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Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
#414146 12/21/15 05:58 PM
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Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal

The journalist openly criticised the leadership of the Russian Church and its close ties to the Kremlin. He sees a "new hybrid religion", a mix of Orthodox traditions and Soviet nostalgia, emerging. In a paper presented at the Moscow Carnegie, he describes a "new silence" affecting today’s Orthodox clergy, which led him to speak out.

12/19/2015
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Moscow-Patriarchate-fires-Sergey-Chapnin,-editor-of-its-journal-36205.html

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Moscow (AsiaNews) – Sergey Chapnin (pictured), the executive editor of the "Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate", the official publication of the Russian Orthodox Church, was fired, ostensibly because of his positions openly critical of the current situation of the Russian Orthodox Church (see interview with AsiaNews below).

As soon as news about Chapnin’s dismissal became public, it generated negative criticism. Chapnin himself said on colta.ru that he would speak about it next Monday. Russian news sites speculate that he was probably fired from his post (which he had held since 2009) because of recent statements he had made criticising Church leaders.

The last straw seems to be a paper on the current state of the Russian Church he presented ten days ago at the authoritative Carnegie Moscow Centre. The Patriarchate itself has not commented on the dismissal.

Born in 1968, Sergey Chapnin has long been a keen observer of the Russian Church and its relationship with society. His Carnegie paper is entitled "Christianity in the public space: war and violence, heroes and saints," available on his website (in Russian http://chapnin.ru/articles/pravoslavie_v_publichnom_prostranstve_266/ ).

At the heart of his argument is the notion of "new silence", which he believes describes the current situation of the Russian Orthodox Church. For him, “one voice, that of Patriarch Kirill, resonates across the public space," Chapnin writes, whilst "all others are mostly silent, not daring to go beyond brief comments”.

"This is undoubtedly a new style that clearly illustrates the growing importance of the Church hierarchy,” he notes. It refers, “more precisely, to the concept of hierarchy as under the exclusive control of the Patriarch." This, he laments, is best illustrated by the “Younger bishops” ordained under Kirill who “in the past five or six years have said nothing”.

In view of this, “one may ask why young bishops do not speak out, why they seem to want nothing, why they seem unable to do anything. Are they afraid? Is such silence a pause before major changes?” Or does it hide “a desire to leave the public space? So far, such questions have still not be answered."

Referring to the relationship between the Patriarchate, those in power and society, he calls for a "serious reform" of the Church to reflect the new times, on pain of marginalisation. In his view, society is increasingly dissatisfied with the Church, even though traditionally, the Russian Orthodox Church “is and will be an Imperial Church,” closely connected to the state.

At the same time, the Church must try to "become an authoritative institution in civil society" and in its relations with the temporal power, it must "at least keep some distance, not identify with it, not take too much money, not serve its [the state’s] ideological demands".

Chapnin slams also the Church’s tendency "to associate war and Orthodox heroes," a trend promoted by some media as well as Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.

He warns against the emergence of “a new hybrid religion", in which Church and political leaders give words like "holy" and "saint" a temporal twist, "completely forgetting their reference to God."

"I call it the post-Soviet civil religion, which incorporates both Orthodox traditions, nostalgia for the Soviet past and the dream for a strong empire."

The journalist ends his paper turning to hooliganism by groups of Orthodox zealots, something that is never publicly condemned by the Patriarchate – people like Dmitry Enteo, whose group, ‘God’s Will’, recently carried out attacks against museums and cultural events deemed “offensive to the religious sentiment”.

For Chapnin, the Church has relied too much on divine justification to explain the violence by young people. "Through this kind of hooliganism, Enteo and his acolytes have exposed a serious problem within the Russian Church, clearly showing that the Church is divided into two camps" in which one accepts "the use of violence in the name of political and economic goals."

In fact, "For a substantial number of clergymen and lay people, violence qualifies as acceptable for Christians.” Indeed, “Within religious circles, such Orthodox activists are not condemned but are treated as heroes.”

“Whether the justification of violence becomes a feature of modern Orthodoxy or not is still an open question;” yet, “the temptation is great”.

