President Vladimir Putin Lends a Hand

Putin was the driving force behind the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia (the Moscow Patrirchate) and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). For nearly a hundred years an ugly rift has existed between them because communism reared its ugly head in Russia in the early 20th century. On Thursday, May 17th, the Feast day of the Ascension, this separation was ended.

This is Honolulu. What does this have to do with us? Well, tonight there will be no vespers at the Russian Orthodox parish, and tomorrow we will only have a lay service. Where’s the priest of the Russian Orthodox Community of Hawaii? In Russia, of course! This is an historical event that clergy from all over the world, if at all possible, would and did make every effort to attend.

Time Magazine reports the story as follows:

Putin’s Reunited Russian Church
by Yuri Zarakhovich/Moscow

The Russian Orthodox Church was torn in two by revolution and regicide, by the enmity between communism and capitalism, nearly a century of fulmination and hatred. That all formally ended on Thursday in Moscow. Thousands of the Russian Orthodox faithful — including several hundred who flew in from New York — lined up under heavy rain to get into the Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. There, they witnessed the restoration of the “Canonical Communion and Reunification” of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which claims more than 70 million adherents, and the U.S.-based Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR), which is believed to be 1.5 million strong. Many among the clergy and laity wept at the end of the 86 year-old schism brought about by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and the ensuing murder of the dethroned Tsar and the forced emigration of hundred thousands Russians defeated in Civil war.

This story of course goes on to talk about how Putin has only political reasons for this, but just to watch a man of this political stature cross himself in an Orthodox manner is something to behold! To view the entire service you can go here. Thank you to Reader Nectarios for that link.

Political Science major, Zachary Williams, on his blog at otium cum dignitate does a much better job of painting a background for this article than I can. Much of Zachary’s feelings mirror my own. There were many people in favor of this reunification and many people against it. I can see both sides since they both have very good cases for their positions.

Zachary can correct me if I’m wrong but I think that, for most Americans, being Orthodox is not about ethnicity — it’s all about the truth of Faith and the Church’s preservation and adherence to that Faith. Anyway, I digress. This is just another historic moment that Honolulu has some, albeit very small, amount of participation in, or is impacted by, the events of world history.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 skeet // May 21, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I don’t have even a tenuous connection to this event, yet I can appreciate what a giant stride forward it could represent for the country as well as the church. Now if we could just spread the logic to the Middle East …

  • 2 Evelyn // May 21, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    That, skeet, is the understatement of the year. Logic, however, is not easy to come by these days, especially in the warring parts of the world. Thank you for your visit and for your comment. I just love a logical and intelligent mind!

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