Friday, July 30, 2010

An Orthodox Pope?

No. Not him. The author is referring to +Kirill Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. I have my doubts to put it mildly. But the article does make for some interesting reading. Let's be honest. "Byzantine" is a term that could easily refer to more than our liturgical rites.
The current visit to Ukraine by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill -- and his statements before his departure from Moscow and during his stops in Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kyiv -- have probably evoked greater interest than any previous visit to Ukraine by a head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

This is not simply because it's mid-summer and there is so little other news. It has become evident that the new patriarch adheres to a clear political line with regard to Ukraine, one that entails regular and lengthy visits -- and possibly even dividing his time between Moscow and Kyiv.

To understand why the patriarch is showing a level of interest in Ukraine that can hardly be compared with scant attention paid by his predecessor, Aleksy II, we need to look at Kirill's biography. He is almost certainly the most influential cleric within the Russian church today. Within the Holy Synod, none of the clerics of Kirill's generation can compete with him in terms of erudition, "media savvy," and administrative ability.

What's more, the majority of the current leaders of the church eparchies, including Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Volodymyr, are already well on in years. The process of rejuvenating the church hierarchy depends on the new patriarch: The new young metropolitans and archbishops will be chosen from Kirill's circle.
Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...

Obviously there is a lot of speculation here, and even if everything the author says is correct, it still does not make +KIRILL a "pope" in the sense of Rome. However, one thing is certain: it is not possible to separate "Russianess" from "Christianity" (which, despite the negative implications of this, it is on the whole a good thing) and the Church may emerge as the de facto anchor for much of Eastern Slavic identity and stability. One prays this translates into a path to deeper spirituality for much of the population.

One point on which I disagree is this: modernization does not have to imply a social adoption of the "protestant model" in Russia - it is only one possible outcome and not a necessary one at all. I think of India which is committed to hypermodernization, economic and political liberalism, but has maintained traditional religious forms and allegiances. One thing is for certain - the US model is not a teleological endpoint for all developing countries, including its commitment to religious pluralism. A fundamentally Christian civilization with roots in Kievan Rus would do well to actively avoid that path.

Steve Hayes said...

And what about him?