Why do Orthodox like to quarrel with each other
We are thinking about the situation around the Sretensky seminary and the Pravmir portal.
Illustration by Andrei Tatarko
Traditionally, Petrovsky fasting is called missionary, preparing for the preaching of the Gospel to unbelievers. At the same time, today we cannot even formulate what missionary is, which we are constantly talking about. For some, the mission is to bring a person to the temple, for others to teach how to read the New Testament. Someone thinks that churching is impossible without meeting with Christ. Others are convinced that a mission is needed among the churched, but not meeting Christ. There is no single language, common concepts, there is no intelligible and theologically meaningful goal of the mission …
However, no matter how much we understand missionary service, the end of the Petrovsky post of 2019 turned out to be monstrously anti-missionary … After the past Synod, rumors about the imminent elimination of Sretensky Theological Seminary, the brainchild of Metropolitan Tikhon (Shevkunov), beloved by many, spread. No, of course, there will be no formal liquidation. The seminary is simply planned to be relocated to Sergiev Posad and merged with the IBC, and in its place transfer the master's and postgraduate MDA. But we all understand that the Moscow teachers who worked in the seminary, will not go to Sergiev Posad. Yes, and two different seminaries – this is clearly a bit too much for one Lavra, someone will have to give up. And to whom it is also obvious. But in terms of the level of education, Sretenskaya was by no means inferior to other seminaries (in any case, seminarians say so on the basis of studies of the Study Committee).
September 1 at Sretensky Seminary
The irony of fate is that Sretensky seminary is being evicted from there, from where, 25 years ago, then hieromonk Tikhon (Shevkunov) was evicted by another missionary, Father George Kochetkov. There is some kind of completeness in this story. True, this time at least there are no accusations of sectarianism and "creating a community opposing the Church." But this is not necessary. It is not necessary to be disloyal to be “optimized”. It is enough just to be unpleasant leadership.
Personally, the tradition of Vladyka Tikhon (Shevkunov) is not close to me. But even I understand that the destruction of one of the few living educational centers of the Russian Church is hardly conducive to the success of the mission (no matter how much we understand it). However, he is not the first. Only recently, the missionary department of PSTGU and the only theological portal “Theological scholar. Ru” closed from lack of money.
Well, education costs money, and, let's say, this money really has nowhere to go, the sponsors flatly refuse to support the missionary department or the small, unloaded website of The Theologian. But there are missionary projects that do not require church money. Which should not interfere … It turns out, it is better to close anyway than to allow at least some controversial statement. How to close the YouTube channel "Cyberpop" for 50,000 subscribers (this is more than the official channel of the Russian Orthodox Church).
And now, on the eve of the missionary holiday of the Apostles Peter and Paul, there is another scandal. The portal “Orthodoxy and Peace” has long caused a lot of criticism among conservative Orthodox. But “Pravmir” was originally a missionary, open to the public portal, trying to lead discussions on controversial topics. And the controversial topics are controversial, that different points of view are possible on them, even among the Orthodox. Nevertheless, Pravmir tried to strike a balance between controversy and the avoidance of painful topics for the Patriarchate. The portal or diligently bypassed such topics (after the well-known statements about the episcopate, the father Andrei Kuraev was no longer published on the portal), or he was definitely a patriarchal position (as in the case of the “Confession of a former novice” or the Ukrainian question). As a result, many of those who are called "church liberals" have moved away from the portal. Alas, for the conservatives, the portal remained a stranger. But at least the former statements of the patriarchy were in force, that “Pravmir is good.” And, let's say honestly, no matter how much we understand missionary work, Pravmir deals with them to the best of their ability.
Recently Anna Danilova, the chief editor of the Pravmir portal, wrote on Facebook that she was on maternity leave.
But now there were voices of official representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, declaring that the portal is no longer “Orthodox”. The reason for this was the statement of the confessor of “Pravmir”, Archpriest Alexander Ilyashenko, that he no longer has any relation to the editorial board. This was announced through the portal "Pravoslavie.ru" with the comment of the deputy chairman of the synodal department for relations with society. But you can part in different ways. You can sit together, talk, prepare a joint statement. So and so, we part, it will be better … But for some reason, the scandalous version was implemented. And on the "Pravmir" about this not a word. And on "Pravoslavii.ru" not a word about the planned relocation of the native seminary.
All this is very sad. The five-year plan to combat the "traitors in cassocks" ended successfully. The conservative wing of the Church can sleep peacefully, they only lose the seminary (and then – suddenly an administrative resource will help Vladyka Tikhon defend it). But there is no place for any liberal ideas there. You can continue to hear that women are weaker in mind than men from the chairman of the patriarchal commission on maternity protection. Maybe even occasionally they will say from above that “this is his personal opinion,” but they will not give any other opinions and will not be banished from the pulpit. The “Pravmir” heresy is exposed, the Cyberpop no longer speaks to young people, and PSTGU does not release missionaries.
Maybe try to find something good in this situation? Maybe the plus is that things are called by their proper names? Illusions are gradually dissipated and Christians have to choose with whom and where they will go next. Maybe the truth can not get along together in the same church "Pravmir" and "Orthodoxy.ru"? And you can not try to sit on two chairs, and go read the "Father Luther" in the telegram channel and discuss it with the brothers in the faith?
In Russia, they are very fond of the question: “What should I do?” As in the famous joke, there are two solutions to the problem: fantastic and realistic. Well, for example, after the published statements, those priests who are closer to Pravmir (and those who are its authors) can tell the whole Church:
“Brothers and sisters, Pravmir is a normal Orthodox website. I love him / respect him (option: I don’t love him, but I admit such a point of view) and recommend (I don’t see any sin) read, if not churched, then certainly a new one. ”
Well, let's say the priests are family people. They have children, parishes, and they are not ready to make loud statements (or they simply do not care). I understand that I myself have never been in such a situation. But after all, young people who are not connected in any way study in Sretensky seminary, why not oppose them? Mass write applications for deduction? After all, they should understand: today the seminary is transferred to Sergiev Posad, and tomorrow they will be sent with small children to restore the temple of the village of Golodomorov with the beaten track. This practice of resettlement of the clergy, although anti-canonical and harmful for the parish, flourished in unprecedented levels before the revolution. And it will not disappear by itself. The only thing that fears above is publicity. So why not defend today the seminary in which you study, and in the future – the opportunity to serve for many years in the temple where you will be ordained?
But there was still a realistic option in that joke: the aliens would arrive and solve our problems for us.
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