Chapnin’s dismissal was followed immediately by comments on Facebook. In one, one woman pointed out that whilst the Patriarchate allowed a priest to take part in a talent show ('The Voice'), it wants to prohibit ‘Christianity in the public space’. "What a contrast: 'Voice' vs 'silence'," she wrote.

Last edited by Tomassus; 12/21/15 06:02 PM.
Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414147 12/21/15 06:01 PM
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Fear of freedom is killing the future of Russia

by Marta Allevato
04/23/2014
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Fear-of-freedom-is-killing-the-future-of-Russia-30895.html

Serghei Chapnin, director of the "Moscow Patriarchate Journal," speaks to AsiaNews about the challenges of contemporary Russian society and the contribution that Christianity can give to a real "moral change" in the country.


Moscow (AsiaNews) - The need for a "moral reflection" on the nation's Soviet past, to revive greater respect for the dignity of the human person, to teach young people about the freedom contained in Christian thought and give greater impetus to the "internal mission" of the Church, explaining the true meaning of Church teaching to the faithful. These are some of the biggest challenges that society and the Orthodox Church in Russia are currently facing, according to the journalist Sergei Chapnin, director of the "Moscow Patriarchate Journal" (circulation of 17 thousand copies nationwide), the monthly magazine on the Churches' pastoral life and its leaders' activities.

Author of a recent essay entitled "The Church in Post-Soviet Russia", Chapnin argues that the problem with Russia today - from society to politics, to faith - is that it still hasn't freed itself from the shackles of its Soviet past: he is concerned by a growing desire to "return to the USSR " among the younger generation, by the pressing calls for "respect for traditional values​​" launched by the country's leadership and the Kremlin project to establish a "political culture of Statehood " , which is likely to become a regime ideology.
He is also convinced that real change can take place, but only from the grass roots level, beginning with the individual citizen. This is why he believes, the example that Christians can offer, by being witnesses to their faith, is important.

Chapnin - who is also editor of the Patriarchate publications - has already started a small revolution, launching a monthly magazine "The Temple of Russia in XXI century" which for the first time addresses the issue of the architecture of modern Orthodox churches . "It is a project I started in early 2014 based on the fact that many churches are being built, but of poor quality and taste", he says in a conversation with AsiaNews , in his office a few steps away from the Novodevichy Monastery in Moscow. The explanation , according to the journalist, is theological : "Until we understand what the liturgy means for us today, we will never understand what kind of churches we need".

It is quite a big issue, but what and who would it actually involve?

We have been discussing it for over a year and a half, even Church leaders are involved and we are preparing an official document on it. It is not just a question of structures that meet the needs of the parishioners (free parking, a cloakroom for coats in cold regions ...), but also to the shape of the altar: should the iconostasis cover it completely or leave it open to allow a better understanding of the liturgy? The issue of whether the altar is open or closed, depends very much on the perception of the role of the faithful in the liturgy and in the future I think we will increasingly see churches with open altars. The liturgy today is incomprehensible to the majority of the faithful, not only for the fact that it uses the old ecclesiastical language, but also because people do not understand what is going on. What is lacking is a serious work of catechesis.

But is that only becoming a problem now?

It is a huge problem that started about 25 years ago, when the Church was free again, and suddenly out of fashion: a lot of people were baptized but there were not enough catechists and so those people learned little of the Christian faith beyond the formality of religious life. No one knew the spiritual significance of the liturgical gestures, or was aware of the change that they would have to make to their daily life. The fact that there has never really been any internal change, a secularized conception of the Church and religious life has become imbedded in Russia, as a space in which to reconnect to the past, but without detaching from Soviet consciousness. This has resulted in phenomenon such as the 'Orthodox communists' , 'Orthodox Stalinists ' and so on.

Is there any hope that new generations will reject this Soviet mentality?

Unfortunately, this particularly involves the younger generations who often speak of 'a return to the USSR' , because they have been educated in a school system that has never changed. And it is a problem that plagues both lay people and priests.

Whose responsibility is it?

Partly that of the political world. The reform the education system focuses on cost saving measures and not on the quality of the content. But also the fact that there has never been a moral evaluation of the Soviet experience .

What are the consequences ?

