latest "suggestion" of the
esteemed speaker is contradictory and dangerous. Fr Vservolod proposes
approving the creation of the party but not giving a blessing to its
creation (the canons do not permit that). The sense of the formula is
striking. Could the opposite really exist: not approving (something)
but blessing it? Everything is possible. Although why "not giving
blessing"? I have already written in one of my old posts that taken
together apostolic rules 6 and 81, that forbid clergy from
participating in political activity, are superceded by an appropriate
amendment in the relevant document. So that priests and bishops with a
special synodal blessing may run for parliament and occupy any posts
there except that of speaker. So why "not giving blessing"?
Hypothetically, what can come from this? Nothing good, I think. Only
divisions. The creation of such a party supported by the church will
put the Orthodox members of other parties in a ridiculous
position. Will they have to give up their own organizations and
join the new party? The next stage will be the attempt of
representatives of other traditional religions and confessions (as well
as totalitarian sects and cults) to create theis own political parties
and party blocks: Muslim, Adventist, Neo-protestant, Neo-pagan, New
Age, etc. etc. Finally, in the Orthodox milieu itself there exist
differences of political opinion (which is normal), so that it is
possible there will appear extremely diverse "Orthodox parties":
left-radical, right-monarchist, Orthodox Socialistic, and the like.
Do I believe that all of this will happen? Not very much. Why? Because
Fr Vsevolod has again suggested not to create but "to think about." As
he has suggested "to think about" something numerous times already. I
have the feeling that the esteemed Fr Vsevolod is simply distracting
society's attention from the really substantive questions and that
society and Orthodox speakers are continuing the endless "conversation
of the blind with the deaf."
--"Please unmask the falsehood of the elections."
--"Let's think about creating an Orthodox party."
--"Please unmask the falsehood of the elections."
--"And let's "begin military actions" abroad and dispatch the "Internet
hamsters;" those who survive will become men."
--"Please unmask the falsehood of the election."
--"One must begin with the individual."
Correct. With the individual. And we know this "individual's"
surname. (tr. by PDS, posted 16 Janary 2012)
Russian original posted on Portal-credo.ru
site, 13 January
Religion News Current News Items
Anti-Putin oligarch prods patriarch with blog
OPEN LETTER TO PATRIARCH KIRILL
Not hope, but Faith dies last.
One can talk as much as one wants about the resurrection of Faith and
about the revival of Orthodoxy and can restore old churches and build
thousands of new ones, but there is no ritual that can substitute for
Faith. It is a deficit of Faith that is Russia's chief misfortune.
Russia has lost faith in truth, faith in justice, faith in itself. The
people have lost faith in the authorities and may lose faith in the
church. The government does not trust its own citizens. Could it be
possible for the church to lose trust in its parishioners?
[tr. note: use of capital or lower case letters on word "faith"
preserves style of original]
Behind you are 1,000 years of Orthodoxy, but the most difficult trials
lie ahead. This year you will have to enter history. You may enter
history as one who peacefully occupied your throne as primate of all
Orthodox believers of Russia. Peacefully occupying it at a time
when the authorities' reluctance to listen to the will of the people
grew into the rupture of relations between the people and the
government. Peacefully occupying at a time when noisy rallies of
protest grew into the rumble of gunshots and when the waves of mutual
accusations turned into the blood of innocents.
If blood flows, Putin will answer for it before the people, before his
own conscience, and before history. But you will answer before
You may enter history as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church who
took upon himself the historic mission of the salvation of Russia from
its time of troubles as your great predecessors did. It is within your
powers today to guarantee a bloodless transfer of power in Russia.
No matter how transparent and honest the elections the government
conducts, no matter who wins them--society will not accept their
You are in a unique position--you do not aspire to secular power.
From a pastor today one does not await a sermon but action.
Help Putin come to his senses.
Convey to him the voice of the people. And when Putin listens to you,
take power from his hands and peacefully and wisely transfer it in a
Christian fashion to the people.
London, 15 January 2012
Russian original posted on web site of Echo
of Moscow, 16 January 2012
Religion News Current News Items
Putin's "gray cardinal" will direct religion policy
SURKOV TO OVERSEE GOVERNMENT DIALOGUE WITH RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
12 January 2012
Russian Vice-Premier Vladislav Surkov will be in charge in the
government of a nmber of national projects and polity in the sphere of
modernization and innovation, culture, demography, tourism, and
relations with religious associations.
