Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is Russia more Christian than the United States? Medvedev might just say Yes!

Hat tip to Steve.

From here.

Is Russia more Christian than the United States? Medvedev might just say Yes!

Wednesday January 13, 2010 by Steve Ryan

Is Russian leadership more Christian than the United States? Is the Russian Government more Christian than George Bush ever hoped the United States to be? The answer is yes, and not only is it true, but thanks to born again Christians, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, Christian influence in matters of State is rapidly on the rise. Let’s look at the facts.

A couple of weeks ago Barack Obama skipped Church on Christmas Day while the President of Russia, Dimitry Medvedev, on January 6, 2010, attended mid-night mass services celebrating the Russian Orthodox Christmas in grand splendor in the traditional Vigil liturgy in Saint Christ the Saviour Cathedral in the presence of 4,000 people, including Patriarch Kirill. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas following the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days “behind” the Gregorian calendar.

While Russian leaders were attending Church services, half way around the world in America, Chicago Tribune, writing about Obama’s troubles finding a Church for his family, said “But as his (Obama) fellow Christians around the world attended Christmas services on Wednesday and Thursday, the president-elect and his family remained sequestered at their vacation compound on the windward coast of Oahu. His lack of attendance at formal religious services showcased a dilemma faced by Obama, who is between churches and often expresses concern about bringing the disruption of his security detail into the lives of others.” According to the same report President Barack Obama has not attended a public church service since before being elected.

So what you say? Well, today Russia is investing $100 million to rebuild Christian churches throughout the country. Money to rebuild theses churches is coming from Russian tax payers. This would be impossible in the US of course. Imagine the US Media’s reaction if President Obama decided to invest $100 million dollars of US tax payer dollars to rebuild Catholic Churches. In the US there would be outrage yet Russia citizens are supportive of the investment.

Russia’s turn to Christianity is a virtually unknown phenomenon in the United States. Most Christian leaders are oblivious to what is happening in Russia. Pastor Robertson or Pastor Hagee still believe Russia is an atheist and communist country and these prominent End-Times Christian pastors are raising money and rattling their sabers to go to war against the Godless state.

But the reality is Russia is indeed rebuilding Churches with tax payer funds., in another piece, wrote “In addition to the formal exchange of wishes and thanks with the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Russian government gave the Christian Church a dramatic Christmas gift. Meeting with the patriarch at the Danilov Monastery, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the government would provide almost $100 million US dollars (RUB 2 billion) to restore holy sites, monasteries and churches destroyed during last century’s atheist drive by the Soviet Union against religion. He also said that the Novodevichy Convent, one of most beautiful and important in the country, would be given back to the Patriarchate.

Putin Emphasizes “Love for Spiritual Values” Kisses religious Icons, Keeps Miracle Cross with him

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedeve go to Church frequently, kiss precious icons of the Virgin Mary and seek political and moral counsel from the Russian Orthodox Clergy. Furthermore, to the surprise of many Americans, particularly Evangelical Christians, Vladimir Putin wears a Christian cross with him at all times.

From a Larry King Live interview Putin told Larry King: “I was surprised completely when one of the workers, just muddling through those ashes of the remnants, found that cross intact. And the house fell, that was a surprise, a revelation, and therefore I always now keep it with me. ”

Vladimir Putin has frequently praised the Christian Russian Orthodox Church for “educating citizens in a spirit of patriotism and love of country, passing on love for spiritual values and history.” For his part, Kirill said that he hoped that the Lord would help Putin “in performing the high task God gave him.” The patriarch also praised the prime minister for the way he managed the economic crisis, which has had a greater impact in Russia than elsewhere in the world.

Christian influence penetrates the Russian Military

Interfax of Moscow reported Patriarch Kirill head of Moscow and All Russia Orthodox Church in a speech to Strategic Missile Forces Academy in Moscow said “that in last ten years many garrison churches and Sunday schools have opened in secret military towns of Russia”

Patriarch Kirill Patriarch at a special ceremony awarded the Special Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) a pennant with the image of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara, the heavenly protector of the branch. The Patriarch conveyed the award to Lieutenant General Andrey Shvaichenko, RVSN Commander, at the Peter the Great Strategic Missile Forces Academy in Moscow on Tuesday when opening the conference dedicated the Academy’s jubilee.

Infax reported also that the Patriarch, speaking of Russia’s nuclear arsenal “is convinced “such dangerous weapon can be given only to clean hands –hands of people with clear mind, ardent love to Motherland, responsibility for their work before God and people.”

