Metropolitan Tikhon and the face of Orthodoxy today in the Crimea
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Recently transferred from Pskov, Putin's 'spiritual father' - the only counterbalance to Kirill's domination of the Moscow Patriarchate - exploits his position on the front line of the war front by also occupying the social networks with his charismatic profile.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The new pastor of the Crimean metropolis, Tikhon (Ševkunov), recently transferred from Pskov "in exile" as he himself had commented, is taking charge of the fate of the sacred peninsula under attack by the Ukrainian counter-offensive, pushing the local civil authorities to the margins.

The governor Sergej Aksenov himself paid tribute to him, stating that he had known him personally since 2014 (when Crimea was annexed by Russia) and that he considered him "one of the most well-known and authoritative bishops, an energetic, balanced and highly cultured man, a true patriot and statesman."

The “spiritual father of Putin”, who constitutes the only counterpart to Patriarch Kirill's (Gundjaev) domination of the Orthodox Church, now exploits the position of the front line of the war front, to which he was sent at the same time for punishment and promotion , arguing that "victory over Ukraine is indispensable for Russia", speaking daily in all the media in the region.

Aksenov praises "the enormous contribution of the Church to the realization of the many training and humanitarian projects, in support of the participants in the special military operation and members of their families", and in particular thanks "the military chaplains who often risk their lives to carry out their service in the hottest areas of conflict", of which Tikhon appears today to be the true tutelary deity.

Accentuating the tone of the war rhetoric, which he did not express explicitly from the Pskov headquarters, the new metropolitan of Crimea explains that "we do not need a victory over the Ukrainian people, but over that Nazism, fascism, over that system that hates humanity which was formed in a part of present-day Ukraine, only in one part, where people are of different backgrounds.”

Tikhon has committed all ecclesiastical forces in the field of training and education, to make the "anthropological doctrine" on which the motivation for the war is based deeper and more rooted: the Russians are the people of "moral and religious traditions" together with the “real Ukrainians”, while in the West of Ukraine and the world live degraded and immoral beings.

Being also an efficient administrator, the metropolitan has reviewed the economic balance sheet of the local Church, calling the clergy to order and transparency of accounts, to support the parishes most in difficulty.

Of the 327 churches in the metropolis, at least a third have been relieved of any diocesan tax, and an economic affairs council has been formed with the task of making a complete inventory of properties, and an analysis of financial needs, knowing that it has its share many sources of support from Russian oligarchs and institutions.

Shevkunov's overwhelming personality, far more charismatic than Patriarch Gundjaev himself, is also occupying the spaces of Crimean social networks, which are therefore rapidly spreading throughout Russia.

Presentations of his most recent books are going around, last year's book Your Resurrection on the experience of the new life of the Christian, which overcomes every shadow of reality's death even in times of war, and above all the one just presented right after arriving in Simferopol, The collapse of the empire.

The "imperial" theme is the one on which the metropolitan has always worked, and which he has already commented on on various occasions, including with cinematographic works. The latest publication returns to the events of the 1917 revolution, using unpublished archival materials and sources and re-read by him thanks to his exclusive access to these texts.

Explaining the reasons for the end of the monarchy, Tikhon illuminates the future of Russia of the new empire which must arise from local and universal conflicts, teaching everyone the Putinian gospel from the chair on which, according to ancient legends and traditions, the apostle Andrew and Pope Clement Romanus, and where Prince Vladimir of Kiev was baptized.