Generous Orthodoxy  




Friday, December 30, 2011

God's work in the Russian church?

Some of us prize the church's witness in the great "people power" movements of the past hundred years more than we do its stance on abortion, gay rights, etc., important though those issues are. In this sphere, the Eastern Orthodox churches have not distinguished themselves. Western Protestants and Roman Catholics, despite some significant failures in certain geographical areas and certain causes (e.g. Protestants in El Salvador, Catholics in Franco's Spain), have to a large degree been at the forefront of some of the most important freedom movements--civil rights in the US, Solidarity in Poland, the revolution in the Philippines. For the most part, the Orthodox churches have lacked the dynamic and activist impulses which the Reformation did so much to encourage. The Russian Orthodox churches were singularly quiescent during the Stalinist period.

Therefore today's news of stirrings in Russia is worthy of attention. The mild protests of Patriarch Kirill I are hardly in the class of John Paul II hurling challenges at the Polish communists, but nevertheless they are a sign of God's movements. What has roused the Patriarch? Well, nothing less, it seems, than the Occupy movement, perhaps the Arab Spring, and certainly the recent uprisings of ordinary Russians against corruption at the ballot box.

"People power" is the most important evidence of God's hand in geopolitics in our time, perhaps in any time in world history. To be continued.

Here is the link to the entire article, well worth reading throughout:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/europe/russian-orthodox-church-turns-from-kremlin-ally-to-critic.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper