03/07/2018, 11.04
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Patriarch Kirill is pessimistic about dialogue with Protestants. 'Foreign interference' for young Russians

by Vladimir Rozanskij

According to the head of Russian orthodoxy, the Protestant Churches are dominated by secular ideologies that include "changing relations between the sexes", "support for homosexual unions, and so on". On the internet, sports, "pseudo-ecological" topics, radical feminist ideologies, and LGBT rights are targeting Russian youth to drag them towards populist and anticlerical anarchism.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - In the coming years, the theological dialogue between Orthodox and Protestants have few prospects for development according to Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundjaev). In an interview with the press in Bulgaria, where he is on an official visit and which was picked up by Tass agency, the patriarch said: "Unfortunately, on the theological level we are at a standstill. I do not see any real positive development in the next few years, but it is not the fault of the Orthodox. We always tell our Protestant brothers that we must be freer, have more strength and ability to say 'no' to the powerful of the world ".

According to the Russian Orthodox leader, throughout their history, the Churches in Europe have been dependent on secular power: "The Protestant Churches - underlined Kirill - have always followed the current of secular thought, and have always been very subservient to influence of secular power. Even today, liberal tendencies in Protestant theology are the result of the pressure of secularist ideologies on theologians and churches, starting from human rights and the freedoms that presuppose the change in relations between the sexes, from support to homosexual unions, and so on".

He also said that practical collaboration between Christians in Russia and the countries is only possible in the humanitarian and cultural sphere: "As far as practical cooperation is concerned, we have a good experience. I see that there remains ample space, above all, for joint action in the field of humanitarian aid and culture. Today an important dialogue is developing in the humanitarian collaboration for Syria. Furthermore, religions have always played an important role in culture, and cultural dialogue between our Churches could help to establish a greater mutual understanding between men ", added the patriarch.

Russian Orthodox defenders of faith and peoples

During the visit to Bulgaria, the head of the Russian Church also caused a stir because of the statements made during the homily of last Sunday, March 4, as part of the celebrations for the 140th anniversary of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman slavery in 1878. Contesting the official reconstructions of Bulgarian historians, taken in the declarations of President Rumen Radev, Kirill recalled that only the Russians came to the aid of their Slavic brothers, not  the Poles, Rumanians, Finns, Latvians or others, "pouring the blood of thousands of Russian soldiers ... Russia did not seek Europe; moved by love for her brothers in faith, without the help of anyone, she threw herself into the struggle. It is a great example of how cultural and spiritual solidarity can overcome political pragmatism ". On the patriarch’s departure from Sofia airport, the Bulgarian president tried to justify himself, explaining that he spoke of the peoples who helped form the Russian army, but received a fresh rebuke from the head of the Russian Orthodox.

With these statements, Patriarch Kirill seems to want to position himself at the center of the inter-ecclesial and inter-ethnic relations of the Christian peoples, supporting on the one hand a new form of "practical ecumenism", on the other hand pointing out the reasons for the historical-cultural divergences. In his vision, Russia has always tried to defend itself as the " holder of the true faith" in the various conflicts and transformations of the peoples of Christian Europe, and even today seeks to stand as a bastion in the face of new attacks of post-modern secularization.

Russian sovereignty threatened on the internet

At the same time Kirill is trying to recover his own authority even within Russia, where politics, with the support of some fundamentalist sectors of the ecclesiastical world, seems to go beyond the Church itself in the defense of "Orthodox values".

In recent days, for example, the Commission for the Defense of National Sovereignty at the Federal Council (the Russian Senate), has submitted a confidential report on the negative influence of the West on Russian youth. The Commission has proposed to elaborate a "sovereign assessment" on the basis of a possible bill, with the aim of "preventing the politicization of the sport of excellence" and other forms of foreign interference on the ideals of young people. In the secret part of the report there would be evidence of foreign interference in the Russian elections, through the channels most accessible to young people. Not surprisingly, in recent weeks there has been an increasingly insistent talk of a "Russian Internet leak", with the creation of a "sovereign" network that would already be active in the public administration of the country.

According to experts from the Russian Senate, the US in particular and its more traditional allies also from the "countries of the south", unduly stimulate the problematic situations of Russia in the context of inter-ethnic and inter-confessional relations, “to purposefully transform  them into tools to weaken national political systems, with the creation of scenarios such as colored revolutions and other forms of coups d'état ".

In addition to using sports passions in a political way, as was the case at the Winter Olympics in Korea, strategies are developed by the West that touch on "pseudo-ecological" arguments against Russia, along with radical feminist ideologies, LGBT rights, forms of populist anarchism and anticlericalism. For this reason, the Russian Senate intends to defend Russian "sovereignty" in the face of every enemy, above all to protect the youth.

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