Influential church official criticizes Orthodox dissident


Interfax-Religiia, 25 January 2021


The head of the synodal Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Ilarion, urged Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev to repent and cease his blasphemy against the church.


"That he was deprived of his clerical rank was a natural result of his activity. And if he continues this activity in the same spirit, then surely expulsion from the church will follow," the metropolitan said in a broadcast of "Church and World" on Rossiia-24 television channel.


As was reported, on 29 December, a court of the Moscow city diocese found in statements of Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev evidence of "blasphemy against the church" and ruled that he is subject to removal from clerical rank. The decision will take effect in the event of the patriarch's confirming it.


Metropolitan Ilarion said that he sincerely regrets what has happened with Kuraev, who once did a great deal for the church: thanks to his books and lectures, people came to God. "But at some point he took the opposite path, and now with his slander against the church he is driving many persons from both God and religion and the church. Therefore, in essence, nothing connects him with the church now," the metropolitan thinks.


At the same time, he declared, it is never too late to stop and repent, and he expressed the great hope that Kuraev will change his attitude toward the church, toward the hierarchy, and toward religion in general, "and he will still take the path of repentance."


The representative of the church reacted with irony to the plans of the archdeacon to file an appeal against the decision of the church court with Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew.


"I think that he can file an appeal wherever he wants, even in the World League of Sexual Reform, as the famous hero of the novel 'Golden Calf,' Ostap Bender, advised another protagonist of this novel, Panikovsky, who complained that girls don't like him," Metropolitan Ilarion said in this regard.


In his opinion, Kuraev has had "more than enough" opportunities to file an appeal in a court of the whole church and to send a letter of repentance to the patriarch.


"He was inhibited from ministry back in April. He had months to mull over his personal fate. He was invited to the church court. Nothing happened there behind closed doors. He was invited three times and he did not appear in court. Therefore the decision was made. I think that the decision will not be reconsidered. But of course it is possible to appeal to whomever and wherever he wishes," the metropolitan thinks. (tr. by PDS, posted 25 January 2021)

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