Is Russia more Christian than the US? Vladimir Putin might just say, Yes!

by 1389 on March 14, 2014

in 1389 (blog admin), Orthodox Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Russia

Absolutely no question about that whatsoever.

From a Protestant source not entirely friendly to Orthodox Christianity:

Is Russian leadership more Christian than leadership in the US? Is the Russian Government more Christian than George Bush or Obama ever imagined the US might be? The answer to both questions is Yes, and thanks to born-again Christians, Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, Christian influence in matters of state is rapidly on the rise in Russia. Let’s look at the facts.

Reported some time ago in the New York Times is that Vladimir Putin invokes God emphatically and certainly intentionally. Putin is quoted as saying that “[we] are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

In 2012 US President Barack Obama skipped church services on Christmas Day. On January 6, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended Midnight Mass, celebrating the Russian Orthodox Christmas in Saint Christ the Savior Cathedral in the presence of four thousand people, including Russian Patriarch Kirill. (The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas using the Julian calendar, which is 13 days “behind” today’s Western Gregorian calendar.)

While Russian leaders were attending Church services, halfway around the world Chicago Tribune reporters were writing about Obama’s troubles finding a church for his family stating, “But as [Obama’s] fellow Christians around the world attended Christmas services on Wednesday and Thursday, [Obama] and his family remained sequestered at their vacation compound on the windward coast of Oahu. His lack of attendance at formal religious services showcased a dilemma faced by Obama, who is between churches and often expresses concern about bringing the disruption of his security detail into the lives of others.” According to the article, President Barack Obama has not attended a public church service since his election.

So What? you say. Well, today Russia is investing $100 million to rebuild churches throughout the country. Money to rebuild these houses of worship is coming from Russian taxpayers. Such a thing is unthinkable today in the US, of course. Imagine US media reaction if President Obama were to decide to invest $100 million US taxpayer dollars in such projects. Here in the US there would be certain outrage, yet Russian citizens are supportive of such investment in their country.

Russia’s turn to Christianity is virtually unknown in the US. Many Christian leaders are oblivious to what is happening in Russia. Pastors Pat Robertson and John Hagee still believe Russia is an atheist, Communist country and these prominent End-Times Christian pastors are raising money and rattling their sabers to go to war against the Godless state.

But the reality is that Russia is indeed rebuilding churches with taxpayer funds. At is this: In addition to the formal exchange of wishes and thanks with the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Russian government gave the Christian Church a dramatic Christmas gift. Meeting with the patriarch at the Danilov Monastery, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the government would provide almost $100 million US dollars (RUB 2 billion) to restore holy sites, monasteries, and churches destroyed during last century’s atheist drive by the Soviet Union against religion. He also said that the Novodevichy Convent, one of most beautiful and important in the country, would be given back to the Patriarchate.

Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedeve go to Church frequently, kiss precious icons of the Virgin Mary, and seek political and moral counsel from the Russian Orthodox Clergy.

Further to the surprise of many Americans, particularly Evangelical Christians, Vladimir Putin carries a Christian cross with him at all times. During a Larry King Live interview, Putin told King that “[Putin] was surprised completely when one of the workers, just muddling through those ashes of the remnants, found that cross intact. And the house fell, that was a surprise, a revelation, and therefore I always now keep [the cross] with me.” Vladimir Putin has frequently praised the Christian Russian Orthodox Church for “educating citizens in a spirit of patriotism and love of country, passing on love for spiritual values and history.” For his part, Russian Patriarch Kirill said that he hoped that the Lord would help Putin “in performing the high task God gave him.” Kirill also praised the prime minister for the way Putin managed the economic crisis, which has had a greater impact in Russia than elsewhere in the world.

Christian influence penetrates the Russian Military 

Interfax of Moscow reported that Patriarch Kirill, head of Moscow’s and of all Russia Orthodox Churches, said in a speech to Strategic Missile Forces Academy in Moscow “…that in the last ten years many garrison churches and Sunday schools have opened in secret military towns of Russia.” At a special ceremony, Patriarch Kirill awarded the Special Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) a pennant with the image of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara, the heavenly protector of the branch. The Patriarch conveyed the award to RVSN Commander Lieutenant General Andrei Shvaichenko at the Peter the Great Strategic Missile Forces Academy in Moscow.

Interfax further reported that Patriarch Kirill, speaking of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, is convinced “such dangerous weapons can be given only to clean hands—hands of people with clear minds, ardent love to Motherland, responsibility for their work before God and people.” He believes it is not by chance that systematic cooperation between the Russian Church and the Russian Armed Forces started with the Strategic Missile Forces in the early 1990s.

Not a big tent in Russia – Restrictions on Evangelical Christians

Funding to restore Christian sites and the return of properties seized from the Church in Soviet times are but the latest gift of the Kremlin to the Patriarchate. This year, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation will present plans to amend the laws on “Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations,” which if approved would severely restrict the activities of certain religious communities, like Evangelical Christians. In addition, the authorities plan to add religious education in public schools as well as chaplains paid by the state to the armed forces. It also appears possible that the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow will be granted the right to vet parliamentary bills before they go to the Duma.

Is the Russian Government building a more Christian society? Perhaps. But try telling that to your fellow worshipers at services this upcoming weekend.

“But try telling that to your fellow worshipers at services this upcoming weekend.”

Not much of a problem for me. But then, I attend a Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR jurisdiction). My fellow parishioners would reply…

You don't say?

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: