05/11/2020, 11.50
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Moscow: Putin and Kirill, patriotism and theology on Victory Day

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Putin: No to a "rancid and moldy" patriotism, but "to dedicate yourself to the development of your country". Kirill: "The heroic commitment to serve and help each other, as the soldiers on the battlefield of the Great Patriotic War did." The Orthodox faith in Stalin's time and in the struggle against Nazism. Death continues due to coronavirus in the clergy of the Orthodox church.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – During the  Victory Day commemorations, devoid of parades and processions, President Vladimir Putin and the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev) intervened to clarify the true concept of love of country, the great "national idea" of Russia.

In his direct and "popular" language, Putin spoke on the TV channel Rossija, explaining that patriotism "must not be cheap, it must not be rancid and moldy ... Patriotism consists in dedicating oneself to the development of one's country, contributing to its progress ". Criticizing the nostalgic excesses, the president stressed that "we must not only recall our heroic past all the time, we must look to our no less heroic and victorious future, in this there is the promise of success".

On May 9, in the church of St. Alexander Nevsky in Peredelkino, where he is still in solitary confinement in the patriarchal villa, Kirill celebrated a funeral liturgy in honor of the fallen in what the Russians call the "Great Patriotic War" against Nazism.

In the homily, Kirill indicated the war heroes as models of Christian charity towards others: “Today's funeral prayer is combined with prayer for our homeland, so that the Lord will protect our people and our country from internal and external enemies. May he strengthen us in the heroic commitment to serve and help each other, as did the soldiers on the battlefield of the Great Patriotic War. "

The head of the Russian Church hoped that everyone will be able to express such love of neighbor "not only in extreme conditions, but also in normal and even comfortable conditions of modern life". In particular, Kirill invited people to pray that “the Lord protect us all from the terrible epidemic that came upon us in this jubilee year of the 75 years of Victory, taking many lives. Perhaps the memory of the great war heroes will help us to be more courageous in the face of this aggression, remembering that we must not think only of our personal life, but also of the life of those we have next to us, according to the example of the soldiers of the Patriotic War " .

Many comment on the patriarch's expressions as a form of "theology of victory", which combines faith with "the strength of arms and the talent of the supreme leader" ("for the homeland and for Stalin").

After the liturgy, the patriarch went to Moscow to lay a bouquet of red roses, at the foot of the heroes' "eternal flame" in Victory park (photo 1).

In a speech for the occasion, Kirill recalled how the war made it possible to revive the Orthodox faith in the Soviet people, helping victory: "during the war something very important happened; we had entered the war with destroyed churches and closed monasteries, but the war started, and it was as if there hadn't been all those terrible years of persecution. People stopped being ashamed, and making the sign of the cross launched themselves into the attack of the enemy, in the name of God. "

Following the German invasion of 1941 Stalin put the Orthodox Church back on its feet, precisely in order to support the patriotic ideal, which was not contemplated in the "internationalist" theory of Leninist communism.

In the trenches - Kirill recalled - Orthodox prayers were recited, in particular Psalm 90, "Who lives in the shelter of the Most High", and he invited faithful to repeat it in these days of pandemic.

Patriotic theology requires us to celebrate victory "with tears in our eyes", by virtue of the great sufferings that the Russian people have been able to endure in its history, in ancient times (the Tatar yoke, the "turbid" Poles) and in modern ones (Napoleon, Hitler): the hope is that the victims of the pandemic are not as numerous as those (in the millions) of the great victories.

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to count the victims of the virus. Another well-known parish priest from Moscow died on 9 May, the 69 year-old protoierej Vladimir Bushuev (photo 3) of the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God in the large district of Ismailovo. Even the well-known father Dmitrij Smirnov, hospitalized on 7 May, is in a very serious condition, and doctors fear for his life.

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