According to the new distribution of responsibilities confirmed by
Premier Vladimir Putin and posted on the government website, V. Surkov
will coordinate the work of federal agencies of the executive branch
and give to them instructions on matters of implementation of priority
national projects (except for the national projects in agriculture) and
modernization in the spheres of education, health care, social
security, and affordable and comfortable housing.
He also will coordinate the work of government agencies on matters of
culture and art, science, and innovation activity, including the
development and use of the GLONASS [GPS] system.
In addition, V. Surkov is authorized to coordinate matters of state
regulations in the sphere of youth policies, demography policies,
development of tourism, and relations with religious
organizations. (tr. by PDS, posted 15 January 2012)
ARCHITECT OF RUSSIA’S POLITICAL SYSTEM UNDER PUTIN IS REASSIGNED
by Ellen Barry
New York Times, 27 December 2011 (excerpts)
The Kremlin on Tuesday announced the reassignment of Vladislav Y.
Surkov, the architect of the highly centralized political system that
has come under waves of protest from middle-class Muscovites over the
last month. . . .
Aleksei L. Kudrin, a former finance minister, called Mr. Surkov’s
transfer a “serious bid to renew the political system,” and said it had
been agreed upon by both President Dmitri A. Medvedev and Mr. Putin,
the prime minister.
“I consider him one of the designers of the system,” Mr. Kudrin said of
Mr. Surkov in an interview with the Kommersant-FM radio station. “Now
the system is being reconsidered. Other organizers are needed, with
other views on the political system. . . .”
Mr. Surkov’s low profile and extraordinary clout have earned him the
title “gray cardinal,” an object of fascination and occasional loathing
in the capital. . . .
“I was among the people who helped President Yeltsin realize a peaceful
transfer of power,” [Surkov] said. “I was among those who helped
President Putin stabilize the political system. I was among those who
helped President Medvedev liberalize it.” He added, “I hope I did not
undermine my employers and my colleagues.”
The news prompted discussion among an array of political players who
have all found themselves dealing with Mr. Surkov over the years. Many
said he was serving as a symbolic sacrifice to the growing ranks of
protesters. . . .
Mr. Surkov has said that centralizing power in the Kremlin was a matter
of survival after the chaotic pluralism of the 1990s, but acknowledged
more recently that “centralization has reached the limits of its
capacity.” Early this month, reacting to the first of several large
protests, he said a new party was urgently needed to accommodate the
demands of “annoyed urban communities. . . .”
IVANOV REPLACES NARYSHKIN IN KREMLIN
by Alexey Eremenko
Moscow Times, 23 December 2011 (excerpts)
Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov became the Kremlin chief of staff
on Thursday in what analysts called a reward for one of Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin's closest allies and part of preparations for Putin's
expected return to the Kremlin next year. . . .
Former Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin traded his job for the
speaker's seat in the State Duma, which held its first session
Wednesday. . . .
Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin's first deputy chief of staff, had served
as Naryshkin's temporary replacement before Ivanov's appointment.
Surkov, the Kremlin's spin doctor par excellence, had been tipped in
some media reports as a candidate to take the job full-time. . .
Religion News Current News Items
Patriarch's new politics?
POLITICS AND CHURCH
by Nikolai Konkov,
Zavtra, 12 January 1202
The Christmas interview by the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church,
shown on the "Rossiia-1" television channel, was perceived by many as a
kind of reversal in the political position of the Moscow patriarchate.
First of all because it touched upon critical political topics and this
is hard to square not only with the traditional thesis to the effect
that "the church is outside politics," but also with the very
traditional thesis of the "symphonia of secular and ecclesiastical
authorities"--a "symphonia in which the chief party by default is
always the Kremlin, and the entire church hierarchy has played the role
The most recent exception to this rule was the events of the autumn of
1993 when Patriarch Alexis II tried to act in the role of mediator
between the two warring sides: President Yeltsin and the Russian
Supreme Soviet. One must say that this peacemaking mission ended in
failure since "the elect of the whole nation" paid no attention to the
patriarch's calls not to engage in bloodshed and he shelled the Supreme
Soviet, killing almost 500 of its defenders, after which he "reigned"
successfully a little more than six years. It seems that Alexis II did
not forget this snub and he was not about to conduct the funeral of the
"first Russian president," and he assigned this ritual to metropolitans
Yuvenaly, Kirill (the current patriarch), and Kliment.
