11/26/2019, 14.37
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"Destructology": Orthodox Church’s battle against sects

by Vladimir Rozanskij

A manual published on the destructive phenomena of sects, from advertising, to money fraud, even to terrorism. Alliance between the Ministry of Education and the Moscow Patriarchate. Magic and occultism, as well as suicide games, extreme diets, medicinal dissent all targeted. But also Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptist Evangelicals, Pentecostals.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The first manual on "destrucology" was presented in recent days in Russia. Its author, Roman Silant’ev (photo 2), published the contents of this new science in an interview with Intefax-Religija. This is the study of "destructive formation" in the religious and social field, a danger denounced by the Orthodox in the last 30 years, after the end of communism.

The fight against sectarian extremism, in the inter-Christian and interreligious field, is one of the most urgent concerns of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is why it has insisted on a law that prohibits "unregistered" activities, such as preaching in the street and in homes, typical of movements such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptist or Pentecostal evangelicals. Now there is also the new scientific discipline, "destructivism", which deals with the study of sects and their influence on people and society.

According to Silantiev, for some years now the science of destructology has been the subject of specific elaboration in various Russian universities, in particular at the Lomonosov University in Moscow, the oldest and most important in the whole country, where the Orthodox Church has important ties. The rector of the university, Viktor Sadovnichij, has just been re-elected for the fifth term, not without controversy, precisely because of his state and ecclesiastical protection.

The new discipline is officially sponsored by the Russian Ministry of Public Education, as a means to prevent religious extremism and terrorism; the greatest exponents of the patriarchate of Moscow, such as Patriarch Kirill (Gundjaev) and Metropolitan Ilarion (Alfeev) have been calling for the support of specialists in the study of the most controversial religions and communities in the country for years. Professors in charge of studying the issue include doctors and psychiatrists, who were asked to examine the symptoms of "destructive" phenomena.

According to Silant'ev’s manual, destructive ideologies are expressed in various forms, both explicitly organizational ones, and in the different variants of sub-culture, fake science, forms of entertainment and even games disseminated by information technology and the press. Any form of propaganda that ruins a person’s psyche, attacks the institution of the traditional family or foments social conflict at various levels is termed "destructive".

The activity of destructive groups goes from advertising to misleading trade, to real terrorism, according to a scheme defined in four levels: 1) loss of time and money in psycho-cults, in the sects for commercial purposes and in pseudo organizations -sportive; 2) loss of health in totalitarian sects and in the sphere of services of magic and occultism; 3) the effects listed up to self-destruction (suicide games, extreme diets, medicinal dissent), and finally 4) the threat to the surrounding environment up to the actual terrorism.


For Silantiev, the new science has become necessary in recent times for the growth of anti-sectarian organizations, often more unbalanced and dangerous than the sects themselves, in a race for consciences. Therefore, an objective authority is needed, supported by the State and by the Church itself. It is therefore not a generic study of religious phenomena, but a specific attention to the realities that put society at risk.

In the interview he points to the still very intense activity of ISIS in Russia, which continues to recruit possible militants, and the very particular phenomenon of the tendency to mass slaughter, called the "Columbine sub-culture", in reference to the massacre of 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, which would have several followers also in Russia. The young people who in Russia are trying to attack the life of comrades and professors, with several tragic episodes in recent years, are reportedly exponents of a sect called "necro-communist", whose members consider themselves citizens of the now defunct USSR, and attack the "non-citizens" of today's society who deny the greatness of Soviet communism.

The author also lists several religious sects, such as Pentecostals and Orthodox heretics, followers of saints more or less tied to the Church. There are also "Koranist" Muslim heretics, who deny traditional Muslim doctrine and propose a complete revision of it, in sharp contrast with the Russian Islamic authorities. Indeed the official Muslims of Russia, moreover, support the new "destructive" science no less than the exponents of the Orthodox Church.

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