More “Corruption” in the Russian Orthodox Church

One of the more tiresome memes found in Progressive circles is the supposed “corruption” that is rampant within the Russian Orthodox Church. For politcal liberals and neocons, the love that the Russian church feels for its native land is abhorent; indeed, all forms of patriotism is viewed with disdain. They prefer instead that the Russian government truckle before the American State Department and its sexual-liberationist worldview rather than repair to the dictates of the Church. (The fact that Vladimir Putin stopped the pillaging of Russian resources by rapcious Wall Street vulture capitalists during his first tenure didn’t set well with them either.) That the whims of the moment won’t last is immaterial, what is more important is that the family be destroyed.

Anyway, it’s not only tiresome, it’s mendacious. The Russian Orthodox Church is serious about engaging the culture and helping it wherever it can. Please take the time to read this latest essay from Byzantine, TX. This is just one example of the creativity that can be unleashed in human beings if they are truly seeking God.

H/T: Byzantine, TX

The Doctor Voino-Yasenecky Saint Luka Train

(MSNBC) – The Doctor Voino-Yasenecky Saint Luka train serves as a free, mobile consultative and diagnostic medical center that carries medics and medical equipment yearly from the main regional city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia to distant settlements of the Krasnoyarsk and Khakassia regions in Siberia where hospitals and clinics are scarce. The train, named after outstanding Russian surgeon Valentin Voino-Yasenecky, an orthodox bishop and a Gulag prisoner, also has a carriage that operates as a mobile Orthodox church.

MSNBC) – An Orthodox priest talks to a woman in front of the church carriage of the Doctor Voino-Yasenecky Saint Luka train, a free mobile consultative and diagnostic medical center, on April 27 at a railway station in Zaozyorny, 81 miles east of Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

(MSNBC) – An Orthodox priest baptizes a family at the church aboard the Doctor Voino-Yasenecky Saint Luka train, a free and mobile medical center, at a railway station of the town of Zaozyorny, Russia on April 27. The train also has a carriage that operates as a mobile Orthodox church.

(MSNBC) – An Orthodox priest rings the bells on the church carriage of the Doctor Voino-Yasenecky Saint Luka train on April 27 during a stop in the Siberian town of Zaozyorny.

Comments

  1. The existence of this marvelous train reminds me that the “separation of church and state” is not an Orthodox concept. How could it be when our theology recognizes no distinction between the “secular” and the “religious” world? How can we transform the world if we are separated from it? The hidden flaw of our Constitution’s First Amendment is that it protects religion by isolating and marginalizing it.

  2. Michael Bauman says

    The First Amendmendment does not marginalize relgion in this country. It was designed to allow religion (specificlly Christianity) to florish without ANY federal government interference. At the time it was passed many of the original 13 states had established churches. It was proposed and passed to prevent any debate over a federally established church

    The Constitution holds nothing about separation of Church and State. Many of the authors of those documents specifically recognized the need for relgious faith and the importance of faith in creating and maintaining a self-governing people.

    It is the anti-religious interpretation of the courts at all levels, the intentional confusion of egalitarianism with equality before the law, the the mendacious seeking after along with the unholy alliance of most Chrisitan traditions with some form of political ideology rather than the Gospel.

    Such action was inevitable for Protestants, but wholly unacceptable for we Orthodox.

    Your statement, Alexander, just gives into the prevailing secular mind regarding the Constitutional position of religion in the United States. A position that is 100% wrong.

    • Beware the law of unintended consequences.

      I once planted a rose. My intent was to beautify a corner with its colorful and fragrent blooms.

      I did not mean to create an impassible barricade of needle sharp thorns.

      But a rose is what a rose is.

      Between what the Founding Fathers intended and what they achieved lies a vast chasm.

    • Ironic how liberals have commandeered the first amendment and conservatives the second, while each party bemoans the other’s misuse and abuse of our poor founding fathers. On the bright side, that leaves 8 of the original guaranteed rights for the common good. Thankfully Americans are only capable of applying binary models to complex issues, or one suspects we might be left with none.

      In the liberal mind, government trumps religion. In the conservative mind, guns trump government. When Jesus returns, religion will trump guns, and both sides of the isle will finally be able to come together for an invigorating game of rock, paper, scissors. At least I think that’s how it’s supposed to work — I’m just a little fuzzy on the timeline.

      • Monk James says

        Um was good here.

        As a student of language, I’ve always wondered why the abundantly clear and unmistakeably plain words of the first and second amendments to the american constitution are so badly misunderstood and manipulated, even twisted, to suit contrary points of view, and even then have their absurdities supported by a consistently dense judiciary in spite of the obvious meaning and intention of those amendments.

        This all feels like we’ve gone through the looking glass, and things aren’t at all what we reasonably thought they were.

        God help us, and God bless America.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Um, wrong again. Have you read the Bill of Rights lately? Have you paid any attention to what’s going on?

        The statists are assualting religious freedom (#1), religions speech (#1), peaceable assembly (#1), #2 (Right to keep and bear arms). In addition there is a long standing violation of the double jepordy clause of amendment #5 with regards to civil rights cases. The clearest example it the Rodney King case. The police officers were aquitted in state court then re-tried and convicted in a Federal Court of (despite the wording) the same crime.

        Amendments 9 & 10 are routinely violated and the expansion of eminent domain is a direct violation of the the just compensation for public use of property in #8

        We are left with (for now), #3, #4, #6, #7. Parts of #8 & #5 (in addition to the violation of double jeppordy, there is pressure on the self-incrimination clause by the requirements to submit DNA without a specific reason).

        That’s about half. The last to go will likely be #3-Forced quartering of troops in peacetime.

        Not to mention the continued abuse of the commerce clause in the main body of the Constitution by almost all federal legislation from both major parties.

        The only normal form of speech that is curtailed by statue these days is religious speech. The only form of religious speech that is curtailed (by and large) is Christian speech. In fact, for many, Chrisitan speech is now ‘hate’ speech. Porn, on the other hand, is given free reign. Unfortunately the 1st Amendment is without exception: “The Congress shall make NO LAW..

        Another interesting way around the religious freedom protection is licensing standards for vaious professions, most notibly at this time psychology. There have been folks who have been kicked out of graduate psychology programs or denined the required professional certificate to practice because of their Christian beliefs concering homosexuality. Since the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment extended the Bill of Rights to the States and their laws, such actions are clearly un-Constitutional, but they are allowed as the enforcement of ‘professional standards’.

        While Jesus Christ in the Church does indeed trump all, the ordering of our lives earthly lives and the consistency and the justice of the law is important.

        However, there is no justice before the law without a common cultural understanding of what is permissable and what is not. We have long ago lost that common understanding. Therefore the law has become a weapon against virtue in many cases, and legal proceedings have regressed to a form of trial by combat.

        • Jim of Olym says

          Again, Michael has it right. A number of years ago a PhD Psychologist was brought before the authorities here in Washington State, because he had told a client of his that he could not continue to counsel her if she went ahead with an abortion. He even gave her referrals to other therapists, but she brought him up on charges before the licensing board and he was fined a significant amount of money and ordered to practice for a year under the supervision of another psych. His name was published in the papers.

          Rdr. James Morgan

  3. Jim of Olym says

    I agree with Michael here. I doubt that there were many Orthodox Christians living on this continent when the Constitution was written (well, Alaska but they were Russian citizens then). considering the minority and sometimes invisible status of Orthodoxy even now I doubt that any of us would want to be under the thumb of the kind of people who populate the ‘National Day of Prayer’. Many evangelicals think we and the equally despised Catholics worship idols etc, and are not actually Christians.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Jim, as I am sure you know when the U.S. Government bought Alaska, the government sent a bunch of Protestant missionaries up there to ‘convert the heathen’, i.e. the faithful Orthodox of the land. In the process they decimated the first North American Orthodox Chrisitan culture and started the horrible degradation of the people in which alcoholism and proverty are the unfortunate norm.

      So much for ‘separation of church and state’.

      • Jim of Olym says

        If the ‘state’ is Presbyterian, I suppose they can get away with it.
        I recently heard that the Presbyterians had ‘apologized’ for the damage they did. water over the damn.

  4. Michael Bauman says

    Alexander, what they achieved was a state that was doomed to fail as all states are as this state has. It is no longer governed under the terms of the Constitution and has not been for a long time. The First Amendment has been twisted 180 degrees from its intent. The supposed separation of church and state that is now read into the Constitution is used to protect the state from the church. The amendment was designed to limit the power and authority of the federal government not allow the federal government to oppress and suppress any the Christian faith as it is now used.

    That is not the founders fault.

    • George Michalopulos says

      I agree. This is the fault of dangerous subsersives who got involved in legal and academic circles during the early 40s. Many of these people were rabidly anti-Christian and did what they could to try and divorce religiosity from the public arena.

  5. The “separation of church and state” as the Founders conceived it in the 1780s was all about preventing a federally-mandated state church a la CofE in the UK. That’s all. It had nothing to do with how it has been twisted since the mid-20th century so that, now, it is a vehicle for anti-religious actions by the state. The cross, believed in at least nominally by the vast majority of Americans still, despite decades of anti-Christian propaganda in culture and state, is being driven from public life (in my home state, there was recently news about local atheists petitioning to remove a cross from a war memorial that’s over a hundred years old – who, except the genuinely God-hating, has the time and energy for such things?).