The flourishing of any interpretation of the past. In the twenty-first century we are told that we should be proud of the successes achieved by our country during the Soviet era in terms of technology, aerospace, military ... But if we raise the question of repression, the gulags, the lack of freedom, the civil war, we are accused not respecting our country. It is very primitive and the glorification of the past often affects even our bishops and priests. I call it historical schizophrenia, a disease that has afflicted us for at least 10 if not 15 years.

The Church has been among the biggest victims of 70 years of state atheism , can you not do something to help custody the nation's historical memory ?

The Church is already doing a lot, with the construction of memorials and even bringing children who attend catechism classes to the historical sites of repression, such as the Butovo shooting range in Moscow. The state, unfortunately, he never thought of a policy in this regard and if it were not for a few enthusiasts who defy bureaucracy and obstacles, the historical memory of certain events would be completely lost.

What do you think about the introduction of courses in "fundamentals of religious culture" in schools?

The lessons are important, but do not solve the problem of education of our youth. If the state took ideology out of an education system that is still imbued with Soviet ideology and staffed by teachers who punish freedom of thought, they wouldn't be needed .

Do you think things can change in the future?

Unfortunately, no. Good teachers leave and new ones arrive who cannot build relationships with the kids, over which they have no authority. Since the mid 1990's, the younger generations completely lack respect for teachers.

Does this behavioral problem only relate to schools?

Respect for the human person is THE problem in Russia, it touches every sphere of society and even the Church. I think that even in this case, it is a legacy of the USSR : we are all, deep down, Soviets and we do not respect one another.

But aren't Christians taught to see God in others and respect them?

Sometimes I wonder if the Russian Christians can. There are groups, even among Christians who behave so aggressively that it seems they do not know what respect is. Who are constantly looking for an enemy to judge and fight. There is no moral authority in the country, as were Serghei Averincev or Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and this also reflects the crisis of our society.

Yet the state makes continual references to ' traditional values ​​' , including Christian ones . What do you think ?

The state is in a vacuum of values, and not being able to invent new ones, has turned to those that already existed. Only it turned to the imperial past, which had orthodoxy at its center, while we are children of another empire, a Soviet atheist one.

Does this mean that people do not understand what these traditional values ​​are?

It is very dangerous to refer to Christian values, by picking out the ones that best suit as if at a supermarket. The State condemns homosexuality, but not a lie, for example. Despite all of this talk about Christian values ​​ those of the Soviet period prevail among the people: suspicion, lack of trust and respect, individualism, used to justify their own misconduct by the fact that 'everybody does it'. Thus corruption , for example , continues to proliferate because there has been no change in the moral climate.

What would be a real change ? How can Christianity help in this?

We need to start by changing ourselves. Unfortunately, contemporary Orthodox religiosity, is twofold: privately we are more or less Christians, publically we act like everyone else. There are exceptions, but they are few.

It is a great challenge for the mission of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The biggest problem and most urgent is to stimulate internal mission: to teach what Christian life means to those who are baptized. You have to understand that Russia can live according to Christian values​​. The change must happen from the bottom up to be effective. Priests and bishops play a key role in this, well before the Patriarch, as an example to the faithful. But unfortunately today we have already young bishops with serious moral issues.

What do you think of the project of "a political culture of Statehood"?

It's an attempt to form a state ideology, however that is prohibited by our Constitution. There is a lack of willingness to explain to people what's going on in the world and in the country and this is also seen in the attitude of closure and fear of power towards independent media and politicians. This fear, however, is killing the future of Russia . Everyone is looking for a signal from above and the questions 'where do we go from here' and 'how can we move forward and develop' continue to remain unanswered.

How would you describe the relationship between the Orthodox and Catholics in Russia?

There are good relationships in different cities, especially among the priests and the youth community . In general, the situation is developing in a positive way. The Catholic Church looks at us with respect and vice versa. Although there is still a problem with some Catholics, who are somewhat closed and suspicious of the Orthodox. I think in the end if there is mutual interest and respect, anything is possible.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414167 12/22/15 12:04 PM
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God bless them all - but especially the former editor of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate . . . wink

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 12/23/15 12:25 PM.
Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
#414264 12/27/15 06:03 AM
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US media picking up on high-profile Russian sacking

Posted by Josephus Flavius
Saturday, December 26, 2015
http://byztex.blogspot.com/2015/12/us-media-picking-up-on-high-profile.html
[Linked Image]

(NPR) - A high-ranking Orthodox priest has shocked Russian religious circles with sharp criticism of the church's highest authority.

