"An open letter from priests in defense of prisoners in the Moscow case": missionary effect
On the portal "Orthodoxy and Peace" published an open letter from priests in defense of prisoners in the "Moscow case". Priests Alexander Borisov, Leonid Griliches, John (Guaita), Sergiy Kruglov, Alexander Kukhta, Vladimir Lapshin, Andrey Lorgus, Fedor Lyudogovsky, Savva (Mazhuko), Vyacheslav Perevezentsev, Dimitri (Pershin), Alexy Uminsky and others – well-known, respected, beloved the flock, "fulfilling the pastoral duty of mourning for prisoners," they expressed "the conviction of the need to review court decisions in the form of prison sentences awarded to a number of persons involved in the" Moscow case ". Priests believe that “the sentences handed down are more like intimidation of Russian citizens than a fair decision regarding the defendants.” Moreover, in connection with the testimony of the policemen, because of which people go to prison for years, the shepherds remind “to all who gave or will testify in this and other cases, the words of the Holy Scripture:“ A false witness will not go unpunished, and who says lies will perish ”(Proverbs 19: 9). Perjury makes a person an accomplice in the trial of the Savior, which was also based on the testimony of perjurers (Matthew 26.60). ”
In general, Orthodox priests stood up for the innocently convicted and convicted, stood up against a system that wanted to swallow the innocent. For example, for the Orthodox participant in the protests – Alexey Minyailo (see his old interview on whether the Orthodox can go to rallies).
We are already accustomed to the fact that any media presence of the Russian Orthodox Church causes, if not the majority, then many, many, irritation and ridicule. In response to this annoyance and ridicule, they speak of a “media attack on the Church,” etc. But the priests advocated mercy and justice – and there is no media attack.
“ROC of a healthy person”, “Priests of a healthy person, and not those who ride in wheelbarrows and yachts”, “This proves once again that there are many real people among the priests. That's just the top of the ROC rotted through and through, "" Honestly, amazed. I did not expect such a step from them. Respect for such a version of the Russian Orthodox Church ”,“ It’s for sure the Russian Orthodox Church, I don’t really believe in such a thing … ”, etc. – here are a few comments from the“ Lentach ”, which users least expect even the slightest sympathy for the Church. Such comments are the majority. The same reaction was to the news about the help of Hieromonk John (Guaita) to the protesters.
A small, in fact, symbolic little step of love in the political field – and hatred of the Church vanished. Is the recipe for “fighting atheism" clear now?
Alexey Minyailo has been in custody since August 2
Banality No. 1: mission
I must say one banality, known to everyone, but important: what is called "atheism", "anti-clericalism" – as a rule, this is not atheism or anti-clericalism, but a breakdown of expectations. Because the Church in the minds of people is something "about love, non-covetousness, mercy, the Gospel", etc., and people in the ROC MP, at least in its media display, not only do not see these things, but see something the opposite of them.
From here comes the simplest missionary recipe: for people to come to the Church, they need to (at least purely symbolically) reveal the Church, that's all. A gesture of help, as in the case of Father John (Guaita), a gesture of protection of mercy and justice, as in the "Open Letter", only that the Church would be the Church – that’s all that is needed for the mission. People already love the Church, its heavenly idea, you just need not to disrupt their expectations, at least a little match this idea.
Konstantin Kotov sentenced to four years
Banality number 2: the present
Here we find a solution to the problem "Church and modernity." There is no need to “pacify”, “renew”, “reform”, “modernize”, “bring people closer” to the Church. It is not a matter of modernity, but of actualization of eternity. Mercy, justice, to be on the side of the oppressed, not to smoke incense to worldly masters – these are eternal truths of God, the same as those of the prophets, that of the Gospel, that of the Holy Fathers. People come to the Church for Eternity; everything else is in abundance in the world. People will come to the Church if she can update Eternity here-and-now.
Rallies, courts – this is what is relevant here-and-now. Just as this poor man needs alms, just like this sick person needs medicine, so eternal truths do not “exist” at all, not abstractly, not in words, but in a concrete case. These people were driven by the Rosgvardeytsy – and Father John helped them, updated Eternity. These people are judged unjustly – and priests took their side – actualized Eternity. They churched a small fragment of modernity (they didn’t modernize, but ’eternalized’). And people noticed it. People saw the Church precisely as the Church, the source of eternal truths.
Pavel Ustinov sentenced to three and a half years
Banality No. 3: politics
Here we find a solution to the problem "Church and politics." Of course, the Church does not and should not have a “political program”. It's just that politics is part of life, that is, something where moral choice takes place, where "the devil fights with God." The church should not be engaged in politics, for its business – we repeat once again – the actualization of Eternity. Someone will say: well, "the priests have sided with the liberals," "why all this politics," etc. The real "politicization", the real "peace" takes place in union with the authorities, with mayors, governors, "sponsors", etc. e. Here the Church loses Eternity, loses itself: and this is what people feel in their “atheism” and “anti-clericalism”.