He believes it is not by chance that systematic cooperation of the Russian Church with the Russian Armed Forces started with the Strategic Missile Forces in early 1990s.

Not a big tent in Russia - Restrictions on Evangelical Christians

Funding to restore Christian sites and the return of properties seized from the Church in Soviet times are but the latest gift of the Kremlin to the Patriarchate. This year, the Russia Justice Ministry will present plans to amend the laws on “Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organisations”, which, if approved, would severely restrict the activities of certain religious communities, like Evangelical Christians. In addition, the authorities plan to add religious education in public schools as well as chaplains paid by the state to the armed forces. It also appears possible that the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow will be granted the right to vet parliamentary bills before they go to the Duma.

Is the Russian Government building a more Christian society? Perhaps. But try telling that to your buddies at Church this Sunday.

Read the whole story at Ministry Values


Constantine said...

Thank you Sophocles, encouraging news.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with your opinion,Please visit Russia and other post-communist countries or read statistics in the Eastern Europe to say something about religious life.Russian are very a-religious people(see statistics-,attendance,Christian values in the everyday life,religion at school),bolshevik revolution destroyed completely the religious base of the Russian nation,better was and is the situation in Ukraine-where religion was and is more vibrant and has some impact on the life o the ordinary people.
Russian government use Orthodoxy only as a obe aspect of the Russian national identity without any deep religious aspects.
The abuse of Orthodoxyby politics has always negative points.Look at the history of Russia-why the people attacked churches after the bolshevik revolution.Church was seen as a political tool of the czarist state.
And now this incorporation into the state has many negative points.
Church have responsibility for political mistakes of the government,other nations see Orthodoxy only as a Russian tool to dominate other nations.
Let's see reality and stop living in the dreamtime of non-existing Holy Orthodox Russia-this was and is only a artificial structure .

Dixie said...

Look at the history of Russia-why the people attacked churches after the bolshevik revolution.Church was seen as a political tool of the czarist state.

Something to be said for separation of church and state, after all.

I don't know much about Russia but there are aspects of this that make me uneasy. I think it is great that the government restores the things damaged because of it but leadership can be calculating and manipulative. It would be terrible for the faith of the Russian people if history repeated itself. Maybe I am too Amercian...or maybe history has lessons still to teach.

Sophocles said...


There are several components to your comment which I think need addressing.

True, the people during and after the Bolshevik Revolution attacked the Christian Church. What I don't believe you are taking into account here is that the revolutionary spirit in Russia during this time was a revolutionary spirit that had gripped the world for some time and I believe it was(and is) a movement away from the old bulwarks of societies built on the Christian Empire which was instituted with the conversion of the pagan Roman Empire to the Orthodox Catholic Faith.

Russia, of course, after the fall of Constantinople, in some real sense continued on as the premier Orthodox Empire of the world and that came to an end with the successful Bolshevik Revolution.

Now having said that, in regards to your statement as to,

why the people attacked churches after the bolshevik revolution.Church was seen as a political tool of the czarist state.

I believe a good case can be made that inflaming the passions of mobs of people with "the winds of change and revolution" is not that hard a thing to do if given the right circumstances.

I can only view our own current society in our nation and not help but notice a very angry undercurrent running rampant that would seem to be getting stronger.

I don't think it a stretch to believe that it is impossible that such a revolution could not happen here. In one sense, reading history, I would even say that it be impossible that the relative stability we are accustomed to in governance in our nation be something that can be sustained indefinitely given that as Orthodox we are well aware of the fallen world we live in and the corruption that is attached to even the loftiest and most noble of any of our endeavors, governmnental or of whatever sort.

That is not to say that the Russian Empire at this time had not grown corrupt and was decaying from within. But communism, we must always remember was a Western import, not a native Russian ideal.

I do not know how much you believe in the possibility of a malevolent importation of the Revolution via communism into Russia but given some of the research I have done I do not think it wholly unlikely that the Russian Empire was hated not only by the native Russian Bolsheviks but was hated by many in the world at large perhaps because of her adherence to Orthodoxy and this adherence was seen as going counter to the "democratic" spirit spreading in the world and which continues in our own day.

As well, the case needs be made of how a person who is an Emperor images Christ, even if the Emperor be corrupt, and how in this person is seen by the society the sum stability and residual grace of leadership which can only come from God.

I say this, eschatologically speaking, that it would seem that the removal of such a person be necessary to give the "New Person and Humanity" free reign to grow and develop unrestrained by the ideologies and temperments of the "Old Person and Humanity".

Sophocles said...


Anonymous and Dixie,

(I should have addressed you as well above, Rosemarie, but as I was viewing both your comments I wasn't sure how to approach answering you both on several of the separate issues you both raise. But as my answer continues now, I see how intertwined my answer is with both of your comments)

Now, I think your point about the Russian people being a-religious, to a degree, is a valid one.

As I read the article, it seems to me to be merely raising the questionof whether Russia may just well be more "Christian" than America.

Of course the article does not go into any pains to define Christianity at all.

In other words, the Christianity of Russia(Orthodoxy-with its attendant worldview and ethos) and American Christianity(Protestant Christianity with its dominant current form,Evangelicalism-with its attendant worldview and ethos) are never compared. Nor does the article's author venture at all into the ontological realities entailed within each nation as the result of their respective Christianities.

Especially now, to more specifically address you, Dixie, we could very well "step out" from within our paradigm of government and viewing it thus perhaps arrive at the conclusion that the "separation of Church and State" in world history is a relatively new governmental principle. And we could, in fairness, begin to look around at ourselves as Americans, and begin to be asking ourselves if the fruits are really all that good in our day as they are getting riper.

We see religion under attack in our own land as never before but there is no one front to oppose such an attack as the fragmented Christian groups don't have anything close to an Orthodox ethos in which is embedded Tradition which confronts falsity at all levels.

I would like to ask as well, how does one go about and "Christianize" or in this case, "re-Christianize" a people? At what level should such an endeavor take place, if say, we believe that Orthodoxy is the Truth? What steps are necessary to bring the fullness of Orthodoxy back to an "a-religious" people?

This article seems only to be suggesting that such a thing is taking place, that there is a determined movement within Russia to bring about a "return" of sorts ot her roots but is not necessarily placing a value on American Christianity per se. The article seems to be attempting to alter the American perception of "atheist" Russia by suggesting that perhaps Russia is not so atheist after all as many Evangelicals such as Pat Robertson and John Hagee whom the article cites, say.

In fact the article's last sentence pretty much sums up this perception after comparing Obama's lack of Christmas church attendance and comparing it to Medvedev and Putin's frequent attendance of Divine Services.

As for the Russian peoples' faith, I think it safe to say that their Church has undergone a "Baptism of Blood", which produces the Saints and Martyrs, the fruit of the Church in this fallen world. In America, the Church has as yet not undrgone this Baptism.

Dixie said...

I can only view our own current society in our nation and not help but notice a very angry undercurrent running rampant that would seem to be getting stronger.

But if there is a revolution in this country do you think people will see the Church (or churches, as the case would be here) as puppets of the government and therefore subject suspicion and destruction? For me that is the difference...I don't think people will be burning down churches in the US because they think the churches are in cahoots with the ones the revolutionists despise. (I find that very scary, faith think the Church would be a pawn of a government that wasn't trustworthy.) Although they might burn them down for other housing goofy folks like Pat Robinson!

In Western Christian history we have seen what distrust in church can do...separation and schism at exponential rates.

This would make a far better discussion over a cup of coffee than in a com box!

Sophocles said...


Having been a part of the "underground" in my Punk days, I have a certain sensitivity to an alternative "listening" to the affairs of our world and of our nation.

I think what we've got on our hands in our society is a very artificially induced tranquility which can only be sustained as long as people can have their "drug of choice", so to speak. People are really anxious out there and listless. There is no real "Tradition" mooring our people to hold fast to anything really anymore, a real nihilism has beset us.

I know there are so many good people out there willing and ready to perform selfless and good acts at the drop of a hat. But I think that if the lights were to be turned off in any major American city, the brutality that would ensue is incalculable. Love is drying up. Rage is everywhere present and we are pumping it in so fast on so many levels that only the ascetical Tradition of the Church can address and combat it.

The understanding out there that "Christianity" is somehow an arm of "the Man", meant to keep the people down should not be underestimated. I don't know if in any of your happenstance encounters with people who think Christianity is moronic you have ever detected a real hate there. I mean, that given the right circumstances if we were in a different era or country this self same person would put one to death for their moronic "ideology". I have detected this and again I think the prevailing tranquility is in force because people still have all their "toys" and drugs to keep them tranquil. Remove that and I just don't know.

But you're right. This conversation would be much better had over a cup of good coffee. I'm saying alot that simply needs alot more unpacking to make its meaning more evident.