The Church of Gundyayev and Putin: What awaits the Russian Orthodox Church

7 December 2022, 02:31 PM

For many Ukrainians, the finalization with the ban on the activities of the UOC of the Moscow Patriarchate is good news. But this situation is much deeper and more interesting.

The ban on the activities of the UOC-MP marks the end of the Soviet project of the universal church that Stalin created, and its transformation into an ordinary small church without claims to a global reach and no longer capable of universal coverage. It's no secret that in the USSR, the majority of church ministers were KGB agents. The situation has not changed much even today, when the Kremlin and the FSB have used the priests of the UOC-MP in the interests of Russia on a financial and ideological basis. I must say right away that not all ministers of the UOC-MP are Russian agents, but their number in the leadership of the church is huge, and it is also no secret that the sympathies of many priests of this patriarchate are on the side of Putin. Given all this, we can talk about the need to stop the work of these centers of the Kremlin’s ideological propaganda, which the parishes of the UOC-MP have become.

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But shutting down the UOC-MP in Ukraine will deal a devastating blow to the financial component of this structure. After its activities in Ukraine cease, the ROC will lose almost 40% of its flock and half of its income. Saying ‘half of its income’ is not an exaggeration. Moreover, all the expenses and financial needs of the ROC will have to be covered by the Russian budget, and then the ROC will finally turn into a state corporation with state funding, like some kind of Russia Shopping Mall with Vladimir Solovyov or Dmitry Kiselev.

The ban on the activities of the UOC-MP marks the end of the Soviet project of the universal church that Stalin created.

The Russian Orthodox Church will become another official, Kremlin-controlled propaganda machine for cultivating the electorate and brainwashing the flock. And at the same time, the Kremlin will be deprived of a powerful resource for shaping public opinion in Ukraine, and for influencing many processes by means of the UOC-MP’s integration with local authorities or through close personal relationships with government officials.

It is worth noting that most of the ordinary priests who today serve in the UOC-MP are ready to move to the OCU and abandon ROC Patriarch Kirill – Gundyayev. It will not always be a moral choice, but rather a pragmatic one, but it will be just that. After all this, Kirill will go down in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church as a destroyer of church unity and a schismatic patriarch who, with his words and deeds, not only split the church, but also managed to lose parishes and flocks. After all, history will lay the blame for everything that happens on Kirill and Putin, who have ensured that the ROC was actually castrated. These two already hold the shameful distinction of being the destroyers of the Russian church. Because after the departure of the Ukrainian part of the church, the ROC in its former composition no longer exists. And while this is definitely not what Putin and Kirill dreamed about, it is what they achieved.

There will be no revolt in the UOC-MP. Separate local protests will be quickly and firmly extinguished, and the priests who initiated them will deservedly go to jail if they do not have time to leave for Russia. But they are not really expected even in Russia. There is not enough money for everyone now. Yes, several high dignitaries in Russia will be accepted and provided with income. Just a few, however, while the rest will be left to their own devices. Because for all the “we don’t abandon our own” slogans in Russia, they will indeed leave these folks behind. They will just be thrown away. Moreover, the Russians won’t even consider them to be their own. But such a fate often awaits traitors who have betrayed their country and served invaders.

And we will observe the process of the ROC slowly dying. But this will be someone else's problem, and we have no reason to worry about the church of Gundyayev and Putin.

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