(If you haven't already, please read Putin the Pious first.)
|President Putin and Patriarch Kirill|
Present mirrors past in how the Russian Orthodox Church relates to Judaism.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch announces church-government inquiry to prove that the Tsar was killed in 1917 as part of a Jewish ritual
Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church says he's working with Vladimir Putin to convene a Church-based inquiry into whether the execution of the royal family by revolutionaries in 1917 was actually a Jewish ritual killing; this appears to be an actual thing the Russian state is about to do, with many details confirmed in a public statement by Moscow's General Prosecutor.And whether there was "collusion" with Russia during the 2016 presidential election or not, we see the same dynamics at work in the Trump era of the USA. There is a Christian Dominionist Vice President waiting in the wings with many more sitting quietly in key positions. There is no doubt that they would admire and sympathize with Putin's religious agenda. Putin is making Russia "great again."
Reviving Old Lies to Unite a New Russia
Many Russians, especially among radical nationalist groups, accept the charge of ritual murder as part of a vicious conspiracy theory: that rather than a Bolshevik crime, the Romanovs’ murder was the product of a Judeo-Masonic plot to sacrifice the czar’s family in a religious ritual intended to symbolize a murder of the Russian people.
The accusation of ritual murder, of course, has a much longer history. In the violent anti-Semitism that pervaded the czarist empire, the murder of a Christian child in murky circumstances would typically be attributed to Jews, who were falsely accused of needing the blood of a child for religious rituals — the infamous “blood libel.”
Such pernicious lies helped provoke particularly brutal eruptions against Jews in Russia, making the word “pogrom” part of a gruesome universal vocabulary. One of the most notorious pogroms broke out in Kishinev (now Chisinau, Moldova) on the Easter Sunday of April 17, 1903, after anti-Semitic groups accused Jews there of committing a “ritual murder.” For two days, the authorities did nothing to stop the rampage of a drunken mob; 49 Jews were killed, over 500 wounded and an unknown number of women raped.
...The fact is that the Kremlin has been relying on the church more than ever, unleashing fundamentalist forces and turning a political campaign into a moral crusade. And at the center of the Kremlin’s efforts, promoting patriotic causes, is Bishop Tikhon, the chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture and a member of the Presidential Council for Culture.
...the Kremlin and the church, which face a declining ethnic Russian population and rising numbers of Muslims, are on a Russification campaign to make the multiethnic Russian Federation a more homogeneous nation-state united by Russian people and the Orthodox Church.
Mr. Putin seems determined to ride a wave of Russian nationalism, Christian fundamentalism and anti-Semitism like the one 100 years ago that helped bring the Russian empire to the cataclysm of war and revolution.
Turning their backs to the lessons of the past, church and state are again unleashing sinister forces of right-wing extremism and marching hand in hand into a dark unknown.
Russian Orthodox Church revival under Putin continuesNow, what does this mean for Jews in Israel? What happens when East and West unite to take Jerusalem? Gog uMagog.
The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) has been expanding at the rate of nearly 1,000 churches a year, according to its head, Patriarch Kirill. Speaking at the Council of Bishops in Moscow, Kirill said the ROC now numbers 34,764 churches. Five thousand have been built or restored since 2009.
The Church has 361 bishops, nearly 40,000 priests and deacons, 455 monasteries and 471 convents.
The position of the ROC under the presidency of Vladimir Putin has strengthened considerably and it is increasingly identified with a nationalist agenda. Putin himself revealed in 2012 that he was illicitly baptised as an infant at the behest of his mother against the wishes of his staunchly Communist father at a time when the Church was still out of favour.
Around 23,000 churches fell into disrepair or were demolished during Communist rule. However, Putin has sought to reverse this decline, signing orders restoring some of the Church's large landholdings confiscated under Communism.
Between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Middle East CrisisAn ominous and dire threat that I'm sure most of us had no inkling of until now. I certainly never dreamed that Russia's war in Syria had a religious basis. Hashem help and protect us!
In a speech delivered on May 6 last, Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, defined the Russian war in Syria as a conflict "against global terrorism" and hence suggested a "holy war" to free not only the Middle East, but also the entire Christian civilization, from this "fierce and deceitful enemy."
Russia as a "third Rome," after the first falling and the second failing, because it surrendered to the profane world.