John Chrysostom, “fighting” with the Byzantine elite, did not make peace, he was a true shepherd; those "shepherds" who judged him became reconciled. It is the same now, because it is so in Eternity. In the letter of the priests there is not a single gram of “politics” – there are eternal Christian truths (the priests were not politicized, but Christianized a small fragment of politics): protecting the weak, exposing the strong. Like in the bible. To be with the convicted is Christian: this is how Christianity is actualized. Being with the authorities is a common thing for the priests, there is no Christianity here. The first leads to Christianity, for there is true Christianity; the second alienates, for, being called Christianity, it is not.
Forty priests spoke out in defense of those arrested and prisoners. Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy chairman of the Church-Society and Media Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, spoke out against forty priests (carried out a “media attack”):
“Yes, these priests feel a public request for justice and tried to satisfy it as they could, perhaps they sincerely worry about the fate of those in bondage, regardless of their guilt, people, like any Orthodox person. However, they should be aware that with political declarations one can only try to fight the authorities, and not transform the world on the basis of the truth of Christ, but the fact is that the struggle against the authorities has never been and never will be the mission of the Church.
The shepherd is called to educate an incorruptible and faithful judge, an honest law enforcement officer and a lawyer, and these people, acting in their own places according to faith and conscience, will change, as far as possible, the world for the better. And signing declarations in which political rhetoric and sacred texts are strangely mixed is an easy but useless way. It seems to me that it would be much wiser for these indifferent priests to raise funds for a knowledgeable lawyer who could really help. ”
We hope that Vakhtang Kipshidze will raise funds for a knowledgeable lawyer, and for now we will analyze his statement. He sees “politics” in protecting prisoners, in actualizing gospel truths. But the politicians in the Pussy Riot case, in the scandals surrounding the “anti-church” cultural events, in the law on insulting the feelings of believers, in supporting the government (direct support for the authorities in the elections in 2012, etc.), etc. – obviously there is no politics in all this. Without going into specific details, we just ask: what will be the missionary and what will the anti-missionary effect be – the word of priests or the word of a synodal official? – the protection of those who are in custody or their compromise? What threat did the synodal official see in the simple, understandable, banal letter of the priests? – why they had to be pulled, why it was necessary again and again to shatter in loyalty, and not to say something equally banal: here the priests, of course, and, of course, according to the parable of the Last Judgment, stand on the side of the prisoners. By the way, in the parable about the Last Judgment, nothing is said about politics and the “public inquiry”, but about prisoners. What kind of power is this, if you speak out against injustice – is it to fight it? Would a synodal official also comment on the words of the prophets, John the Baptist, John Chrysostom, Philip of Moscow? If it is so bad to mix sacred texts and political rhetoric – why does the Bible itself carry so much political rhetoric? Why did Chrysostom mix them? “The struggle against power has never been and never will be the mission of the Church”: Moses never challenged the pharaoh, David never overthrew Saul, there were no Maccabee revolts, the prophets never denounced the kings, Zlatoust never denounced the Byzantine, and Philip – the Moscow authorities. So?
But the main thing for me is here: according to synodic logic, sacred texts should not be connected with political rhetoric: Eternity should not be soiled up to date, it should not be here-and-now. In fact, they are always connected, the question is how: both the text of the priests and the text of the synodal official connect them; let’s think which of them binds the gospel, and who does not.
The Church does not and should not have a political program: but Christians, as citizens, officials, the president, are engaged in politics, and so they should deal with it precisely as Christians (for example, Boris and Gleb, another example is Ivan the Terrible). Absolutely not touching on the problem of “power from God”, we just ask ourselves: if the Rosgvardeets, the judge, the mayor, the president were Christians, our political, economic, social reality would be the way we see it, or still some other?
The “clericalization” of modern Russia, as it were, implies that all the figures indicated are Christians, and, therefore, in their places they would not have allowed things like torture, inequality, love of power, love of money, bribery, etc. After all, this is pure truth – “the pastor is called to educate an incorruptible and loyal judge, an honest law enforcement officer and a lawyer. ” Is this the case, or is it somehow different? And if the situation is somehow different – do we need such clericalization, or is it real Christianization? Without visible signs of “ecclesiastical”, but with the reality of mercy and justice. Maybe these forty priests just by their letter and bring up the "incorruptible and faithful justice judge, honest law enforcement officer and lawyer"? But the synodal official, on the contrary, says to the judges, law enforcement officers and lawyers: Remain as you are, the Church will always be loyal to the authorities, will not grieve for the oppressed, will not expose the authorities?
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