Some critics say the Russian Orthodox Church has become too close to the Russian state (file photo) (TASS)
Russia: Skepticism Surrounds Reunited Orthodox Church
MOSCOW, August 14, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A high-ranking Russian Orthodox Church official has said he is pleased with the progress his church is making with the Russian Church Abroad.
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, who oversees external relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, has spoken warmly of ties between his church and the Russian Church Abroad since their historic reunion.
"It turned out that what we were suspecting was right -- since neither part of the Russian Orthodox Church has ever given up its faith or the Orthodox view of life and thinking, we have been able to sit together, in a friendly atmosphere, and discuss all the topics that have divided us. And it seems that we are actually like-minded," Kirill says.
Mending Historic Split
The two churches split following the 1917 revolution, when the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Sergei, declared his church's loyalty to the communist government.To begin with, the breakaway Orthodox Church was based in Stavropol, a southern Russian city then controlled by the White Army. With the Red Army advancing, the church moved to Ottoman Turkey and then to Serbia, before severing all ties with the Orthodox Church in Russia and setting itself up as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, headquartered in New York.