    And our allies in most of this are Evangelicals who are mostly severely theologically impaired and view real Christians with unknowing contempt.

    Not good, not good at all. At the risk of seeming alarmist, Orthodox need to prepare for ugly times ahead. The devout remnants of the Catholics will go underground with us – maybe then, finally, we can overcome the ugliness between us for the last millennium.

    • Very well said, Sava. I know that there are serious Catholics who are prepared to go underground. And you’re right: we Orthodox do need to prepare for ugly times ahead.

      • …we Orthodox do need to prepare for ugly times ahead.

        I think most of us Orthodox are prepared for this by hundreds of years of Islamic oppression and the Communist plague of the 20th Century. I have my doubts if many of our Catholic brethren are ready for what is coming…

        I am more and more convinced, reading the news, that we are looking at really bad times ahead.. A great purge is upon us.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Joseph, I see that we agree largely. Let me point out where we disagree: the Islamic oppression was hurtful but the ancient patriarchates easily adapted to it, I’m afraid. Hence the term “dhimmi churches.” I for one have no doubt that these same patriarchates and their eparchies in the US would rather return to those days. For one, there’d be none of these pesky converts muddying up the waters. The Ottoman-imposed ecclesial regime became a gilded cage where unmanly men were richly rewarded.

          I know this sounds harsh, but look at the Leadership 100 crowd today in the US. They’re Americans and none have ever experienced privation or loss of religious liberty. Yet they still play along with the Phanariote games and kow-tow to Turkish presidents. It’s one thing for a Turkish citizen like Bartholomew to have to play along to get along, but it’s quite another for Greek Americans to do the same thing. We don’t have to, the Phanar does. Moral of the story? They don’t know any different? Or is it that they like the empty titles associated with the Archons and treating America like a colony.

          As for the Communist oppression, that was more overtly theomachist and made it very easy to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

          • StephenD says

            Very true statement. The Phanar needs America more than America needs the Phanar..

          • George, I don’t see where we disagree. I am speaking of the people and how they endured oppression by the Mohammedans. What I think of, especially modern day, dhimmi hierarchs you don’t want to see on these pages in print.
            It will be the faithful people, their godly priests and some saintly hierarchs who will be doing the suffering again. Never mind the consecrated political schmusers wearing brocade and dining with their over-lords, they just can’t help themselves and we’ll leave those to God’s judgement…

    • Carl Kraeff says

      If you have not signed on to the Manhattan Declaration, you may still do so at http://manhattandeclaration.org/the-declaration/sign.aspx.

  6. Michael Bauman says

    Sava, while agreeing with most of what you say even under persecution the real theological differences between us and Catholics may persist. Not just the Pope, but the cosmic and anthropological bicameralism the Pope repesents.

    • The Catholics can come to us, not the other way around, not suggesting anything different.

      But I do think, under the coming pressures, Rome and Constantinople have every reason to overcome our differences, let us pray they do, without giving up on Orthodoxy, small or big “o”!

      • Michael Bauman says

        Ofr course, real oppresion can have the result of flattening theological differences or exacerbate them and end up turning one against the other.

      • clueless catholic says

        “The Catholics can come to us, not the other way around”

        Why on earth would we do that?

        1.3 billion and counting. Just added over 100,000 new adult converts at Easter Vigil in the U.S. alone. Perfectly happy with our pope and Magisterium, thank you very much.

        Why on earth would we give away the farm? We are already bending over backward, and it has gotten us nowhere. We are sick of this triumphalist intransigence, frankly, especially as we are the ones “bargaining from the position of strength.” If the Orthodox are unwilling to make the slightest compromise, the slightest overture, then to heck with them. Let Our Lady get through to them!

        Usually like your posts, Sava, but this is just surreal.

        • Clueless catholic, is this nom de plume an accident? Why and about what on God’s wonderful earth would Orthodoxy “bargain” with you, especially since you approach the table “from a position of strength”? We are trembling alone from thinking about that spectre of the whole RC approaching us bend-over backwards while at the same time bursting off strength. I think we, the Orthodox , are much happier and contend at “heck” (wherever that wonderful place is to be found) tending the flowers in our quaint little garden. They are, especially this time a year, full of intransigent perfumes and triumphalist colours… just lovely.

          Oh, btw even if 1.3 billion Catholics believe that the moon is made of green cheese, I am sorry to inform you, it ain’t so..

          • CC: Not interested in a pissing contest with you. It was, I thought, obvious that I meant theologically. It’s now been a couple decades since JPII admitted the East was right about the filioque from the start. Benedict has made many positive comments about Orthodoxy, as the theologian which, by education and inclination, he is, especially the East’s ability to maintain what you call the Magisterium without any of the Roman enforcement mechanisms.

            Benedict has made comments about “the Church becoming small” which have gotten good press. I think that is exactly what will happen. When that does occur, and I think that will be sooner than many realize, the differences between Rome and Constantinople will seem smaller than they have in centuries. Let us not forget that, on that last morning in 1453, Orthodox and Catholic soldiers celebrated a joint liturgy in Hagia Sophia and died on the walls together as the last Ottoman assault killed them all.

            In theological terms of course I think Rome needs to come to us – if I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t really be Orthodox, would I? No offense meant. I am certain that, no matter what Hell throws at us, there will always be Orthodox hiding out and keeping Truth alive, on mountaintops and in the middle of deserts, no matter how oppressive the circumstances. When it all goes ugly again, please feel free to join us. 🙂

            • Sava says:
              May 8, 2012 at 1:10 am
              CC:

              Not interested in a pissing contest with you.

              “what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matt. 15:10, NKJV)

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              Sava, as a big fan of the late Pope (JPII) I would like to see a citation for your assertion that “the East was right about the filioque.” I’m not disputing you, but I would like to read this for myself. It’d be important to the debate on this blog.

        • Michael Bauman says

          Clueless, I am sure that Sava meant theologically. The number alone do not mean that the truth is there. At one time Arians out numbered everyone.

          The fact is that we cannot both be right about the ecclisology and anthropology on which we diverge. It is also unlikely that we are both wrong.

          However, if we all seek the truth over our own opinions and ideologies, the chances are much better that we will meet each other along the way don’t you think?

          • Michael, don’t you also sing every Sunday after communion: “We have seen the true light! We have received the heavenly Spirit! We have found the true Faith! Worshipping the undivided Trinity, who has saved us….”? Why would we then pretend to still seeking it?

            • Michael Bauman says

              The true faith. My point exactly. I am always seeking deeper communion with Him who is The Truth, Jesus Christ.

              I know for a fact that there are many Roman Catholics who are doing the same. As long as we are doing that, we will converge at some point.

              It is quite easy for we humans to make idols even of otherwise holy things. As we do that we loose the ability to actually participate and experience the divine reality revealed through the Church.

              A few brief, simplistic and incomplete examples:

              The Protestants tend to create an idol out of the Bible
              The Roman Catholics tend to create an idol out of the Pope
              We tend to create an idol out of the Church herself.

  7. Harry Coin says

    Is it possible for any real Christian leader to accept money collected from the people by the state through taxation that includes punishments, fines and jail for non payment?

    • Harry it’s done in Germany by both the RC and the Lutherans (Evangelische Kirche).

      I assume that this custom, though going back to Napoleonic times, endorsed by the 3. Reich and kept in use to this day, has tremendously enriched the spiritual leadership qualities of especially the modern leaders of both denominations. They are so secure in their “civil service” positions that today the Lutheran Bishop of Bavaria made an announcement that his flock should become more open to the teachings of Mohammed.

      http://www.pi-news.net/2012/05/evangelischer-landesbischof-will-offnung-zum-islam/

      Now, if that isn’t an endorsement for government salaried clergy, then what would be…[/sarcasm]

    • Fr. Hans Jacobse says

      No, I don’t think so, not without being compromised in some way or another.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Harry, come on. Without the power to tax, there is no state. That was the primary reason the U.S. Confederation was disolved in favor of the Constitutional Republic. Taxing power under the Constitution was real, not voluntary.

    Are you an anarchist or are you suggesting that Christians cannot/should not participate in the government of the state?

    Both positions seem radically outside the tradition of the Church. We really are supposed to be “in the world…” don’t you know.

    • Harry Coin says

      Michael, my post should have been more specific. “Church leader / clergyman” not political leader who is a church member.

      • Michael Bauman says

        No clergyman of whatever rank or monastic should be involved in the government of the state. Your question raises a larger issue however as many Catholic ministries have been shut down because they were approved by and/or received government funds (that is to say tax dollars) and then came into disfavor. We receive tax advantages that were designed to keep us free from government interference, but have been relied on in such a manner as to make the tax advantages weapons in the hands of those who would silence the prophetic voice of the Church. However, if we give up our freedom from taxes, the government could and eventually would tax us out of physical existence.

        • George Michalopulos says

          Michael, one way out of this would be to remove the tax exemption given to individuals who make contributions/donations to churches/philanthropies/etc.

          • Michael Bauman says

            George, the reason the tax exemptions are allowed for those you mention is because the entity to which they give has a tax exemption.

            They governement has all the cards if they want to use them. They either silence our voice through threats to remove the tax exemptions including prosecution if too much is said OR they tax us to death.

