Demoted Orthodox archpriest loses political position


RIA Novosti, 15 January 2016


The former chairman of the synod's Department on Relations of Church and Society, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, was removed from membership in the presidential Council for Relations with Religious Associations; in his place, the head of the synod's Department for Relations of the Church with Society and News Media, Vladimir Legoida, became a member of the council, the official portal of legal information reports.


In late December of last year, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (RPTs) made a decision merging two synodal departments of the Moscow patriarchate—on relations of the church and society and the news department. Legoida was appointed the head of the new department. Chaplin, who headed the Department on Relations of Church and Society, left his position, while the synod expressed to him thanks for his many years of work in the synodal institution. Also the head of the Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Ilarion, was appointed in his place as representative of the RPTs in the Inter-religious Council of the Russian federation. Then the archpriest was removed from the post of deputy head of the World Russian People's Council. On his part, Chaplin spoke out critically in news media about the current system of church administration and he criticized the patriarch, in particular.


The order by the head of state says: "To introduce changes into the membership of the Council for Relations with Religious Associations under the president of the Russian federation . . . , including in its membership V.R. Legoida, the chairman of the synod's Department for Relations of Church and Society and News Media of the Russian Orthodox Church, and removing from its membership V.A. Chaplin."


The Council for Relations with Religious Associations under the president of the RF was created on 24 April 1995. According to information of the official website of the head of state, its primary functions "are maintaining relations of the president with religious associations and cooperation in strengthening public harmony, mutual understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect in matters of freedom of conscience and freedom of religious confession." (tr. by PDS, posted 18 January 2016)



Religiia v Ukraine, 15 January 2016


Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who was dismissed from the post of head of the Department for Relations of Church and Society of the Moscow patriarchate, is worried about the curtailing of freedom of speech in Russia, pointing to top persons of the RPTs and the Kremlin as likely patrons of such a situation, a correspondent of the portal Religiia v Ukraine reports.


"They are trying to deprive me of an outlet in almost all Russian news media. In my opinion, the participants are both the top church leadership (I have the right to suppose that the order was given by the patriarch personally) and the leadership of the Russian presidential administration," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin wrote on 11 January in his Facebook page. "Here are the facts. On 28 December, a long-announced press conference in the Interfax building was cancelled. On 29 December my commentary for the news agency Rossiia Segodnia regarding my removal from the office of deputy head of the World Russian People's Council was recorded, but not posted on the website, while the statement of my critics was presented in great detail. On 5 January my commentary for Life News about calendar peculiarities for the celebration of Christmas was recorded but not aired. Radio Govorit Moskva invited anyone who wished to discuss my dismissal, but not me, while it was said that my name should not even be mentioned. The only exceptions were made by Echo of Moscow, Snob, and Dozhd. They do not even try to prevent critics of Putin from speaking so shamelessly. Sir journalists (especially patriots), isn't it time to stop heeding such 'advice' that violates the spirit of the law and of ethics?"


It has been reported that a few days ago Russian Orthodox television channels Spas and Soiuz also shut down Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin's programs. In addition, the priest was just removed from the membership of the presidential Council for Relations With Religious Associations of the RF. (tr. by PDS, posted 19 January 2016)

Related articles:
Archpriest Chaplin's successor named
January 5, 2016
Archpriest loses powerful position
December 29, 2015
Prominent church spokesman stripped of authority
December 24, 2015

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