PATRIARCH KIRILL of Moscow has accused Protestant churches of supporting ideas and practices that “destroy the very concept of the family”, and has vowed that his country will continue standing “on the side of God’s truth”.
He continued: “Before our eyes, fundamental Christian values are being eroded, as priority is given to so-called universal or liberal values. Through preserving independence, we are enabling our people to rely on the Church’s spiritual and intellectual power — in defending the institution of marriage and purity of relationships, and in speaking out against terrible perversions.”
The Patriarch was speaking on Sunday at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Moscow, after celebrating the festival (kept since the ninth century) of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
Russia and its Orthodox Church, he said, had retained a capacity to “distinguish good from evil”, while standing “on the side of God’s truth and rejecting useless political correctness. Our vocation is to preserve the Orthodox faith, while at the same time influencing public life and the world-view of our people, especially the young, as much as possible, so that our country remains faithful to the great moral principles taught by the Lord himself.
“Humbly, calmly, and without excessive sophistication, we are opposing all the innovations that have manifested themselves not just in Western philosophy and theology, but also in the practice of Protestant churches which are supporting same-sex marriages and destroying the very concept of the family."
The Patriarch’s comments mirror those made by President Putin in a speech late last month to the Russian Federal Assembly, in which he accused “the Anglican Church” of “questioning sacred texts” and exploring “the idea of a gender-neutral god” (News, 24 February), and Western elites of forcing priests “to bless same-sex marriages”, while normalising “destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion and abuse of children".
A commentary on Monday on the Moscow Patriarchate’s website said that Russia’s traditional values were being attacked by “the United States and its allies, as well as by transnational corporations”, and praised President Putin for denouncing “satanic” Western policies.
The commentary said that Russia was now “returning to its true historical path, uniting the forcibly divided parts of the Russian people”, and using the idea of a “Russian world” as the basis for “social conventions and legal institutions”, as well as for a “democratic statism” through which “a strong centralised, paternal state guards the interests of the majority".
It said that Hitler’s Third Reich had been a “natural ally” for Britain and the US in achieving “long-term goals”, while Anglo-American democracy had since become “the new name for fascism".
It continued: “Today Russia is breaking this system, breaking the sacred, quasi-religious attitude towards Western values and institutions — our forced but inevitable struggle against transatlanticism is a national liberation struggle.
“Historically, this ideology is a product of the culture of secularised Protestantism. But today the world is on the verge of overcoming not only neoliberalism and globalism, but also the very paradigmatic foundations of Protestant modernity."
In his address on Sunday, Patriarch Kirill said that many “liberal thinkers” had believed that East-West conflicts were “long gone”, and that “the solidarity of Christians of different faiths in the face of global problems” should not be hindered by “past theological disagreements".
He argued, however, that Russia would “lose its authenticity” if it accepted “Western theological and philosophical thought”, and said that his Church now had to “clearly identify” with a new “battle against evil spirits in high places".
“I appeal to our clergy: today, we must preach with strength, love and wisdom, helping our people not to stumble,” Patriarch Kirill said.
“The time for political correctness has passed. We must truly fight for our people, our Church and our Fatherland, for everything the Lord gave us through our great ancestors, so Holy Rus and our people, living by God’s law, will be preserved."