Orthodox Church

Russia's Past Is Ever Present

The Russian parliament is currently attempting to pass legislation that would criminalize “homosexual propaganda”, whatever that means. Included in the list of banned activities are public displays or events supporting gay rights. Julia Ioffe at The New Republic explores beyond the obvious human rights concerns (which are myriad) to what this means for the future of Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

The president is showing that he is not only not going anywhere, but that he will impose his vision of Russia on all Russians, whether they like it or not. That vision is not, as many think, the neo-Soviet one—though there are elements of it in Putin’s foreign policy—but the imperial one. Putin’s favorite character from Russian history is not Stalin, but Pyotr Stolypin, a brute reformer who served under Nicholas II. Putin is also said to see his greatest achievement as the reuniting of the Russian Orthodox Church, which split shortly after the Russian Revolution into a domestic and Western one. He has overseen a renaissance of orthodoxy and has ushered the church into the halls of power, to the point where it is now widely seen as a Kremlin affiliate. These days, hardly a policy move happens without the church stating its position on it.

Last year’s imprisonment of Pussy Riot for a relatively innocuous demonstration certainly suggests as much.

Pussy Riot Feminism and the Orthodox Church

Great historical perspective on the conflict over gender equality in the Eastern Orthodox Church between “cradle Orthodox”—first-generation immigrants and their children—and recent converts:

The rich mystic theology of Eastern Christianity preserves a complicated understanding of gender that even postulates a God who is beyond gender. In liturgical practice too, the Orthodox Church offers glimmers of light to those who would seek greater equality. For example, women throughout Eastern Christendom were routinely ordained to the diaconate (the first order of the priesthood) well into the 11th century.

Most importantly, however, in many Orthodox cultures tradition has given women a great deal of de facto spiritual authority within the home and the wider community. This was certainly the reality of my childhood. It was my mother, grandmother and aunts who had dreams, spoke to saints at night in candlelight prayer and whispered the meaning of the liturgy and the secrets of the universe into my ears.

The politicization of American Christianity is shackling the Church. Read to find out [yet another reason] why.

Russian Orthodox Church Forgives Pussy Riot

”The church has been sometimes accused of not forgiving them,” the bearded and bespectacled cleric said. “We did forgive them from the very start. But such actions should be cut short by society and authorities.”

Just the way Jesus would have said it.

Via Jezebel

Pussy Riot Convicted and Sentenced

Two years in a penal colony for “hooliganism”. Here’s the New York Times’ coverage of the original event.

I can understand Alex Epstein’s point about the nature of the crime, but as far as I can tell no one has suggested that the women entered the church illegally. Branding the crime “hooliganism” seems like an obvious smokescreen for establishment of religion. Nearly everything the court or government officials have had to say about Pussy Riot’s performance has revolved around disrespect to the Orthodox Church, blasphemy, or “inciting hate”:

The stiff punishment was handed down by a Moscow judge, Marina Syrova, who described the women as posing a danger to society and said they had committed “grave crimes” including “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred.”

Either way, the punishment seems egregious.

Via The XX Factor