            I guess we’d find out how important big buildings and fancy vestments are and to whom.

        • Harry Coin says

          The question is larger than the issue of politics in this or that country.

          Clergy being paid by the state through operation of civil authority taxation poses two separate moral problems.

          First is the utter oxymoron of ‘involuntary Christian stewardship’. Folk must pay taxes or be fined or jailed by the civil authority. Some folk pay a great deal, those who own businesses or shares in businesses pay not only if the business succeeds but also for their own pay, and many through operation of ‘progressive’ concepts or just being broke, or having great assets but no current income, pay nothing at all, or even get money paid to them in many, many cases. In any event, there is no free will involved. You pay, or else. There is no giving going on there at all. There is paying, based on 1,001 things along with Christian dimensions.

          Second is the church and its leadership being hirelings of the civil authority. We see this in Russia where support for individual persons aiming for this or that office is blatant. In return there are apartments, items of personal jewelry for clergy that amount to a year’s salary for a worker. Not least the horrific conflation of the church with the particular political authority in the minds of the people. So that when one is rejected there is no compunction to also reject the other. The church thrown out with the Tsar not 100 years ago. In Greece the clergy and state were similarly gummed together, but now the state is having a hard time, the church isn’t so connected with the people (having been gummed up with an unpopular state for a great while they were conflated) so if the state decides to end payment for clergy — the people don’t think along the lines of supporting clergy out of their own pocket AND paying taxes now going stratospheric.

          Here the state doesn’t get involved in support for, or direct and/or indirect taxation of, churches. Likewise the churches historically have refrained from endorsing particular candidates. That’s fraying some. However there is no connection between church survival here depending on who wins what election. Nobody is forced to pay for a church they don’t like, no clergy feel pressure to endorse a politician that controls his paycheck, the quality of his apartments, etc.

  9. Diogenes says

    Russian Orthodox Church embroiled in corruption scandal
    A Russian Orthodox provincial priest was revealed to have amassed a collection of luxury cars and to keep hundreds of thousands of pounds of cash in his safe.

    Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox Church, has been photographed wearing a Swiss watch Photo: EPA

    By Andrew Osborn, Moscow

    An undercover investigation on Russian TV into Archpriest Mikhail Grigoriev of Kazan has raised wider questions about the propriety of the country’s clerics and their relationship with wealthy donors who contribute to restoration work.
    In the case of Father Grigoriev, he was shown to own a BMW jeep, a Mercedes jeep, and a Mercedes saloon as well as three flats and a country house. To add insult to injury, a secret camera filmed the priest bragging about his ÂŁ60,000 Swiss watch, his ÂŁ12,000 phone, while talking about his love of Italian designer clothes and fine dining. In an indication of how much wealth the priest had amassed, he complained of recently being robbed of the equivalent of ÂŁ300,000 from his safe.
    The undercover investigation into Father Grigoriev has prompted church elders to banish him to a small rural church in the same region as punishment. Yet it seems church elders are concerned by his attitude rather than how he came into such wealth.
    “The problem is not wealth,” Archpriest Alexander Pavlov, a senior cleric in the area, was quoted as saying. “The problem is the priest’s attitude to it. Now we have given him a chance to toil not for his own enrichment but for the church’s benefit.”
    It is not the first time Russian priests have been accused of graft. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox Church, has been photographed wearing a Swiss watch worth ÂŁ30,000. Clerics batted away that criticism, saying the watch was a gift from a wealthy parishioner.

    • ProPravoslavie says

      Ah, these Russians! They have some corrupt priests, therefore the entire Russian Orthodox Church is corrupt! All 30,000+ priests and deacons and 200+ bishops should be discounted!

      Thank God we have OCA, that bastion of transparency, purity, and humble and faithful service to God, without any taint of corruption! OCA is the great white hope of all Orthodoxy!

      Seriously, I am getting tired of OCAdoxy, or American Exceptionalism in Byzantine vestments.

      • ProPravoslavie says

        Okay, here is my ‘conciliatory post of the day’.

        The Russian Orthodox Church isn’t perfect. In the scramble to get out of Soviet-era stagnation it ordained thousands of priests with little training. Many of these were morally dubious, and had experience or ability in reaching out to the unchurched. In the 1990’s it probably concentrated too much on building or rebuilding massive churches and monasteries rather than in reaching out to its own people. It has been said that Alexy II baptized Russia, but left it unchurched. In its relationship with the Russian state the Moscow Patriarchate could perhaps do with allowing some priests to become more openly independent and critical voices who could reach out to the more politically-disillusioned sectors of Russian society.

        However, none of these problems and challenges can mask the overall positive change in Russian Orthodoxy’s trajectory. Make no mistake: it is back as a powerful force in Russian society. Perhaps that is why the Western media, the majority of which holds the view that religion should be driven out of the public square, considers it necessary to blacken and demonize the Moscow Patriarchate.

        Another angle that should be considered is that the existence of a strong Russian Orthodoxy is anathema to three sectors that still have strong influence in the Western media. The first is the Ukrainian diaspora that tends to come from the more Russophobic areas of the Ukraine (Galicia in particular) and that has long resented Moscow’s very presence in Kiev. The second is the Georgian PR machinery built up by Mikheil Saakashvili in the US, with its savvy network of English websites and well-paid and high-profile publicity hacks. The third is the considerable number of Roman Catholic pundits who are both ‘conservative’ and who are aligned with the neocon wing of the Republican party and its think-tanks (George Weigel, Zbigniew Brzezinski, etc.). For this third group, the very existence of Russian Orthodoxy is intolerable; it is the strongest obstacle to both papal and Western dominance in Russia. The continuing refusal of the Moscow Patriarch to meet with the Pope is also an unforgivable sin for this sector.

        Patriarch Kirill is a strong and able leader who is no servant of the Kremlin — the western media seems to have forgotten that by its own narrative, in late 2008, the Kremlin-backed candidate was NOT Kirill, but Metropolitan Kliment, at that time the Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, who was seen as closer to both Putin and the late Alexy II. Evidently the Moscow Patriarchate’s hierarchy chose otherwise.

        • George Michalopulos says

          100% right ProP!

        • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

          ProPravoslavie:
          You wrote, “…Metropolitan Kliment, at that time the Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate.” For what period of time, exactly, during the incumbency of Patriarch Alexy II, was Metropolitan Kliment (named after Saint Clement), Chancellor? You say, too, that Clement “was seen as closer to both Putin and the late Alexy II.” Was seen by whom? Don’t you mean “suspected by some of trying to get close to Putin?”
          Somehow, i got the idea that SOME believed that both the episcopal Kapalin brothers were more proteges of Kirill of External Affairs than they were of Patriarch Alexy ii?

          • ProPravoslavie says

            Metropolitan Kliment was Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate from December 26, 2003 to March 31, 2009. Here is his official Profile on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate:

            http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/31757.html

            Google “Metropolitan Kliment” and “Chancellor Moscow Patriarchate” and you’ll find a lot of English-language references to his time as Chancellor.

            Protege to Pat. Kirill? Interesting then, that Kliment’s brother actively recruited delegates to vote FOR Kliment and AGAINST Kirill and that one of the first acts of Patriarch Kirill would be to remove Met. Kliment as Chancellor! (He was replaced by the current Chancellor, Met. Varsanofy).

            As for his closeness to the Kremlin, it was not Kirill but Kliment who was a member of the Public Council of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of the Interior during the first Putin administration (see the following http://eng.mvdrf.ru/sovet/5119/?print). And I recall reports from those years (now hard to find if not erased from the Internet) that during Kremlin-sponsored meetings, Kliment would be seated at the front or very near to Putin while Kirill would sometimes be relegated to a more distant row.

            • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

              It’s wrong to say either Kliment or Dimitri Kapalin was a favorite of or in any way favored by Patriarch Alexii II.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Yeah, ProP, I agree. We here in America would never forcibly send a bishop to a therapeutic facility for psychiatric reasons. No siree, couldn’t happen here.

  10. Diogenes says

    Go here and see how the ROC is in bed with Putin. May be good for Russia, but not the U.S.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/vladimir-putin-sworn-in-russia-president_n_1494084.html

    • Yes, by all means, let us listen to our neocon/liberal masters in the State Dept, The Weekly Standard, The National Girly-man Review, etc., and pick an unnecessary war with a country that is no longer an empire or has no designs on our territory. Makes sense to me.

      • George Michalopulos says

        ATTN Ashley: I still await your response before I hit the “publish” button. Please tell us what Christian denomination you belong to and whether you are a faithful member of it. You have 24 hrs to do so. If you do not, I will gladly hit the “delete” button and your latest 2,000-word effluvium will go down the memory hole.

        Ciao, George

    • ProPravoslavie says

      “is in bed with Putin”

      The problem with you Americans is that you see any cooperation or partnership with the Russian government as a sign of moral evil and corruption.

      “May be good for Russia, but not the U.S.”

      Perhaps the new moral imperative for OCAdoxy is that even non-Americans should always be an instrument of American government policies? Now THAT is what I call being in bed with Hilary. (Ugh.)

    • ProPravoslavie says

      http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/05/07/stop-the-pointless-demonization-of-putin/

      Stop the pointless demonization of Putin
      By Stephen F. Cohen MAY 7, 2012

      American media coverage of Vladimir Putin, who today began his third term as Russia’s president and 13th year as its leader, has so demonized him that the result may be to endanger U.S. national security.