But this was a clear "historical fork in the road," where the issue is
not politics as such but a greater matter, the future path that Russian
civilization will take for many years. And what now? What drove
Patriarch Kirill to begin talking politics? What drove Russia's chief
television channel to broadcast his words to the whole country? Is the
winter of 2011-2012 really equivalent to the "black autumn" of 1993 in
its significance and level of threat?
It does not seem so, and Patriarch Kirill himself spoke about this
quite definitely: "In terms of the flame of passions it is
impossible to compare this with the pre-revolutionary months and years
leading up to the 1917 revolution or with what happened at the end of
perestroika." However, he justly noted that "sometimes something big
grows out of something small," and therefore the patriarch's call to
the powers that be "to learn to adjust course" and to the public "to
learn to express your disagreement in a way that does not destroy the
country" gives evidence that it is not now obvious and undoubted to
either the one or the other. That is the way it really is.
"Therefore here's my words for our nation today: remember that we have
exhausted the limit of confrontation, we have exhausted all possibility
of achieving the revolutionary restructuring of the life of our
society. Our path is that of peaceful, evolutionary development,
including through a realistic dialogue with the government that entails
when necessary the outward expression of protest, but in such a way
that the foundations of the life of the state are not shaken, the
economy is not halted, and culture, art, education, sports, and
sciences are not destroyed as we destroyed them in the 1990s--and let's
also add to this the army," Patriarch Kirill said. At the same
time he called both the government and the public "to learn to live in
accordance with God's truth, that is, we must not lie to one another."
"Falsehood must depart from our life, from political, economic, and
In other words, the Russian Orthodox Church through the mouth of its
primate is not just proposing some positive social and political
program for our government and our society; it has thereby declared its
readiness in current circumstances to become a key state-forming and
state-determining structure. One can think about this in various ways,
but it is obvious that in such a system, the patriarch who is elected
by the bishops' council for life will have a priority, that is
extremely substantial and growing with time, over the president who is
elected for a definite and rather short term by a nationwide vote.
So then the question arises of itself: how prepared are the church
itself and Patriarch Kirill personally for such a role? After
all, his words--to the effect that in soviet times the people had no
real right to express their opinion, including disagreement with the
actions of the government (as an example he cited the bloody events of
1962 in Novocherkassk), or to the effect that in the aftermath of the
1917 revolution the slogan "Steal what has been stolen" was put into
effect and the new elite got something but the people did not begin
living better--evoke doubts in many people regarding their truth. And
it is possible that it is like the actions of the famous writer, Nobel
laureate Alexander Isaevich Solzhenitsyn, who also called for "not
living in accordance with the lie" while at the same time maintaining
that 110 million Russian people fell victim to socialism. Of course, if
one considers all who died and perished on the territory of USSR in the
years of soviet rule, the number of "victims of socialism" might seem
to be even more impressive, but you will agree that this would not have
anything in common with historic truth.
This is just like the patriarch's assumption that if it had not been
for the "bloody revolution" of 1917 and the fratricidal civil war
Russia today would have a population of more than 300 million and "its
economic development would be equal to that of USA or even surpassing
that country," which completely ignores the fact that in 1989 USSR had
a population of 294 million, with an annual growth rate of more than a
million, and its economy was almost 60% of the economy of USA with a
growth of real GNP of 3.5% annually. Thus the catastrophic "failure"
for our country happened not at all in 1917 but in 1991. Thus "speaking
the whole truth" is not always achieved even by those who call others
to do so. (tr. by PDS, posted 14 January 2012)
Russian original posted on Religiopolis
site, 12 January 2012
Religion News Current News Items
Criticism of patriarchate grows
CHRIST IS NOT AMONG THEM
One of the most important results of the 2011 political years is the
moral collapse of RPTsMP
by Stanislav Belkovskii
Moskovskii komsomolets, 13 January 2012
Recently the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchate
(RPTsMP) has sharply increased its social and political activism. It is
evident that the comrades--also known as the "hierarchy of
RPTsMP"--feel a need not to stand aside from the changes that are
hanging over the country of Russia.
