Protests for and Against the Russian Orthodox Church

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill


There have been protests for and against the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin wants those who protested against it to stop:

Putin spokesman condemns protests against Russian Orthodox Church

Reuters Blogs (blog) – 24 April 2012

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov) Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has called for an end to attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church after a protest in a in a cathedral by a women’s punk rock band that the leader of the church has called part of a campaign against it.

Forbes – ‎24 April 2012
After an outcry from conservative Orthodox believers and clergy, particularly after the politically-influential Patriarch Kirill weighed in with an angry and rather un-Christian denunciation of their conduct, three members of Pussy Riot were arrested .

Kirill told the huge crowd that the church had to respond to a spate of sacrilegious challenges that began in February when a women’s punk rock group entered the same cathedral — which was almost empty at the time — and performed an obscenity-laced “punk prayer” to protest the church’s alleged support for the electoral campaign of Vladimir Putin.

“We are under attack by persecutors,” Kirill said…
Liberal critics say the punk band, provocatively named Pussy Riot, violated no laws at all, and that the only reason the women now face stiff jail sentences is because the church is able to get its way in Russian courts and wants a tough example set in order to deter any repetition…
Critics allege that religious leaders are really upset about growing public criticism of the church and recent scrutiny of the lavish lifestyles of top church officials, including Kirill…Perhaps most painful — because it was largely self-inflicted — was a blogger’s allegation that Kirill owned a $40,000 Breguet watch, a claim that the Patriarch initially denied. Then bloggers found a photo of Kirill wearing the watch on an official church website. The timepiece was subsequently airbrushed out of the photo by a church technician. It was a sloppy job —  while Kirill’s wrist appeared clean, a clear reflection of the watch remained in the polished oak table and the retouched picture went viral.

Vladimir Putin received support from Orthodox Patriarch Kirill at a key time when he needed it a couple of months ago (see Russian Patriarch Supports Putin) and has tended to assist the Russian Orthodox in the past.  The fact that the Russian Patriarch apparently got caught giving out incorrect information has not stop many from supporting him.

While obviously I do not support obscenity-laced prayers (the group did the “prayer” in a basically empty Orthodox Church), I would mention that other faiths in Russia, including many of the Roman Catholic and Protestant varieties have complained that the Russian Orthodox Church has taken steps with the Russian government to interfere with, if not somewhat persecute, them.

Though the Eastern Orthodox tend to act like the Church of Rome and not the Orthodox have been historical persecutors, they have tended to overlook parts of their history (see also Persecutions by Church and State).  Here is a report related to the Russian Orthodox Church centuries ago:

One crisis developed as of the year 1492 approached.  Byzantine and Russian society had been taught that the world would end 7,000 years after the time of creation.  The year 7000 in the Orthodox calendar corresponded to the year AD 1492.

Anticipation of the apocalypse was mixed with confusion, dread, and doubts about the veracity of Orthodox teachings.  In this atmosphere a group of religious dissidents known in the historical literature as Judaizers, gained momentum and new adherents, especially among the clergy of Novgorod… From Novgorod they spread to Moscow when Ivan III having annexed Novgorod in 1478, transferred two Novgorodian priests who had espoused the heretical views…to Moscow…Ivan’s daughter-in-law, the mother of his grandson Dmitry, and the state secretary (d’iak) and the diplomat, Feder Kuritsyn, were among those influenced by their beliefs.

In 1487, Gennadii (Gennadius), the second archbishop to be appointed by Moscow to lead the still discontented Novgorodian church, launched an aggressive campaign to root out dissidents, whom he labeled as heretics for their alleged iconoclasm, anti-Trinitarianism, Sabbatarianism (i.e., observing the Sabbath on Saturday rathern than Sunday), and rejection of the year 7000 (1492) as the date of earthly destruction.  Using torture among other inquisitorial techniques, he identified the heretics and convinced the grand prince and the new metropolitan, Zosima (1490-94), to convene a Church council to suppress their movement.  The council of 1490 found nine accused Novgorodians guilty. (Martin J.  Medieval Russia: 980-1584, 2nd edition.  Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 290-291)

Ivan Kuritsin a prominent Russian theologian, and a leader of the religious uprising was arrested and locked in a cage. The tsar – Ivan the Great – found this movement already well established in Novgorod when he seized control of that city around 1480. Gennadii, Russian Orthodox archbishop of Novgorod was a zealous, even fanatical, enemy of the Sabbath-keeping reformers. He calls for extreme measures. In some of his letters addressed to the Russian tsar, Gennadii venerates the methods of Spanish Inquisition and insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state should apply these methods towards the Russian Sabbath-keeping movement. Russian Orthodox church leaders met at the Council of Moscow and condemned the reformers as heretics. The Sentence of the Council details the charges: “… some of you said blasphemy against many holy icons, and some of you cut the holy icons and burned them with fire… And you have all honored the Sabbath more than the Resurrection Day of Christ.” Council of Moscow, 1490. (Sabbath Rest for Weary Russia. Light of Hope International Television Ministry, Copyright 2011 viewed 03/31/12)

…1503…the leader of the Possessors was Abbot Joseph of Volokolamsk…a rather severe ascetic who imposed…the burning at the stake…the sect of the Judaizers…Judaizers…in Russia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries…denied the Trinity (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, pp. 49, 255).

So, the Russian Orthodox have had problems with other religions, especially those faithful to the Sabbath, etc. in its past, and may have similar issues in the future.

Perhaps I should mention that although I believe that the Russian Orthodox, for a time, will cooperate highly closely with the Church of Rome and shortly probably Europe, ultimately the Russian Orthodox will end up supporting the coming Eurasian union to the detriment to the powers that will in the end be in Europe.

In the 21st century, it continues to look like the Russian Orthodox Church will wield power in Russia and that the Russian government will often try to assist it.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Russia: Its Origins and Prophesied Future Where do the Russians come from? What is prophesied for Russia? What will it do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the sameEuropean leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics There are many problems that will happen if they unify, including make them part of end time Babylon.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Living Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?

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