      For nearly 10 years, mainstream press reporting, editorials and op-ed articles have increasingly portrayed Putin as a czar-like “autocrat,” or alternatively a “KGB thug,” who imposed a “rollback of democratic reforms” under way in Russia when he succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. He installed instead a “venal regime” that has permitted “corruptionism,” encouraged the assassination of a “growing number” of journalists and carried out the “killing of political opponents.” Not infrequently, Putin is compared to Saddam Hussein and even Stalin.

      Well-informed opinions, in the West and in Russia, differ considerably as to the pluses and minuses of Putin’s leadership over the years – my own evaluation is somewhere in the middle – but there is no evidence that any of these allegations against him are true, or at least entirely true. Most seem to have originated with Putin’s personal enemies, particularly Yeltsin-era oligarchs who found themselves in foreign exile as a result of his policies – or, in the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in prison. Nonetheless, U.S. media, with little investigation of their own, have woven the allegations into a near-consensus narrative of “Putin’s Russia.”

      Even the epithet commonly applied to Putin is incorrect. The dictionary and political science definition of “autocrat” is a ruler with absolute power, and Putin has hardly been that. There are many examples of his need to mediate, sometimes unsuccessfully, among powerful groups in the ruling political establishment and of his policies being thwarted by Moscow and regional bureaucracies. Moreover, if Putin really were a “cold-blooded, ruthless” autocrat, tens of thousands of protesters would not have appeared in Moscow streets, not far from the Kremlin, following the December presidential election. Nor would they have been officially sanctioned – as were the thousands who gathered yesterday before a small group breached the sanctioned lines and violence ensued – or shown on state television.

      But consider the largest, and historically most damning, accusation against Putin. Russian democratization began in Soviet Russia, under Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1989-91. “De-democratization,” as it is often called, began not under Putin but under Yeltsin, in the period from 1993 to 1996, when the first Russian president used armed force to destroy a popularly elected parliament; enacted a super-presidential constitution; “privatized” the former Soviet state’s richest assets on behalf of a small group of rapacious insiders; turned the national media over to that emerging financial oligarchy; launched a murderous war in the breakaway province of Chechnya; and rigged his own re-election. (On February 20, outgoing president Dmitri Medvedev shocked a small group of visitors by finally admitting that Yeltsin had not actually won that election against the Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov.) Putin may have only moderated those fateful policies, but he certainly did not initiate them.

      The catastrophic Yeltsin 1990s, which have been largely deleted from the U.S. media narrative, also put other anti-Putin allegations in a different perspective. The corruption rampant in Russia today, from seizures of major private investments to bribes demanded by officials, is a direct outgrowth of the violent and other illicit measures that accompanied “privatization” under Yeltsin. It was then that the “swindlers and thieves” denounced by today’s opposition actually emerged.

      The shadowy practices of that still-only-partially reformed economic system, not Kremlin politics, has led to the assassination of so many Russian journalists, most of them investigative reporters. The numbers, rarely cited by era, are indicative. According to the American Committee to Protect Journalists, 77 Russian journalists have been murdered since 1992 – 41 during Yeltsin’s 8 years in power, 36 during Putin’s 12 years.

      The exceptionally vilifying charge that Putin has been behind the killing of political opponents focuses mainly on two victims – the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot to death in Moscow in 2006; and a reputed KGB defector, Aleksandr Litvinenko, who died of radiation poisoning in London, also in 2006.

      Not a shred of evidence or an element of logic points to Putin in either case. The editors of Politkovskaya’s newspaper, the devoutly anti-Putin Novaya Gazeta, believe her killing was ordered by Chechen leaders, whose human-rights abuses were one of her special subjects. And there is no conclusive proof even as to whether Litvinenko’s poisoning, despite the media frenzy and rupture in British-Russian relations it caused, was intentional or accidental. (Significantly, Scotland Yard still has not released the necessary autopsy report.)

      In other circumstances, all of this ritualistic Putin-bashing would be merely a cautionary example of media malpractice, an anti-textbook for journalism schools. But it has made Putin’s Russia toxic in Washington, in both political parties and especially in Congress, at a time when U.S. national security requires long-term cooperation with Moscow on vital fronts: from countries and regions such as Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and the entire Middle East to issues such as nuclear weapons reduction, stopping nuclear proliferation, and preventing terrorism.

      In all of these regards, the relentless demonizing of Putin makes rational U.S. policymaking all the more difficult. Mitt Romney’s recent assertions that Russia is America’s “number one geopolitical foe” and that Moscow has made no “meaningful concessions” seem to reflect widespread ignorance or amnesia. Are U.S. policymakers aware of Putin’s extraordinary assistance to the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan after 9/11, his crucial help in supplying NATO troops now there or his support for harsher sanctions against Iran? Do they know that for these and other “pro-American” concessions he is viewed by many Russian national security officials as an “appeaser?”

      Many years ago, Will Rogers quipped: “Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it’s true.” Evidently, it is still true, but it’s no longer funny.

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        I find it ironic that I find myself agreeing with Steven F Cohen, but agree I must. The idea that Russia under Putin is necessarily an enemy of the US is nothing short of insane. I trust that Mitt Romney only states as such because these platitudes have been put in his mouth by his neocon advisors.

        On another note, the idea that America is now a liberal, free democracy is becoming increasingly strained. Let us consider all fo the journalists who have been thrown out of their jobs (and maybe killed) because they dared to express their opinion.

        Among them: Helen Thomas, Naomi Schaeffer Riley, John Derbyshire, Pat Buchanan, Andrew Napolitano, Glenn Beck, among them. Notice some of these people are on the Left (Thomas), some on the Right (Derbyshire, Buchanan), and some Liberarians (Napolitano, Beck), and one even a neocon (Riley). They join a long list of purged thinkers who were often reduced to penury: Joe Sobran, Sam Francis.

        As for our own corruption, one need only google the words “solyndra,” “”Keystone pipeline,” and “initial public offerings, to Congressmen,” and one would be shocked at what one finds. Our corruption is legal, theirs is old-fashioned.

        All I’m asking for is a little circumspection and a lot lets ethno-triumphalism when it comes to Russia.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      Thanks to Diogenes for pointing us to the article about the Russian President getting his blessing in Church from the First Hierarch of the Church as he begins his next period as President. As an Orthodox ruler, he shares many character traits with the Orthodox tsars of previous centuries. It’s unfortunate that he is undergoing, probably with some justification, the same kind of protests and public indignation from large crowds as did the last Tsar, Nicholas, sometimes called “Bloody Nicholas” for his penchant for using armed troops and especially mounted Cossacks to IMPOSE order.
      Some, especially the lock-step intellectual infantry of the EP, gasp in righteously expressed indignation at the APPARENT and REAL Symphonia of Church and State in Russia, which seems to eclipse the subservience of the Phanar to the Sublime Porte.

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      I’d like to supplement and correct my previous comment on Diogenes’s input which went like this, in toto:

      “Go here and see how the ROC is in bed with Putin. May be good for Russia, but not the U.S.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/vladimir-putin-sworn-in-russia-president_n_1494084.html

      Actually, anyone who goes to the linked site and reads the article referenced will not be able to find any mention of religion or the Russian Orthodox Church or of any Russian Orthodox clergy or people. The article is entirely about the 100 per cent secular ceremony in the Kremlin at which Putin was “sworn in” on the Russian constitution. Only a photo at the top showed Putin on another occasion piously crossing himself in a convent, and the article does not even mention that visit!
      So, if we follow Diogenes’s advice, we will go to that site and see no indication whatsoever of any kind of relationship at all between Putin and the ROC.

  11. cynthia curran says

    Well, I didn’t realized some of the shortcomings of evangelicals when it come to history. The Roman Catholic church is accuse of killing a lot more people than were acutally killed in Roman Catholic countries during either the medieval or early modern times.

  12. cynthia curran says

    Well, Connie Rice actually stated there were a lot of issues that Putin and Bush agreed upon, others not so like the Ukraine and the Iran and so forth. She stated that if Putin is overthrown either the communist or the nationalists would take power which would be worst for the US.

  13. cynthia curran says

    Well, most christians in the US or Europe don’t know what its like in China or North Korea. One christian in China has openly opposed the one child policy Chen Guangcheng and the US was suppose to help him but some think the government cave in with China and it was forced to stay because of his family. Now, this is a time that I can state that westerners don’t know what its truly like.

  14. ProPravoslavie says

    An article published on ‘Patriarchia’ on May 23, 2012 showcasing more Russian Orthodox ‘corruption’ (and Greek Orthodox ‘corruption’ too):

    http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/2240107.html

    Here is a passage translated tolerably well by Google Translate:

    “To collect donations to help the needy in our sister Orthodox country, is experiencing a severe economic crisis, in January, blessed Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Diocesan bishops, governors stavropegic monasteries, churches and rectors of the Moscow Patriarch farmsteads were sent letters in which he suggested in one Sunday plate collection organized to help the needy. Data collection began on February 19. Its coordinated by Department for Church Charity and Social Service.