RPTsMP has already determined its principled position: it has decided
to finally distance itself from the vital portion of Russian society
and to turn itself into an appendage of the executive authority, that
is, "the party of crooks and thieves." No doubt a church of crooks and
thieves is a piquant thing although not completely novel in history.
Even our own history, although the Borgia family is more significant in
Well, okay. Let's get specific.
So long as there were rallies on Bolotnaia Square and Sakharov
Prospect, where educated Russian citizens assembled representing,
incidentally, the most promising basis of a new Orthodox flock, RPTsMP
carefully fulfilled the mandate of the executive authority to divert
Russians from defense of their civil rights and political freedoms. To
be sure, the primate of RPTsMP Kirill (secular name, Gundiaev) behaved
rather cautiously. He sent into the fray his own titular spiritual
advisor, a certain ascetic monk Ilia Nozdrin. Who passes for some kind
of saint--well, the Lord will decide. We will not jump the gun. We will
just hope that non-stick technology is sufficiently advanced so that
nobody will have to smell burnt ascetic.
So now what. Nozdrin said the following regarding the rallies about the
falsification of duma elections: "What is the essence of the
current situation and many discussions in our country? It is nothing
other than a provocation by people who have been trying to create
troubles in Russia, to arrange disorders, and who serve those who so
hate our country and wish to undermine its stability, prosperity, and
peaceful life. The actions of the enemies of our country are summoning
dark forces from the abyss to create chaos that is more dangerous than
the period of the so-called Orange Revolution in Ukraine. This scenario
thoroughly accounts for the events and actions that we have seen in
Moscow and St. Petersburg this week. These cries which rang out on
Bolotnaya Square, according to the reports of eyewitnesses, often
bought by the organizers of these incidents, are a manifestation of the
passions and hatred for our fatherland, which has embarked on a path of
Proceeding on the preparation of this powerful elder, Mr. Gundiaev
again let be known what has long been obvious: RPTsMP is not at all
interested in its flock. It is interested only in state financing. But
the Moscow patriarchate does not live by Nozdrin alone. There are more
powerful types, although they are not so bearded. For example, the head
of the Department for Relations of Church and Society (OVTsO), Fr
Vsevolod Chaplin. He developed his generally inhumane political
activity. In particular, he called for the creation of an Orthodox
political party. Apparently the RPTsMP is not able to cope with the
problem of garnering budget funds; it needs its own party. Fr. Chaplin
himself said that the protests of educated Russian citizens were
provoked by immoral people and added that the main values of Orthodox
parties should be "rejection of corruption" and "struggle with
immorality in the news media."
This all seems quite logical and consistent if one considers the
morality sermon that Fr Vsevolod--may God grant him health and long
life--delivered in one of Moscow's restaurants at the end of December
of last year. It happened that several of my acquaintances were at the
sermon, who not only shared with me their impressions but also left the
event in protest--the holy father's conduct seemed to them too cynical
After drinking a good dose of khrenovuka (for the uninitiated, a liquid
that is somewhat similar in composition to the wine of the New
Testament, poured out for many for the remission of sins), Father
Chaplin put on a real show. One must quote the account of one
participant in the event that was published on the Internet. "Father
Chaplin said: people of the swamp (obviously the subject is
participants in the rally on the Bolotnaya [i.e. "Swamp"] Square), you
should know that within I am a liberal! But as a padre and civil
servant I am forced to support the Putin-Gundiaev gang. I can do none
"Churov is a parishioner in my church," the holy father continued,
called not only to transmit the official point of view of RPTsMP but
also to persuade society of the true sanctity of the hierarchy.
"He makes his confession to me. I have not seen him since the
elections, but I know for sure that he is suffering. And in time he
will repent." After this, according to the statement of eyewitnesses,
he screamed: "Try Putin's gang! Exile Gundiaev."
