Sunday, August 29, 2010

Orthodox Church Rising in Influence in Russia

This is one of those "hmmmm...." articles that everyone should read.

Long lost Jesus icon in Kremlin restored to view
By Mikhail Antonov and Nikolai Isayev
Posted 2010/08/28 at 10:14 am EDT

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I think the look on Medvedev's face says it all.
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev attends the blessing
of an ancient Orthodox icon which is being restored to
its pre-revolutionary position on the Kremlin's
Spassky Gate in Moscow, August 28, 2010.
REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin
MOSCOW, Aug. 28, 2010 (Reuters) — An icon of Jesus embedded in a Kremlin gate used by Soviet leaders but bricked over in the 1930s during communist times was restored on Saturday to public view.

On a rainy and windy day of the Assumption in the Orthodox calendar, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill unveiled the icon that has been covered for more than 70 years and had been regarded as lost.

The icon could have been immured in 1937 -- the exact date is unknown -- when Soviet authorities celebrated the 20th anniversary of the coup of the Bolsheviks, who waged war against organized religion, destroying temples and icons across the country.

The icon, which had adorned the Moscow site since the 16th century, was rediscovered in the spring when the Spasskaya Tower gates, the main entrance to the Kremlin overlooking Red Square, were being renovated.

Medvedev, speaking from under an umbrella on the day that marks the Virgin Mary's being taken into heaven, said the "Saviour Smolensky" icon, which is 2.2 by 1.5 m (yards) wide and depicts Jesus holding open the New Testament, with Russian saints below him, will provide moral support to Russia.

"Now that we've got the icon back, our country secures an additional defense," he said after Kirill, struggling to keep his cap on his head in a strong wind, anointed the icon.

The official presence at the event is another sign of the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, opposed by rights groups and some other religious confessions.

The trend toward consolidation of the church as a national force in Russia has worried its 20-million strong Muslim population -- a seventh of Russia's people -- as well as those who believe church and state should be kept strictly separate.

The Orthodox Church has undergone a revival since the fall of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago ended decades of repression under communism, and Russia's leaders have endorsed it as the country's main faith.

"There is a special meaning in today's event, particularly, it's in the unity of the Church and people," Medvedev said.

(Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Michael Roddy)

Rather sounds like language out of the so-called "Islamic Republic" of Iran, doesn't it.  Scary stuff, really scary.  Cloaking fascism in religiosity, and people are following like lemmings right to the edge of the cliff.  The same thing is going on here in the United States, except here they're calling it "a return to values" because we still maintain the appearance of separation of religion and state in law, if not in practice and emotional rhetoric. 

The world truly has not learned the lessons of the past. 


Czarist said...

Mankind has been losing the war for human souls for nearly a century. The secular state has failed us all - the bloodiest, most perverse, most corrupt, most usurous century in the history of our species.

I applaud Iran, their return to truth and sustainability fills me with hope. But this - because they are my people - fills me with even greater hope.

Jan said...

Dear Czarist, I am no communist or socialist, but I have to agree that Marx was right when he said that religion is the oppiate for the masses. In times of maximum stress in the world corrupt leaders use religion as a club and a carrott, and it disgusts me. It is my hope that the poor abused citizens of Mother Russia will be smarter than to fall for this classic misdirection from what is the TRUE malaise in their country: the corrupt, vile and hypocritical leadership.

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