    Funds come from all over Russia and abroad. The value of donations ranging from 100 up to 400 000. Direct assistance to the Greeks not only parishes and monasteries, and laymen. “People perceive trouble distant land as their own. This convinced when you see private donations from Kamchatka or Sakhalin – from people of different nationalities, “- said the head of the Financial Services Division for Constantine Basilov charity.

    It is assumed that the collected funds will be used to organize free meals for the poor in soup kitchens organization “Apostoli” (“The Mission”), carrying out social service Archdiocese of Athens.

    As the head of Diakoniya.ru “Apostoli” Konstantinos Dimtsas, church and community service daily feed about 250,000 people. In Athens, 13 000 people each day receive a portion of soup and other hot food from the “Apostle” in the framework of the “Church on the street.” The daily demand for hot food at the beginning of February was estimated at 300,000 portions of the country and 50,000 meals in Athens, with unemployment at 19-20%. Today in helping disadvantaged diocese includes all Hellas Orthodox Church , each according to their capabilities. In Athens, for assistance involving 89 parishes. Also, “The Mission” has a program targeted delivery of food to the poor “church home.” Its employees on a monthly basis to poor families send 2.5 thousand sets of pasta, canned goods and other nonperishable foods.

    Organization of hot meals for the homeless and the unemployed today has become a major, but not the only social project Hellas Orthodox Church. More than 100 hospices in Greece belong to the Church. In Athens there are two social store. One can get free clothes and food, in the other – just clothes. These stores are opened in other cities of Greece. Products and things for the opening of the first such store handed the residents themselves the Greek capital. Church was organized by the three-day event in Athens hypermarkets, as a result of which was collected 35 tons of food.”

    I find it telling that American Orthodox websites rarely report on the good things being done by the Church in the “Old Country’.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      ProP, First Things recently published a hatchet job on the ROC which Byzantine TX did a good job refuting.

      The Neocon/American sense of triumphalism never ceases to amaze me. I wonder what Christianity would look like in America had we had 70 years of Bolshie terror working its magic on us.

      • Not much different from the OCA today.

        Compromised bishops. Clergy afraid to say anything, and not too many people in Church, but always the Baba’s.

        • I remember reading that, some time ago, a Soviet commissar asked a Russian priest what he would have “after all those Babas died off.” The priest’s reply was “more Babas.”

  15. Diogenes says

    Huff. Post-

    Hagia Sofia: Thousands Pray For Istanbul Landmark To Become Mosque

    * Hagia Sofia was church, then mosque

    * Some religious Turks want ban on worship lifted

    * Crowd estimated at more than 3,000

    By Ayla Jean Yackley

    ISTANBUL, May 26 (Reuters) – Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.

    Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.

    Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.

    “Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolises our ill-treatment by the West,” Salih Turhan, head of the Anatolian Youth Association, which organised the event, told the crowd, whose male and female worshippers prayed separately according to Islamic custom.

    The government has rejected requests from both Christians and Muslims to hold formal prayers at the site, historically and spiritually significant to adherents of both religions.

    The rally’s size and location signals more tolerance for religious expression under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose party traces its roots to a banned Islamist movement.

    His government has also allowed Christian worship at sites that were off-limits for decades, as it seeks to bring human rights in line with the European Union, which it aims to join.

    Turhan told Reuters his group staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople.

    “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right,” Turhan said in an interview.

    Worshippers refrained from entering the museum, one of Turkey’s most-visited tourist destinations and whose famous dome is considered a triumph of Byzantine architecture.

    Most Turks appear satisfied with it remaining a museum as a kind of compromise between its conflicting historic roles.

    OTTOMAN PAST

    However, some devout Turks believe that barring worship at Hagia Sophia is an affront against Sultan Mehmet, who designated it as a mosque and who, like other Ottoman leaders, served as caliph to the Islamic world.

    Under Erdogan, many Turks have come to embrace their imperial Ottoman past and question the more austere, Western-oriented reforms that followed the last sultan’s overthrow in 1923.

    The shift coincides with a stalled EU bid and declining expectations Turkey will ever join the mostly Christian bloc.

    The government’s active diplomatic engagement in the Middle East with lands that once belonged to the Ottoman empire has also prompted Turks to reexamine the NATO member’s Western tilt.

    Meanwhile, some Orthodox argue Hagia Sophia should be returned to its original state as a Christian basilica.

    In 2010, 200 or so Greek American Orthodox aborted plans to pray at Hagia Sophia after the Turkish government threatened to block their entry into the country on security grounds.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch, spiritual leader of the world’s 250 million Orthodox, does not support efforts to revert its former dominion into a church.

    “We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey’s principles,” said Father Dositheos Anagnostopulos, the patriarch’s spokesman.

    “If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn’t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos.”

    Only a few thousand Greek Orthodox faithful are left in Turkey, but the patriarch’s seat remains in Istanbul, a vestige of the Byzantine Empire. (Editing by Jon Hemming)

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      I wonder when the Archons/Leadership 100 will release their press release on this issue?

  16. Ken Miller says

    It is not just the modernists/progressives that have a huge problem with the Russian church. The work of former KGB agent Konstantin Preobrazhensky is a must read for all Orthodox Christians and all patriotic Americans who love this great country of ours (more about the book at http://www.gerardgroup.com/newsletter/nl2009-06-10.php). I think today, Memorial Day, is a fitting time for me to make this post. Anyone who read my posts from last year knows that I am a staunch supporter of +Jonah and a fierce critic of the modernist/progressivist movement. However, I also believe the unholy alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and the murderous Putin and his FSB (formerly KGB) is a blight on Orthodoxy. That is not to say that there are not some very holy monasteries and priests within the Russian church, but the FSB network starts right at the top with the MP and it involves quite a network of operatives in the churches here in America. The FSB screens all clerical appointments and they have murdered or removed in various cases bishops and priests who have or develop a conscience.

    The apologists for the Kremlin/MP/ROCOR alliance always frame the issue as “isn’t it wonderful to love one’s country and be patriotic.” Indeed, but there is one slight detail you omit – the homeland of the ROCOR parishes in America is America, not Russia!!!! That is a huge omission. Many if not most ROCOR parishioners have become American citizens, and ROCOR fancies themselves a viable alternative for Orthodoxy in America. For a church on American soil to say that it is “patriotic” by taking orders from a foreign government, and not only that, from one of the most hostile foreign governments to America and our interests is farcical.

    I also know first-hand that ROCOR is actively promoting and growing their English liturgy and drawing even those of non-Russian descent. If you read Preobrazhensky’s book, it will become clear why the FSB is starting with those of Russian descent, but even more valuable in their network of FSB agents/propagandists is those of non-Russian descent because they are more likely to have security clearances, access to information, and more influence among Americans. By the way, there is a term for being an American citizen being an agent for a foreign government and it is not “patriotism” – it is “treason”.

    Orthodoxy in America must be free of any governmental control, if for no other reason than control by any foreign government will exclude from Orthodoxy all patriotic Americans and especially those who work for the US government or hold security clearances. There are many other reasons as well. The experiment that began after Constantine has not worked well. St John Chrysostom was banished multiple times because he spoke truth to civil government. Byzantine emperors forced the patriarch of Constantinople to promote the Arian heresy for decades. The church cannot serve two masters. The interests of the state are inherently worldly, yet the Kingdom of God is spiritual and is incompatible with the pursuit of worldly things – power, wealth, glory. This is why monasticism requires renunciation of the world. This is why St Anthony so despised the powers of this world that he preferred not to respond to a letter from the emperor himself. This is why St Gregory Palamas and many others renounced the corrupting influence of property and wealth in the church.

    I for one will never be silent either in the battle against modernism or in the battle against unholy foreign government influence in American Orthodoxy. To borrow a phrase from this web site, I guess that makes me the one who really stands alone, and I would rather stand alone than sell my soul on either issue.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Ken, you are correct that the “homeland” for most of ROCOR is America (as it is the homeland of all American jurisdictional Orthodox). And of course, we are very much allies in the fight against modernism within our church (particularly the OCA which until Jonah, was well on its way to Episcopaganism), but I must offer another take on Putin.

      First of all, he’s no saint. Nobody I know (even his supporters) have ever felt he was. However the neocon/neoliberal MSM has painted a picture of a resurgent, patriotic, and –yes–spiritual Russia which is anathema to them.

      I am presently working on a piece which is culled from several sources. The picture that is unimpeachable is that during the presidency of Yeltsin, Wall Street vulture capitalists from America descended upon the old USSR and looted some one trillion dollars worth in wealth (this is in the late 90s). When Putin first took over, he immediately put a stop to this grand larceny, often using brutal and by our lights, unconstitutional means. Many of these people’s Russian collaborators were sent to Siberian prisons or exiled. Berezovsky is an example of the latter.

      It is Berezovsky for example who financed the “Pussy Riot” fiasco of last month, in which a female punk rock band profaned the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

      I must tell you, that it is the odious Bill Kristol and his henchmen who have an abiding hatred for Russia and our Church who are steering this train towards war with Iran and if need be, Russia.

      No, I don’t want my sister to marry Vladimir Putin. But for his people and his nation, he is a bulwark against the globalists who wish to finish what they started in 1992, the looting of Russia

      • George said

        Wall Street vulture capitalists from America descended upon the old USSR and looted some one trillion dollars worth in wealth

        .

