Christian Patriarch speaks of ‘unique phenomenon’ in Russia
A revival of traditional Christian values in Russia is a “unique phenomenon,” the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said over the weekend, warning that the West has set a course for “expelling God from their lives.”
The patriarch was speaking at a newly-built church in Russia’s Siberian city of Tobolsk. The fact that an increasing number of new churches are being built in Russia shows that the nation is going through a “spiritual revival,” he said, calling the new places of worship “an answer to the people’s faith.”
“What’s happening now in Russia is a unique phenomenon,” the patriarch claimed, pointing to the fact that churches in Europe are being “closed” or “turned into restaurants, cafes or dance floors.” Patriarch Kirill then blamed such developments on the policies of Western nations that are “forcefully destroying Christian values.”
These God-denying nations are still looking down on Russia and “seek to teach us,” the patriarch said, adding that “they are almost ready to take up arms” to remake Russia in their image. Russia will simply never follow in their footsteps, Kirill said, adding that doing so would mean provoking a spiritual and moral crisis.
The Western authorities claim “there is no God but only an individual’s freedom,” the patriarch said, adding that this “denial of God has led to the deepest spiritual and moral crisis.” The Russian Orthodox Church judges no one, Kirill said, adding that everyone is free to live as they wish. He still warned that “a life without God is a path to nowhere.”
Earlier, the Russian Orthodox Church repeatedly expressed its concerns over what it called a crackdown on Orthodox Christians in Ukraine at the hands of the Kiev authorities, supported by the West. In March, Patriarch Kirill called on Christian leaders of various denominations and international organizations to do something about “a sharp increase in state pressure on Orthodox Christians in Ukraine.”
In the wake of this appeal, Pope Francis voiced concern over the situation in the Kiev Pechersk Lavra monastery, where Ukrainian authorities sought to expel monks belonging to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC). He also urged the “warring parties to respect religious places.”