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"Conversion of Russia" Update:

The P... Riot Affair:
What's Beneath the Appearances?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
September 14, 2012

Viewed superficially, the jail sentence of three impudent feminist protesters who invaded an Orthodox cathedral in Moscow and offered a mock prayer to the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin is what they deserve. Look beneath the surface, however, and you will find something quite different from just retribution for a public sacrilege.

First there is the length of the sentence: two years in prison for a momentary act that caused no property damage or physical harm to anyone? One can hardly object to the idea of some just punishment for desecrating the cathedral with a stupid and obnoxious political protest. But two years of hard time in a Moscow prison seems over the top.

Why such a harsh sentence? The answer is that this was not a protest against Russian Orthodoxy as such — the protesters hardly came to the cathedral to mock religion for the sake of mocking religion. Rather, this was a protest against the regime of Valdimir Putin, the neo-Stalinist dictator of Russia.

The stated reason for the protest in the cathedral should be familiar to those who have some knowledge of the history of Russian Orthodoxy since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 predicted by Our Lady of Fatima: the Russian Orthodox Church has been made an instrument of Kremlin policy, which is anything but Christian.

As the Wikipedia entry on the affair rightly observes: "Growing ties between church and state in Russia have been a target of criticism and protest. The Russian Patriarch, Kirill, had openly supported Putin's 2012 re-election, calling Putin a 'miracle from God,' who had 'rectified the crooked path of history.' After the cathedral performance, members of P... Riot said the church is a 'weapon in a dirty election campaign' and called Putin 'a man who is as far as can be from God's truth.'"

Their indefensible conduct aside, don't the protesters have a point? Putin is no pious member of the Orthodox Church but a womanizing autocrat who does not even live with his wife. Surrounded by luxury and the trappings of power, he has systematically eliminated all serious political opposition by means draconian legislation, trumped-up criminal prosecutions, and even assassination.

Are we not witnessing anew the Sergian Adaptation of the Russian Orthodox Church according to which it has become an arm of Putin's Kremlin just as it was an arm of Stalin's Kremlin? As I have noted elsewhere (in a contribution to The Devil's Final Battle), the Orthodox "Adaptation" began officially when the Metropolitan Sergius of the Russian Orthodox Church published an "Appeal" in Isvestia on August 19, 1927. The Appeal of Sergius, as it came to be known, "set forth a new basis for the activity of the Russian Orthodox Church." The Russian layman Boris Talantov described this as "an Adaptation to the atheistic reality of the U.S.S.R." The Adaptation, I noted then, required an agreement on the part of Orthodox clerics — under penalty of death or imprisonment — not to criticize the official ideology of the Soviet Union under Stalin. Any opposition by the Russian Orthodox Church to the Soviet regime would, I wrote, "henceforth be considered a deviation from pure religious activity and a form of counter-revolution which was no longer to be permitted or countenanced."

Today, instead of Metropolitan Sergius calling for an adaptation of the Orthodox Church to Stalinism, we have Patriarch Kirill calling for an adaptation of the Orthodox Church to Putinism — to the cult of Putin, a "miracle of God" who has "rectified the crooked path of history." Once again the Orthodox Church serves as the lapdog of the Russian state. There will not be the slightest opposition to Putin's policies from the Russian Orthodox hierarchy. On the contrary, the Orthodox Church will serve Putin's policies at every step of the way.

The instrumentalization of Russian Orthodoxy by the Kremlin once again, not a simple hatred of religion as such, is what brought those three protesters to the cathedral that day to engage in their vulgar antics. And that fact — not any offense to religion in itself — is why they will spend the next two years in one of Putin's prisons.