Russian Orthodox Church leader appears to be a ‘little copy of Putin’, some say

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Recently, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, blessed Russian soldiers invading Ukraine in a lavish service.

Kirill said: “We have to be very strong. When I say ‘we’ I mean first and foremost the armed forces.”

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

Kirill’s support for Vladimir Putin’s violent and bloody campaign against Ukraine angers the Orthodox Christian world.

Insiders say this supposed man of God is a more powerful politician than a priest.

Patriarch Kirill restructured the church to be more autocratic, in line with Putin’s vision of recreating Imperial Russia.

“It’s a little copy of Putin,” said Sergei Chapnin, former deputy editor of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing House. “He’s a kind of Putin oligarch and he lives like the oligarchs,” he added.

PUTIN’S WAR ON UKRAINE HAS RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL FOUNDATIONS

Chapnin, theologian and journalist, worked with Kirill for 15 years in the Moscow Orthodox Church. He said once Kirill rose to the highest rank of patriarch 13 years ago, he changed.

“I would say Metropolitan Kirill and Patriarch Kirill – actually [they] are two different people. And it’s [a] really striking change with him after his election.”

Patriarch Kirill restructured the church to be more autocratic, in line with Putin’s vision of recreating Imperial Russia.

The key to this vision is to bring back into the fold the birthplace of the Russian church: kyiv, Ukraine,

In this image, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Cyril delivers the Christmas liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, January 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Chapnin said Kirill uses “religious language for political reasons”.

Dr. George Demacopoulos agreed with this. Demacopoulos is co-director of the Center for Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York. He said Kirill’s support for the war was about Russia’s spiritual roots.

Kirill justifies his support for the invasion of Ukraine by calling it a pushback against Western decadence and liberalism, said. Demacopoulos

Demacopoulos said Putin wanted to ‘bring Russia, Belarus and Ukraine together, largely because the origins of Russian identity begin with the baptism of Prince Vladimir in the 10th century – and it happened in Kyiv’ .

The centuries-old Russian Orthodox Church survived Soviet-era communism and the country’s official atheist religion. He was heavily infiltrated by the KGB, the Soviet Union’s dreaded security agency.

Candles burn during a Russian Orthodox service at Christ the Redeemer Parish on February 27, 2022.

Candles burn during a Russian Orthodox service at Christ the Redeemer Parish on February 27, 2022.
(Uli Deck/photo alliance via Getty Images)

Kirill’s connection, if any, is unclear. But his life as a priest was heavily influenced by Kremlin propaganda.

After the Soviet collapse in 1991, the church rose to power promoting conservative values ​​such as traditional marriage and gender roles.

Demacopoulos said Kirill justifies his support for invading Ukraine by calling it a pushback against Western decadence and liberalism. “The violence Putin is unleashing in Ukraine is designed to protect Russian speakers from the godless West,” Demacopoulos said.

Oleg Mezhiritsky stands outside his house, recently damaged after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Oleg Mezhiritsky stands outside his house, recently damaged after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
(AP/Felipe Dana)

Church watchers say Putin sees himself as the defender of Orthodox Christianity. But his faith is less about the gospel of Jesus Christ — and more about maintaining power over an institution that is larger than even Russia itself.

Demacopoulos said: “Putin is not a true believer. Putin is an instrumentalist of religion.”

The end result of Kirill’s support for Putin’s war is that he will likely diminish his power in the Orthodox world.

In this file image, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill on the 13th anniversary of his enthronement in Moscow, Russia February 1, 2022.

In this file image, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill on the 13th anniversary of his enthronement in Moscow, Russia February 1, 2022.
(Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Many parishes that were once aligned with Moscow before the war are now moving away from Kirill and moving towards alignment with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

OAR SUNDAY IS THE BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK FOR CHRISTIANS

And many Orthodox theologians are engaged in a spiritual battle against Kirill.

“We urge all to whom this statement relates to return to ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Ephesians 4:3).”

Last month they created a “statement” condemning the Russian church and Kirill’s complicity in the ideology called “Russian World” or “Russkii Mir”, which is the propaganda behind justifying the war.

So far, more than 1,300 clergy and theologians have signed it.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The statement ends with a plea: “We implore all whom this statement concerns to return to ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Ephesians 4:3).”

Comments are closed.