        George, I can’t keep up with the mental gymnastics–you bleed for Russia, but could care less about the looting Wall Street does at home.

        • Geo Michalopuls says

          Not so. I was just confronted the fact of Putin and his heavy-handed regime. The issue was not how these same vultures denuded our land. That is an issue for another day. I was merely commenting on Russia. And no, I don’t bleed for Russia, I just don’t want us poking our noses where it is no business of ours. The USSR was a horrible, expansionist empire, committed to our destruction. Russia is not. Nor could it even if it wanted to.

      • Ken Miller says

        George,

        The facts are that Putin and his FSB network despise freedom and they vengefully retaliate against their enemies. Everyone who has ever criticised Putin in Russia has had their life lost or destroyed. That is not spin, that is fact. Again, read Preobrazhensky’s book. He was in the KGB, he is Orthodox, and he publicly repented of his deeds as a KGB/FSB agent. He knows the players, what they are guilty of, how they operate, and why they were so intent on acquiring an FSB network through unification with ROCOR.

        For someone who calls yourself a “classical liberal”, which is exactly the political stance that I claim for myself, I am abhorred at your apology for the assault on individual liberties in Russia. Capitalism, when it is practiced freely, without coercion, and without government involvement is good from a civil standpoint. If they look for business opportunities that will make them profit, that is also good, from a civil standpoint. Of course, if they do it out of a motive of greed, if they do not have the welfare of others at heart, or if they love money more than they love pursuit of the selfless kingdom of God, then there is no life in their souls and they will be rejected at the dread judgment seat of Christ, but as long as they have not used violence, coercion, or requested special favors from government, they have done nothing wrong civilly.

        Wall Street has many faults, the biggest being the desire to get favoritism from government, but the vast majority of the business and wealth in Russia went to the oligarchs, not Wall Street. If some companies were involved, it pales in comparison to what the Russians did to themselves. Yes, Yeltsin’s administration was corrupt, as is Putin’s. Russia has still never seen either democracy or capitalism, and they are farther from both now than they were right after the fall of the soviet union. Everything in Russia is done through bribes, coercion, and mafia, and the government is complicit in all this. When Putin attacks and makes an example of an oligarch or businessman, it is not because they were guilty of more crimes than the other oligarchs or businessmen, it is because they have become an enemy of the state, either by fighting the control and extortion of the government or by criticising the Putin regime. It is undeniable that Putin has put more and more of the “free” market back under state control, he has eradicated any semblance of a free press, and he has used the state power to destroy all political opponents and persecute dissent. All of this is very evil. Little has changed since the soviet union, only the names and labels.

        From a classical liberal standpoint, the freedom of conscience, the freedom of speech, the freedom to free and fair elections, and the freedom to engage in the free market without coercion from the government are the foundation of a virtuous society. It is within this context that the church can do its work, calling free men and women to repent and follow the ways that lead to life.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          Ken, I do not dispute your recitation of the facts. That is not what is at issue here. What is at issue is whether we as Americans have the right to interfere in the a sovereign nation’s internal activites. I could go into detail about why classical liberalism has flowered here in America (thumbnail: it’s because the founding culture was Anglo-Saxon, other cultures and/or races have different ways of gathering their societies, etc.) but I won’t at present.

          What I will do at present is complain about our messianic Wilsonianism which seeks to remake the world in our image. That is nothing less than an abomination. We tried to do it in Iraq and Afghanistan and all it did was throw thousands of men into the meat-grinder. Now please understand, Iraq has so far turned out militarily for us but the unintended (?) consequences has been the dissolution and brutalization of the indigenous Christian population.

          And anyway, those wars would be cake-walks in comparison to going to war with Russia. Russia defeated both Napoleon and Hitler. Russia is no longer expansionist (against us anyway).

          Make no mistake: the drumbeats of war against Russia and their “corrupt” Church are being beaten by neocons who hate Christian civilization. Their forebears were directly involved in helping destroy Christian civilization going all the way back to WWI (and possibly the French Revolution).

          I simply want no part of American interventionism. However, “by their fruits ye shall know them.” Let us instead propose a test: we shall see over time where the Church flowers. I pray it will be everywhere, especially here. I’m not at all sure that it will flower here in America. And I mean all branches of Christianity. Instead, I think we are in for an inexorable decline if not outright persecution. (One of the metrics we should keep our eye on is the normalization of homosexuality and the enthusiasm with which it is embraced by the various churches.)

          If on the other hand the Church continues to flower in Russia, we should be circumspect about talking about the accommodation that the ROC has made with the present government. Humility is called for anyway. Especially if Obama wins reelection (which I think he will). If that happens then we can kiss free markets, the rule of law, Common Law, piety and simple decency goodbuy.

          • Ken Miller says

            George, Orthodoxy in Russia runs deep and it will survive whatever history throws at it. My point is that light has no communion with darkness, and the way for the Russian church to truly flourish is not to have an unholy union with an ungodly state, but to be free of FSB influence and carnal geopolitical interests which are incompatible with the spiritual nature of the church. The church would be better off to lose it’s buildings and be persecuted than to accept any power and wealth that comes from an unholy union with the state.

            I’m willing to grant, however, that it is Russians in Russia who will have to determine the destiny of the Russian church in Russia. What I can’t accept is an FSB controlled church operating in America, sending intelligence back to Russia, and parroting the propagandic talking points that the FSB gives them to promote the Russian government’s interests. I don’t believe that any patriotic American can put themselves under the authority of such a church. That is the reason I have such a strong view on this. Orthodoxy in each country needs to be accessible to the population of that country and it is wrong for state interests to be a barrier to the evangelization of that country. It doesn’t matter to me whether our hierarchy is Russian, Greek, American, or any other nationality – the issue isn’t nationality, it is state influence. American citizens cannot be under the authority of another state, and there is no way around that.

            I believe that the battles we are fighting now against modernism are a flash in the pan in the history of Orthodoxy. There is no way modernistic attitudes toward sexuality etc will be able to stand against two thousand years of Orthodoxy rooted in the fathers and the Scriptures. A state-controlled church is not and will never be our savior against modernistic heterodoxy.

            Regarding your comments about the evil “neo-cons”, it’s really hard to fathom how they can be guilty of the French revolution given that neo-conservativism is a 20th century American political phenomenon. America is unique in that, at least for the past century, we have never had colonial goals in our intervention. Even with all the loss of life and wealth as a result of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, we not only turned the governments over to the people, we didn’t even insist on being reimbursed from their oil money. The only benefit we receive from our interventionism is freedom and stability in the world. When we promote democracy and freedom in the world, we are not trying to make the world after our own image, as if one system were as good as another, but rather we are standing for what is right and good against that which is evil. Statist control is always evil. Infringements on human rights, including free press and free elections, is always evil. There is no moral equivalence – liberty is good and oppressive governments are evil.

            Then with a straight face to make it seem like our imperfections in democracy and freedom even remotely compare with the corruption and human rights abuses in Russia is really farcical. To make it seem like our interventionism even comes close to the evil aggression of Russia against Georgia and it’s other neighbors is farcical. To overlook the fact that Russia consistently and without exception promotes and props up the world’s most evil dictators (Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, etc) is farcical.

            I actually believe that the Bush doctrine of preemption will fall by the wayside. In hind sight, it was a mistake to get entangled in those wars. Still, neo-conservatism is in the mainstream of American political debate, and by the way it is normally an ally of the classically conservative ideals you claim to hold. To claim that neo-conservatism is the cause of all evils in the world stretches credibility.

            One last comment. you say that a state should be judged by “how the church flowers.” I guess by that standard, ancient Rome that put to death so many martyrs was the most virtuous state ever! The church has never flourished in spirituality like it did during the period of the ante-Nicene martyrs. It is not the job of the state to make the church flourish, it is the job of the state to stay out of church affairs. It is the job of the Holy Spirit and the faithful to crucify ourselves daily and make the church flourish.

      • Yes, George, Putin kicked out the foreign looters so Russian looters, including himself, could have free sway. I suppose that’s some kind of justice, though, by Russian standards. Every developing country seems to have to suffer at the hands of robber barons for a time until democracy reigns them in. We are beginning to see this in Russia, but it’s going to be a long road and reaching the desired destination is by no means guaranteed. In the meantime, the roadside is littered with corpses. But if the church continues to put some distance between itself and the regime, we could see the stage set for some real progress, which would reprise some of the notes struck at the All-Russian Sobor of 1917.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          True enough, Basil.

          You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about Putinism and I couldn’t help but compare him to a similar situation in America 150 years ago. Then we had a president who went outside the Constitution, unilaterally exiled and/or imprisone people, confiscated the properties of elites, shut down newspapers, and kicked out foreign interventionists. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

          By his lights, and for the good of our Union, he fought a savage civil war in order to keep the tariff walls high and thus insure our independence. He borrowed no foreign money to do this but instituted an unconsititutional income tax, created a draft, and gave Indian lands to immigrants who would serve in the Union Army.

          I’m just saying…

          (And I’m not being sarcastic or condemning him.)

          • Carl Kraeff says

            That is as much of a s…t….r….e….t….c….h as I have ever seen. I’m just saying.

            • Geo Michalopulos says

              yeah, I also forgot to mention that in 2009, the US government confiscated the wealth of the bondholders in GM and Chrysler. We expect crap like that from Hugo Chavez, but a consitutional republic?