I do not know whether Gundiaev is preparing for exile. I think a
monastery would be more appropriate for him, even if it is VIP
accommodations. But his entourage has forces no less powerful than Fr
Chaplin. For example, there is Kirill Frolov who presents himself as
the head of the Association of Orthodox Experts. He promotes the true
faith on his blog (although the other day Mr. Gundiaev denounced
the ascetic Nozdrin's invective and called for not trusting the social
nets). Mainly there they discuss questions of geopolitics and
geoeconomics, especially Russia's influence on Ukraine. As well as the
role of RPTsMP in constructing the "Russian world."
A typical quotation from Kirill Frolov: "CSCE does not like
elections in Russia. The 2011 December elections and any others where
'their' candidates do not win. Who could doubt it. I recall that CSCE
smuggled into the 2004 unconstitutional 'second-round elections' for
president in Ukraine which just brought Yushchenko to power. Who
doesn't see that behind 'Bolota' and the 4 February 'MacFaul Show'
stand the Washington Central Committee and the Brussels City
Commission? Since they are not even hiding this."
At the same time all these people maintain that they are engaged in an
"Orthodox mission" and they are drawing prodigal souls into the church.
It is true, whom the Lord wills, perishes.
One of the most important (negative, in my view) results of the 2011
political year is the moral collapse of RPTsMP. Just 3 years ago, when
Kirill Gundiaev became primate, it seemed that the Russian church could
become the spiritual leader of the Russian nation and agent of change.
Today it turns out that the hierarchy of RPTsMP is some kind of gang of
evil clowns seemingly specifically designated to discredit the Moscow
patriarchate as such. They talk about such unimportant things as
"Orthodox night clubs," "Temporary neighborhood churches," etc. But the
only phrase that is, as a rule, absent from their discussion is "Jesus
Christ." Still he remains head of the church and nobody has
removed him from this office. . . .
[The article concludes with a quotation of the gospel story of the rich
man (Dives) and Lazarus--tr.]
(tr. by PDS, posted 13 January 2012
Russian original posted on Portal-credo.ru,
13 January 2012
Orthodox church activity lagging
ONLY 1% OF ORTHODOX RUSSIANS PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY IN PARISH LIFE--SURVEY
11 January 2012
During an all-Russian survey by the "Sreda" research service, Russians
were asked: "Please tell us whether you participate in parish
life," "Orthodoxy and the World" reports. The question was posed only
to respondents who identified themselves as Orthodox.
Almost half (44%) of Orthodox Russians questioned do not participate
and do not want to participate in parish life. Only one percent of
those questioned do participate actively.
Women more often than men take part in the life of a parish. The
greatest involvement in parish life is displayed by residents of the
Central District of Russia and by Muscovites. White-collar
workers and respondents aged 55 to 64 years are somewhat more likely
than average to participate in parish life.
A bit fewer than a third of Orthodox respondents (28%) would like to
participate in parish life but for some reason they are not able to.
Most often these include residents of small cities with population
between 50,000 and 250,000, parents of two children, retirees and
respondents who think of themselves as happy. They also include
respondents who support the "A Just Russia" party (32%) and who have a
high opinion of the patriarch's activity (18%).
Those who do not want to participate in parish life are more often
people older than 65 years (27%), residents of large cities with the
exception of Moscow (29%), single-child families (26%) and respondents
who have health problems. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 January 2012)
NEW "ANTI-RECORD" ATTENDANCE AT CHRISTMAS SERVICES IN MOSCOW
7 January 2012
On the order of 90 thousand Muscovites participated in Christmas
worship services in churches of the capital on the night of 6-7
January, RIA Novosti was told by a representative of the press service
of the State Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
"Around 90 thousand persons participated in night-time holiday
services. They attended 282 Moscow churches," the agency's source said.
As previously reported, during the celebration of the Nativity of
Christ 8,500 police officers and internal security troops and
militiamen provided security for churches of Moscow.
Despite Patriarch Kirill's proclaimed goal of building 600 new churches
in Moscow, the attendance at already existing churches has fallen every
year. The previous "anti-record" was established last year when 105
thousand persons attended Christmas services in Moscow. This was
substantially less than the number who attended Moscow mosques for the
Kurban-Bayram holy day this year, a Portal-credo.ru correspondent
notes. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 January 2012)
Religion News Current News Items
If material is quoted, please
give credit to the publication from which it came.
It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted
electronically, please include reference to the URL,