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Russian Orthodoxy, Russian Nationalism, and Patriarch Aleksii II

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Zoe Knox
Affiliation:
Center for the Study of Cultures, Rice University, U.S.A. zknox@rice.edu
Corresponding
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Extract

The Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is a highly visible institution in Russia, and arguably the most prominent and influential religious or cultural body. The Orthodox Church figures prominently in various discussions as the driving force behind Russia's post-Soviet renewal and recovery. Surveys show that Russians trust the Orthodox Church more than any other public institution, including law courts, trade unions, mass media, the military, the police and the government. Estimates of the number of self-identified Orthodox adherents range from 50 million, which amounts to slightly more than one-third of Russia's population, to 70 million, or roughly one half of the population. A leading newspaper consistently ranks Patriarch Aleksii II, head of the Moscow Patriarchate, the governing body of the Orthodox Church, in the top 15 of the country's most influential political figures. These indicators confirm that the Orthodox Church has a significant role in Russia's post-Soviet development. This is widely accepted by commentators both within and without the Orthodox Church, and within and without Russia.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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References

1. Hereafter the terms ‘Russian Orthodox Church’ and ‘Orthodox Church’ are used interchangeably to refer to the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). There are other Russian Orthodox churches registered in Russia: the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church; Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; True Orthodox Church; Russian Orthodox Free Church; and Old Believers' churches. Of these, the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) is the only jurisdiction recognised by the Eastern Orthodox leader, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch.Google Scholar

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5. See, for example, statements by this broad range of commentators: James H. Billington, Russia in Search of Itself (Washington D.C. Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), p. xv; Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, cited in Elena Tsivileva, “Vosstanovlenie sviatyni zaversheno,” Nezavisimaia gazeta, 6 October 2000, p. 2; Irina A. Papkov, “The Resurgence of Russian Orthodoxy and Its Implications for Russian Democracy,” in Christopher Marsh, ed., Burden or Blessing: Russian Orthodoxy and the Construction of Civil Society and Democracy (Boston: Institute of Religion, Culture and World Affairs, Boston University, 2004), p. 38; Nicolai N. Petro, “The Orthodox Are Coming!” New Europe Review, Vol. 2, No.1, 2005, pp. 1113; Julia Sudo, “Russian Nationalist Orthodox Theology: A New Trend in the Political Life of Russia,” Political Theology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2005, p. 67; and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sluzhba kommunikatsii OVTsS MP, “Prezident Rossii V.V. Putin vruchil gosudarstvennye nagrady sviashchennosluzhiteliam,” (16 January 2002), <http://www.russian-orthodox-church.org.ru/nr101161.htm> (accessed 24 March 2005).+(accessed+24+March+2005).>Google Scholar

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37. This point is make in Billington, Russia in Search of Itself p. 52Google Scholar

38. Ziuganov also referred to the KPRF's “respect” for Orthodoxy, the need to protect the Church from foreign interlopers, and Orthodoxy and the Russian Idea. O. Nikolsky. “The Path of Goodness and Righteousness (Pravda Rossii, 5 October 1995, p.2),” Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press, Vol. 97, No. 41, 1995, pp. 45. The interview was first printed in Pravoslavnaia Moskva (OrthodoxMoscow).Google Scholar

39. Reuters, “Putin Lauds Church Role as Patriarch Marks 10 Years,” Johnson's Russia List (#4359). [Email bulletin], 9 June 2000.Google Scholar

40. Cited in Beth M. Admiraal, “Failing Freedom: Parties, Elites and the Uncertainty of Religious Life in Russia,” in Christopher Marsh, ed., Burden or Blessing: Russian Orthodoxy and the Construction of Civil Society and Democracy (Boston: Institute of Religion, Culture and World Affairs, Boston University, 2004), p. 18.Google Scholar

41. Pospielovsky, The Orthodox Church in the History of Russia , pp. 376377.Google Scholar

42. Verkhovsky, “The Role of the Russian Orthodox Church,” p. 333.Google Scholar

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