Monday, February 9, 1998 Published at 20:00 GMT
Growing influence of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church: making new alliances
Pope John Paul II and the Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, have held talks at the Vatican, which were described as “extremely cordial.” But relations remain tense following the passing of a law last year in Russia restricting the freedom of many Christian denominations – including Roman Catholic orders. As Alan Little reports from Moscow, reconciliation is still a far-off dream.
|Russian Orthodox Church: at odds with Vatican for 1000 years
In Russia, the autocratic impulse runs deep. It is far older than Communism. And the Russian Orthodox Church lies at the heart of the autocratic tradition: its defender and its beneficiary. It bolstered the Tsarist autocracy and was rewarded. It struck deals with the Communists and was rewarded. Now, in the new Russia, it is making new alliances.
Larry Uzell, of the independent religious freedom watchdog, The Keston Institute:
“The leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church has decided, for reasons best known to themselves, that the path to political power, the path to influence, to success – and, I’m afraid, also the path to money – is to work hand-in-glove with the extreme ultra-nationalists in Russian politics.”
|Roman Catholics: restricted by Russian law
A new law, signed by President Yeltsin late last year, grants wide-ranging religious freedoms to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity. But its effect will severely restrict many Christian denominations – including Roman Catholic orders.
Father Vadim is one of a handful of Russian Catholic priests whose religious freedom is now compromised by legalised Orthodox supremacy.
“For some of my Orthodox friends, I am a sort of Judas. To be Russian and to be Catholic – it’s a betrayal. Read the rest of this entry »