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A Sordid Anniversary, To Be Remembered

On September 24, 1949, Georgii Karpov, chairman of the agency that provided “liaison” to the Russian Orthodox Church for the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, wrote Josef Stalin and his chief henchmen a confidential letter reeking with self-congratulation. The “government’s instruction on the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Havana Declaration

For me, the text of the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill’s joint declaration came as a surprise, as did their meeting and its location in Havana. This document is significantly better in style and content than any earlier official document or statement from the Russian Orthodox Church. Simply . . . . Continue Reading »

Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill

The February 12 meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is important for a number of reasons, and we should pray that it will be guided by the Holy Spirit. For Christians and all people of good will, it is always a welcome sight when estranged brothers take a new first step towards each . . . . Continue Reading »

Putin, Stalin, and the Church

On Orthodox Easter, just weeks before Russia’s 70th Victory Day celebration, Russian Patriarch Kirill addressed scores of the faithful, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He likened the resurrection of Christ—who, in Orthodox parlance, “trampled down death by death”—to the Russian, née Soviet, victory over the Nazis.“When spiritual heroism becomes the substance not only of the individual but of an entire people... the nation acquires enormous spiritual strength, which no disasters or enemies are capable of overcoming,” he told those gathered in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. “The truth of these words is evidently attested by the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, achieved by the self-sacrificing heroism of our people.” Continue Reading »

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