Monday, January 8, 2024

Russian Church: Christianity is said to be cruel

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Russian Church: Christianity is said to be cruel Article by Kerstin Holm • 1 H. Religion of mercy: Priest Alexei Uminsky and journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitri Muratov at the memorial service for Mikhail Gorbachev. Ahead of Orthodox Christmas, the Russian Orthodox Church has removed two liberal Moscow priests. Shortly before the New Year, the 75-year-old clergyman Vladimir Lapshin was stripped of his leadership of the Church of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary in the city center. Lapshin was one of the last spiritual children of the charismatic Jewish priest Alexander Men, who converted many dissidents and intellectuals to Christianity during perestroika, advocated openness to other denominations and religions, and was murdered in 1990. In November, Lapshin led the funeral mass for another open-minded clergyman, Ivan Sviridov, who co-founded the Christian radio station “Sophia” in Moscow in the 1990s, which advocated dialogue between confessions, especially between Orthodox and Catholics. For this alone, the deceased deserved the kingdom of heaven, Father Vladimir said in his sermon. Lapschin explained that for reasons of age he had been made an honorary priest of his congregation, but was allowed to continue to celebrate services. At the weekend, priest Alexei Uminsky not only had his Trinity Church on Khokhlovsky Lane taken away from him, but he was also banned from holding church services. The 63-year-old Uminsky told the former editor-in-chief of the closed radio station Echo Moskvy, Alexei Venediktov, in November that none of the peoples involved in the current war would become better, smarter or nobler as a result of him. The priest recommended that believers who did not want to attend a church service where prayers were said for the “special military operation” and victory to look for clergy who did not want to strengthen the spirit of war, but who prayed for peace. No “Christian clemency” in Russia Uminski has repeatedly criticized the Orthodox Church's subservient spirit and encouraged it to defend people against state power. Father Alexei stood up for the imprisoned Memorial historian Yuri Dmitriyev, in 2019 he condemned the prison sentences imposed on protesters against Moscow election fraud, and in 2021 he called on the authorities to show "Christian clemency" towards the imprisoned Alexei Navalnyj and to appoint a doctor to let him. In 2022, Uminski supported a letter from priests against the Ukrainian war and visited political prisoner Vladimir Kara-Mursa in prison. In September 2022 he held the funeral mass for Mikhail Gorbachev. In the future, the Trinity Church will be led by the Lviv-born priest Andrei Tkachev, who reviles the religious life of his Ukrainian homeland because of its alleged forgetfulness of God and who moved to Moscow after the Maidan protests in 2014. The 52-year-old Tkachev described Gorbachev as a “sad figure” without faith or prayer and claimed that the funeral mass for him was actually not one because the deceased did not repent. For the community on Khokhlovsky Lane, whose name comes from the Ukrainians who traditionally settled here, Tkachev's appointment is a slap in the face. Uminski, who valued the Ukrainians, helped refugees and held peace services, is replaced by a clergyman whose theological education is considered inadequate, but who is all the more eager to promote the Ukrainian war on the Orthodox television channel “Spas” and for a divine religion that is close to Islam Christianity enforces laws when necessary through cruelty. Father Andrei called Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov a valuable part of Russian culture and called for continued bombing of Ukraine - but always to pray.