Patriarch Kirill believes that Christians are in terrible danger in many countries – and this is the reason why the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church cherishes good memories of the meeting he had in Cuba with Pope Francis.
A meeting that, as Patriarch Kirill said, "took place in the right place and at the right time." After one thousand years.
The Church of Rome has realized that modern society is failing and that an alliance of religions is needed to save the world. This is an idea that the Patriarch of Moscow has always had and, after the USSR collapse, Russia can finally work freely with the West.
And Patriarch Kirill has certainly been the least pro-Soviet of the Orthodox Fathers.
In other words, the Russian Church – closely linked to the new regime of Vladimir Putin, who never forgets his role as believer – is thinking of an agreement, not necessarily hegemonic, with the Roman Church.
An agreement to overcome the "two worlds," the East and the West, and unite and federate the Middle East, the cradle of the faith (and of the faiths) and the strategic axis between the East and the West.
...According to Patriarch Kirill, however, peace in the Middle East can be certainly achieved with the new relationship established with the Church of Rome, but above all, by reactivating the old "Orthodox Imperial Society of Palestine," which shall reacquire all the huge and ancient Russian properties in the Middle East.
The Society also wants to reacquire the Israeli side of the Monastery of Saints Cyril and Methodius and put back in order the Monastery of Alexandrovsky in Jerusalem, as well as the other eleven churches and the three Orthodox sites still owned by the Russian Orthodox Church outside the motherland.
One of the largest and symbolically most important properties of the Churches in all the Sacred Places, which Patriarch Kirill (and Putin) will use with extreme subtlety to conquer Middle East peoples’ minds and hearts.
The cross of the Slavic Church has two inscriptions in Russian, which are very important, especially today: "For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet" (Isaiah, 62).
Hence, Patriarch Kirill’s underlying idea is to return to the pre-revolutionary situation when there were over 100 Orthodox schools and education institutes in 50 different cities throughout Syria.
An immense cultural and political presence that no media propaganda can supplant and replace.
Currently, 500 Palestinian children are already attending the Russian school in Bethlehem, opened under the aegis of the Imperial Society.
...Hence, another asset of the Russian Church, which is preparing Russia’s expansion throughout the region, between Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, by taking credit for the protection of Christians, including those faithful to Rome.
...Patriarch Kirill's goals also include support for the small, but growing Catholic community speaking Hebrew and operating in Israel, as well as defining fixed dates for pilgrimages to the Holy Land so as to maintain a continuous flow of faithful from abroad.
According to Patriarch Kirill, all Christian communities are protected in Israel.
And the Jewish State can develop – without losing its identity – into a political entity protecting religious minorities throughout the Middle East.
The great presence of Russian migrants in the Jewish State makes many Orthodox pilgrims "feel at home," and the current agreement between Russia and Israel on passports makes everything easier.
Also at a religious level, the Russian Orthodoxy is essentially a geopolitical project to protect all Christian minorities throughout the Middle East – as "major shareholder" of Christianity – as well as to collaborate with the Vatican, which still has a pro-Western geopolitics, and finally create a cultural and religious climate to support Russia's operations.
In short, Patriarch Kirill wants Israel to collaborate with his interreligious project. He particularly appreciates the significant presence of the Jewish State in Russia and proposes a relationship between Orthodox people and Judaism, foreshadowing – at a religious level – the future bilateral and preferential relationship between Russia and Israel.
As to Saudi Arabia, the Russian Church has supported President Putin's policy of opening, by maintaining that all the Islamic countries, often hit by ISIS, such as Saudi Arabia, must enter an interreligious alliance against extremism and terrorism in a multilateral context.
...Hence, while in the Greater Middle East, the Westerners ally with vast Islamic communities known as "moderates," the Russian Orthodox Church becomes the united pole of all the Christians in the region. Furthermore, while the Vatican reduces its presence in the core of the Islamic world, to avoid retaliation or to promote dialogue with the Mohammedans in Europe, the Russian Church establishes a stable relationship with all religious faiths in the region. Finally, while Islam has its own statehood, the Orthodox Russia treats us amicably; while Judaism discusses in theological terms, the Russian Church extends the interreligious debate also to Israel.
Hence, for Russia, the construction of religious hegemony, which seems to be the necessary shadow of Putin’s project for multipolar control over the Middle East after the United States being forced to leave the region, due to the many mistakes made, thus leaving it in the hands of unreliable "friends."