          • George, it’s certainly your prerogative to offer up these nonsensical historical interpretations to fit your current political views. What I don’t understand is why you seem to get a pass from the many intelligent people that post here. IMO, with the exception of George Washington, there has been no greater President than Mr. Lincoln. (My apologies, I can’t see straight when I read anything resembling southern heritage drivel.)

            • Logan, Lincoln may very well have been one of the greatest presidents of the US. My point however is that he acted the part of dictator, suspended Consitutional privileges (like habeus corpus, etc.) and confiscated property, among other things.

              He did all this and more and kept foreign interference out of the US. As you may or may not know, both France and Britain supported the South. They did so because the South had ports where foreign countries could offload their goods without paying tariffs. Had the South succeeded, they would have undermined the high tariff walls that then financed the federal gov”t. Indeed, so desperate was the situation for the North that Lincoln enacted the first national income tax to finance the gov’t.

              BTW, Tsar Alexander II supported Lincoln and station the entire Baltic fleet in New York and San Francisco as a trip-wire warning the British and French that if they formally recognized the Confederacy, it would be viewed as an act of war against the Russian Empire. (Also, by placing the ships there they were impervious to a British naval blockade.

              • Michael Bauman says

                You are absolutely correct George. Personally I am always suspcious of any national leader for home the applelation of ‘great’ is frequently or always given. That usually means that the leader exersized the power of the state with little effective opposition often curtailing freedom in the meantime.

                The South had genuine grievances. Unfortunately, they also had slavery. The sad thing is that the genunine grievances got wrapped up in the slavery wrapper by both sides. The war between the states is a sad affair. It radically changed the course of the country (not all for good), radically increased the power of the central government virtually destroying real federalism in the process, and cost us greatly in blood and treasure.

                It could have been avoided even after secession (which many argued at the time was fully Constitutional and not, in and of itself an act of rebellion. Andrew Jackson set the tone for considering secession a war provoking offense (surprise there) by sending federal troops into South Carolina during the Nullification controversy.

                • Michael, the South had genuine grievances only if you consider the promotion of their self-interest, which was primarily based on slave-holding, as genuine. The South’s grip on the federal government, though its control of the Senate, was being undermined by the admission of western states, who unfortunately did not view slave-holding in the same ardent manner as the South.

                  Slavery wasn’t the ‘wrapper,’ it was was the kernel for the South. Up to the Civil War, the fight over tariffs was generally won by the South, albeit based on the South’s grudging acceptance that tariffs had to be sufficiently high as they were the primary means of financing the federal government. In 1792, the tariff rate was 15.1% and in 1860 it was 15%. In the intervening years, it varied based on the cost of government operations.

                  The issue of States Rights was a smokescreen as the developing coalition between the Northern and Western states did not imperil federalism, but it did mean the South would no longer control the Senate, which was the constitutional body that represented the States.

                  • George Michalopulos says

                    I think we can all agree that chattel slavery was a genuine evil. The South was very short-sighted in holding on to this “peculiar institution.” Having said that, can any tell me how many other countries have had slavery? Brazil, Mexico spring instantly to mind. Yet for some reason, neither country fough a savage civil war to end it there. Slavery just kind of petered out in those countries. It was diminishing in the South as well.

                    what caused Lincoln to go to war? The South had something else besides slaves. It had free ports. Had the South succeeded, the existence of the CSA as a free-trade zone (for European goods) would have strangled the industrialization of the North in its cradle, as well as dried up revenues to the Treasury.

                    • George said

                      It [slavery] was diminishing in the South as well.

                      In 1808 the importation of slaves to the US was prohibited. Notwithstanding, from 1810 to 1820, the number of slaves increased 36%; from 1820 to 1830, 25%; from 1830 to 1840, 20%; from 1840 to 1850, 33%; from 1850 to 1860, 21%. From 1810 to 1860 the number slaves increased by 250%. It’s difficult to envision how slavery was petering out in the South.

                      George said

                      what caused Lincoln to go to war? The South had something else besides slaves. It had free ports. Had the South succeeded, the existence of the CSA as a free-trade zone (for European goods) would have strangled the industrialization of the North in its cradle, as well as dried up revenues to the Treasury.

                      Most (or for as I know all) history books cite the confederate attack and capture of the US military installation at Ft Sumter, South Carolina as the reason Lincoln called for a volunteer army for the purpose of recapturing federal property.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      The increase in slave population was due to natural fertility. The slave trade had come to an end in 1808 (if memory serves). The Royal Navy did a very good job of putting an end to the transatlantic slave trade as well as enforcing the Monroe Doctrine.

                      The siezure of Ft Sumter was the precipitate cause of Lincoln’s agression, in this you are right. He also thought that the secession could be snuffed out quickly. He was wrong. Regardless, he had no intention of allowing the secession to succeed. Primary sources –in the North no less– from that very time period state very clearly that if secession was accomplished, the Federal Treasury would be depleted in short order.

                      As to the larger point, the “greatness” of executives who unleash state power, there is much merit. Historians for some reason love the great bloodletters of history. Perhaps in retrospect massive butchery is inevitable and some of history’s most sanguinary men made the world a better place. Alexander springs to mind, but what of Genghis Khan? Do you see the road we’re going down? It was OK to snuff out the lives of 600,000 Americans in order to hold the Union together but what about the ethnic cleansing of Indians who were massacering white settlers by the thousands?

                      BTW, the population of the US in 1860 was 36,000,000. Take 600,000 dead, divide it by that number and you get 1.6% of the population. In today’s numbers, that would equal 5,000,000 dead. We cry over the 58,000 Americans killed in Vietnam, the 5,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                      Let’s think real hard about all this before we start breaking out the champagne and lauding those presidents who presided over massive wars (Wilson, FDR, Truman), the result of which was not only expanding the power of the state and subsequent loss of liberty, but of the very lives themselves.

                    • George, a reasoned case can be made concerning the sometimes bad side effects of an ever expanding federal government without having to resort to bad history and even worse constitutional theory. Doing so, may cause some to mistake you as a fellow traveler for Neo-Confederates and others who advocate the “Lost Cause” school of Civil War history, and see the “Old South” as the exemplar of everything decent in western civilization. Lincoln responsible for a bloody, savage unnecessary war over the South’s peaceful and legitimate right to secede? I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong-headed nonsense.

                      First of all, Lincoln or any other President would have violated their oath of office by not responding to the violent attack and seizure of federal property, and even more so to the dissolution of the Union created by the constitution. Secession was based on the mistaken notion that somehow the individual states had (retained) sovereignty. In fact, the states never existed except in “perpetual union” under the Articles of Confederation and of course, the constitution. Prior to that, they were colonies. It was the constitutional “Union” that created the States and the Nation. The states had no legal status, except as defined under the constitution.

                      Interesting enough, southern secessionists never invoked the right to revolution which the original founders saw as an inalienable natural right of individuals. Probably they had to reject wholesale the idea of individual inalienable natural rights because of its unique American interpretation that included the idea that “all men are created equal.” With its large slave population, it’s no wonder that southerners had to nix the idea of natural rights of individuals, including the right to revolution. Cheers.

                    • Geo Michalopulos says

                      Logan, the question of secession was settled by the War Between the States. (War jas a way of settling things.) Prior to that time, secession was viewed as consitutionally legitimate. In 1836, 3 New England states openly considered secession. That they chose not to was their choice.

                      While I see your point about Lincoln being constitutionally bound to protect federal property, by whatever means necessary, you cleverly elide my larger point. And that is why do modernist historians laud those men who behave tyrannically? And also, why do Liberals acclaim the furtherence of government at the expense of liberty?

                      also, do you not see the inconsistency of your argument? If secession is illegitimate, then by what right did our Founding Fathers have in severing their blood and national ties to their king?

                      Even Abraham Lincoln himself, as a Congressmen, opined that secession and revolution were legitimate in principle. (I will dredge up the exact quote for a later essay.)

                    • Just passing through and tripped over the claim that the slave population increased owing to “natural fertility.” I guess that is a new euphemism for “rape-by-owner”?

                    • Not at all, Antonia. The vast majority of white slave-owners did not keep black women as mistresses. Recent DNA testing has shown that even though 70% of African-Americans have some European ancestry, this is mostly the result of interracial marriages that took place after 1865.

                      This may sound fantastic but according to most demographers, the exponential growth of a population from a small founder population is unexceptional. For example, there are over 30 million people today who are descended from the 105 people who set sail on the Mayflower. That’s just sixteen generations ago. The Lemba tribe of southern Africa are descended from just nine Jewish priests who married African tribeswomen. All 15 million Ashkenazi Jews Jews alive today are descended from a an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Medieval Jews. And the greatest patriarch of all time is Geghis Khan. One out of every 240 people alive today are descended from him.

                      Getting back to the American South, on a more practical note, the majority of those who did have slave mistresses treated the resultant offspring comparatively well. This makes sense because the natural bond that exists between a father and his offspring mitigates against subjecting the child to cruel working conditions. Sally Hemmings for example (Thomas Jefferson’s rumored mistress) was the natural daughter of Martha Jefferson’s father (i.e. Jefferson’s father-in-law). Both her mother and she were quartered in the main house and given light chores. By the same token, slave-owners encouraged the same familial bonds to form among the slaves because it would prevent fathers from escaping. And of course it behooved slave-owners to encourage their breeding because it would increase the return on their original investment.

