[“We used to pray for the intentions of the pope and the conversion of Russia. Now we pray for the intentions of Russia and the conversion of the Pope!” – Gloria.TV News]
January 20, 2017
Posted by Tantumblogo
If by “right,” one means in the direction of promoting traditional Christian values and beliefs, I’d say that’s correct, and what a damning indictment that is, given how many errors the Russian Orthodox hold, in spite of the ancient nature of that Church and its many beautiful elements.
Reader TE sent a link to an article examining the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Putin’s Russia. As in the days of the tsars of old, the relationship between Putin’s government and the Russian Orthodox Church is one of complex interdependence, each supporting and strengthening the other. Post-Christian libertine Westerners are aghast at this relationship, but it’s very similar to how Church-state relations were conducted in western Christendom for centuries. It would be fascinating – and one hopes instructive – to see if Putin’s close integration of the Church into Russian society/government leads to an increasingly stable, united, morally upright Russia. That would serve as a powerful counter-example to the direction of the decadent West.
Some highlights from the piece, which is not exactly what I would call a ringing endorsement of these close Church/state relations [Tantumblogo’s comments in brackets]:
Putin may not be religious in the traditional sense, but he certainly realizes that Christianity- specifically the Russian Orthodox Church- is the common glue that holds the Russian people together. It has deep historical roots that were dampened, but never extinguished by 75 years of communist rule. And it extends beyond the borders of Russia itself into neighboring lands, especially the Ukraine.
Putin has carefully nurtured his relationship with the Church. He has demanded that the oligarchs fund the rebuilding of almost 25,000 Orthodox churches in Russia. A recent law passed forbids the practice of religion outside of an established church- a law that targets Western religions like Jehovah’s Witnesses that practice in their home……..The Church is consulted on legislation of any nature that may touch upon religion.
Putin, like the Church, view themselves as a bulwark against Western decadence. [In spite of the many problems in Russia’s government, the endemic corruption and continued rot and decay, this is not an unfair assessment, and Russia’s re-embrace of religion (along with that ongoing in much of the former Soviet satellite states) is a damning indictment on the Western belief that the irreversible trajectory of history is towards more secularization, more libertinism, more hedonism, and less and less influence on religion. We simply have not yet learned the lessons learned in the former communist states, which is that a society that explicitly rejects God is a dystopian nightmare where all manner of evils are prevalent in appalling abundance] He has criticized Western values and “tolerance” as “genderless and infertile.” To Putin, the new Cold War is one of Western values versus Russian conservatism.
As a result, Russia has rising birth rates. [But still far from adequate] It is perhaps the only developed country where religion is taking on a greater role rather than a diminished one. His stance has been intolerant of divorce. He has banned the advertisement of abortion services. Pornography is banned as is “homosexual propaganda.” Putin’s Russia has moved considerably to the right of the Pope’s Vatican….. [Which is equally a commentary on the radicalism emanating from Rome as it is on Russia’s nascent return to its Christian roots]
……..There is nothing new here as concerns the Putin regime and the Church. Since the time of the czars, the Patriarchate and the Kremlin were allies- each doing the other’s bidding. The Church saw the czar as God’s chosen leader. But underlying the alliance was the belief in a shared and almost sacred vision of Russian exceptionalism and a unique national identity- neither Western nor Eastern.
Perhaps this explains why some have called upon Putin- not the EU, not the UN, not the Pope and not the US despite who occupies the Oval Office- to save Christianity. In fact, the Orthodox Church has specifically asked Putin to do just that and he enthusiastically responded, “Consider it done.”
Such a contrast to our decadent Western elites, who, even among those who do not outwardly mock and scorn Christianity, rarely do more than pay lip service to orthodox Christian belief. Religion for the vast, vast majority in the West, especially among the elites, is at best a quaint relic from a benighted past, and at worst the most dangerous, corrosive, hateful element of society – something to be fought and crushed at all costs.
I think we shall see over the coming decades which vision produces the best effects. Russia still faces enormous problems, and while the religious revival may be a mile wide, it is yet only an inch deep. Massive problems including rampant alcoholism and the lackadaisical work ethic resulting from a lifetime of communist rule remain. But the post-Christian West very apparently has a suicidal death wish, forlornly refusing to learn the lessons of history and embracing the exact same ideologies that have led to endless misery and societal collapse around the world. Should Russia’s religious revival intensify and work more deeply into the day to day lived experience of Russians, I have no doubt which society, which culture will be the more robust, the more vibrant 50 years from now.