                    • George said:

                      The vast majority of white slave-owners did not keep black women as mistresses. Recent DNA testing has shown that even though 70% of African-Americans have some European ancestry, this is mostly the result of interracial marriages that took place after 1865.

                      George, you’ve said a number of times that slavery was evil, yet when that appellation is applied to the American South, you can’t help making repeated statements that range from being an apologist to frankly the phantasmagorical level. Your statement that 70% of Afro-Americans have European ancestry because of interracial marriages that occurred after 1865 is flabbergasting. How does one reconcile this with the fact that most states banned interracial marriages. It wasn’t until 1967 that the Supreme Court found these laws unconstitutional. In 1998, South Carolina finally removed its constitutional ban of interracial marriages and in 2000, Alabama became the last state to overturn a law banning interracial marriages.

                      I find your term “slave mistresses” somewhat amusing–is that what they were? In regards to sexual relations, a slave, male or female, did not have the legal right to say no to their slaveowner. That constitutes rape no matter the circumstances.

                      You want to lament the growth and reach of the federal government and its negative influence on morality, ethics, personal responsibility and accountability, and family, I’m with you 100%. But the federal government has done many good things as well, not the least of which was the elimination of slavery and later segregation.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      George, normally, I agree with you on politics, but I’m going to have to call you on the carpet when it comes to “Recent DNA testing has shown that even though 70% of African-Americans have some European ancestry, this is mostly the result of interracial marriages that took place after 1865.”

                      While it is true that 70% of blacks have some European ancestry, it is not true that most of this was the result of interracial marriages taking place after 1865. Yes, some were undoubted a result of such marriages, but it is also true that there were quite a few relationships that were not formed under marriage rituals. How many? We don’t know. But it’s not like after 1865 people were saying, oh, wow, its okay for blacks and whites to get married. Why else did it take Loving v. Virginia to reach the Supreme Court back in the sixties?

                      Last year, my sister had DNA analysis done on our family, and as it turns out, my father’s paternal lineage originated in Scandinavia. While we still don’t know exactly who my great-grandfather was and where his side were from, it is probably likely that it was some kind of relationship between a slave and a master.

                    • Logan, I in no way am, every have been, or will be, an apologist for slavery. It is truly the Original Sin of America. And its legacy is blighting us to this day.

                      OK, got that?

                      Yes, you’re right: interracial marriage was illegal in most all states. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. In antebellum society, there was the so-called One-Drop rule. That meant that if you were European in every aspect but had just one black ancestor (even a great-great-grandmother) you were effectively consigned to “Negro” status. These people had no marital options but other African-Americans. Legally speaking, this was not an “interracial marriage” but a marriage between a passably white-looking Negro and another Negro.

                      This color bar was so invidious that African ancestry seeping into a Euro-American bloodline was next to impossible. Simply put, the mere possibility that a family may have had African ancestry effectively doomed their marital prospects –that is if you were looking to marry into a white family. Exceptions occurred, as they always do. For example, Pres Warren G Harding had to constantly fight rumors that one of his four great-grandfathers was black. (And remember, this ancestor may have only been 1/2, 1/4, or even 1/8 black himself but because of the One-Drop rule he would have been forever castigated as a Negro.) Likewise J Edgar Hoover, who did everything in his power to suppress rumors of African ancestry. The upshot was that it was far easier and accepted for a predominantly white person to marry a predominantly black person than for this same predominantly white person to marry an all-white person.

                      The list of people who are considered black but who have pronounced European features is legendary: WEB DuBois, Lena Horne, Rita Moreno, Gen William O Davis, Sen Edward Brooks, Colin Powell, Adolph Caeser (a character-actor), etc. The phenomenon of the One Drop Rule applied to American Indians as well but the modern Indian nations have gone out of their way to expel people who are predominantly white but whose great-grandfather was on the Tribal Rolls simply because he was 1/4 Indian. With African-Americans however, there has been no similar drive to expel those who are predominantly white.

                      Quite simply, the rate of interracial marriage has exploded within the last two generations, augmenting the European ancestry of American blacks, probably to the 70% (or greater) demographic.

                      And anyway, even if we take away the relatively high intermarriage rate of the past 40 years, the probability that the European contingent of most African-Americans coming from a relatively small European founder of less than 1,000 men still holds true, as does the vast number of Lemba who are descended from just nine Jewish cohanim (priests).

                      On an aside note, the sexual promiscuity of white slave-owners was not always directed to many slave-mistresses. For example, Sally Hemmings, Thomas Jefferson’s purported slave-mistress had six children. All that DNA testing has shown is that all of Hemming’s descendants from the male side (her son’s son’s sons, etc.) had DNA consistent with the male line of the Jefferson family. This of course makes it probable that Jefferson was the sire of several of her children but it in no way exonerates other males in the Jefferson household. In fact, two of Jefferson’s nephews were often spotted outside of Hemming’s quarters at several different times.

                      What’s my point? Let’s assume that Jefferson and his two nephews impegnated Hemmings at different times in her life. This would mean that we are talking about three white slave-owners having their way with one mistress.

                    • Lola, I see your point. My wording was sloppy in that I did not define what I meant by “interracial marriages taking place after 1865.” Please see response to Logan46 above. I should have been clearer in what I meant by “interracial marriage.” I was speaking about the genetic reality of a man who was 1/4 Negro marrying a woman who was 7/8 Negro. The man for all intents and purposes looks 100% European but because he had known African ancestry, he was considered by white society to be black.

                      Under this type of racial caste system, it was far easier for those who had some African ancestry to go ahead and marry those who were predominantly Negro.

                    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

                      Recently I read a very interesting article about DNA research into the amount of European heritage amongst black people and African heritage amongst white people – http://essays.backintyme.com/item/5. The researcher was intrigued by the results of the analysis, one of which had a very high rate of African heritage for a white subject, which was something like 25%. It was only later on that he realized that this subject was him!

                      As it turns out, this revealed a family secret – apparently someone a couple generations ago had passed for white. There’s a good number of Americans, especially in the South, who would be labeled white, but as it turns out, have a good amount of African heritage due to the fact that someone was able to blend into the white society.

  17. cynthia curran says

    George, not crazy about Russia and Russia problems are the result of having property laws after the fall of the old Soviet Union even behind the age of Justinian. Property laws take time to developed. As for Russia I doubt anyone really wants to invade Russia, the Us wanted agrue about Russia and the Ukraine and so forth. In fact even National Review did an interesting interview with Connie Rice that discuss relations with Putin and there were some issues that both the US and Russia agree upon. As for the war I think Bush made a big blunder he thought he could just get rid of a tyrant and replaced it with a stable government. Not that easy and of course Sadam had killed thousands of his own people that doesn’t mean that we should have went to war there. Maybe, i’m soft on people that make blunders. Anyway, the US could have intervene in Poland in 1956 and it didn’t. As for the Olgarchs in Russia, the black market created them, it was because the state own things that a black market arose and black markets don’t have regulation. The people who ran the black market once the old system fell were going to be in charge from their business experiance in the underground economy.

  18. cynthia curran says

    As for Obama winning, that’s possible its still not end of the world.In fact both parties have cause more damage changing the US Demgraphics. Most of the southwest had a lot lower poverty levels however the demographics were changed by lots of immirgation and in the case of New Mexico and Arizona the losing of mining to countries like Chile. Obama had to make comprise since his party doesn’t dominate things and I predict that not only the south but the midwest will probably have the Republicans win to counterbalance the Democratics.

  19. cynthia curran says

    Well, Ken I agree with you that Putin is somewhat an autocratic however is the alternative better now. There are nationalist and the old communists worst than Putin. Putin while being Russian reminds me of a Byzantine ruler since he is accuse of getting rid of arrivals.

    • Ken Miller says

      Cynthia, the issue is the means, not the ends. If Putin’s enemies were the ones suppressing the press and violating free elections, I would be against them even if I agreed with their end goals. It seems trite to say it, but the ends have never in the history of the world justified the means. The means are as important or even more important than the ends. As fate would have it, Putin is wrong both on the means and the ends. He and his FSB friends are still Checkists at heart, and he has been systematically dismantling both democracy (the free press and free elections) and capitalism (nationalizing major sectors of the economy). They may be a minority right nhow, but I think the future is the youth, and I believe the youth want freedom and self-determination in their country.

  20. cynthia curran says

    As for Hagia Sophia I don’t think either Moslems or Christians should worship there it would cause too many problems in Istanibul. Yes, its important to a lot of Orthodox but the current Hagia Sophia which is the third church had somewhat of a bloody past, 30,000 people were killed in the Nika Riot and it was built after the Riot. In fact there are still some remains of the 2nd church which was burn during the Riots in front of the current church.

    • Ken Miller says

      I have been to Hagia Sophia. It is wonderful to have access, even as a museum. I would rather it be a museum than to over-reach, try to re-establish it as a church only to have the pendulum swing and have it converted to a mosque.

  21. cynthia curran says

    Well, that’s great of the church in Russia helping Greece. The average Russian actual income is below the average Greek. Granted, the bad economy in Greece makes things a lot worst.

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