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin was sacked with little explanation on Thursday from his job as head of the church's department for cooperation for church and society. The Orthodox Holy Synod announced that Chaplin had been relieved of his duties, and that his department was disbanded. The statement said only that the step was taken to increase efficiency.

It was a job that had given the 47-year-old religious conservative a national platform, from which he often made controversial statements about politics and public morals.

Chaplin once urged women to dress more modestly so they wouldn't provoke rapes. He offended many of Russia's Muslims by characterizing Russia's military campaign in Syria as a "holy war" against extremists.

After being sacked, Chaplin fired back in the media. He told "Rain," a Russian Internet TV channel, that he was dismissed because the Moscow Patriarchate wanted to silence independent voices in the church.

He said he had "seriously disagreed" with the church's highest authority, Patriarch Kirill, over the church's relationship with the Kremlin. Kirill is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He called on the church to condemn government corruption and resist seeking the favor of public officials.

Until now, Chaplin has been much better known as a defender of the patriarch than as a critic.

Kirill suffered a major embarrassment in 2012, when an official photograph showed him wearing a Breguet watch worth at least $30,000. The photograph was later altered to cover up the luxury timepiece, but the watch was still visible as a reflection on the patriarch's polished table.

At the time, Chaplin dismissed the incident as idle attention from the media.

He was far more critical of Kirill and Russia's ruling establishment in a news conference after his dismissal on Friday, in which he railed that "immoral elites are hampering the nation's development."

He told reporters that Russia faces "inevitable catastrophe" unless the leadership allows public discussion.

In another interview, Chaplin said he had disagreed with the patriarch about the war in eastern Ukraine, saying that the Russian government and the church should have given even stronger support to pro-Russian separatists there.

Chaplin has been an outspoken critic of what he's characterized as the moral degeneracy of the West. Referring to the invasions by Napoleon and Hitler, he has said that Russians have often given their lives to stop "all global projects that disagreed with our conscience, with our vision of history and, I would say, with God's own truth."

Chaplin's vision of the West is an apocalyptic one. He presented it in a ranting e-novella called "Machaut and the Bears," set in the year 2043. In a breakneck stream-of-consciousness style, the book seems to portray the destruction of Moscow, apparently by gays, Islamists and Ukrainian fascists.

It was revealed last February that Chaplin had written the work under a pen name.

He may have more time for literary pursuits in the future.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414292 12/27/15 11:09 PM
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I think the near simultaneous sacking of Chapnin and Chaplin reveals that this is not as simple as some would have us believe.

Chapnin seemingly would have us believe that Chaplin's party dominates the Patriarchate... yet they were BOTH sacked.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
JBenedict #414296 12/27/15 11:32 PM
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Chaplin was sacked for criticizing the MP for not going far (right) enough. He was an excellent propagandist for the MP until his own extremism not only got the better of him - it caused the MP no small amount of embarassment, time and again.

In politics, this is simply a case of a spokesman who has had one too many missteps and so it was time for him to go. That he criticized his former bosses as he did shows that he considered his own agenda - close as it is with that of the MP - to be of more pressing importance.

Alex




Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414313 12/29/15 11:07 AM
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ARCHPRIEST VSEVOLOD CHAPLIN: CATASTROPHE IN RUSSIA IS INEVITABLE

Religious Information Service of Ukraine
28 December 2015
http://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/world_news/62064/

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the dismissed official representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, predicted disaster for Russia.

The priest told journalists that the situation in the country would further deteriorate due to the lack of public debate and the desire of the authorities to silence any problems,” BBC Russian Service reports.


“If we try to silence any problems, we can postpone the catastrophe for a year or two, but this will make it inevitable,” Chaplin warned.

“Some people believe that it is necessary to minimize public debate, ignore what is happening in the minds of people in the field of communication between people, and so we live a calmer life until the [20] 17th or 18th year. Gentlemen, this is not the case,” the priest noted.

“The intercession, intended to clean up the realm of ideas, close the key issues for the present and future of the country and the world, people who think so and are engaged in political suicide - they will cease to exist,” he added.

During the last six years Vsevolod Chaplin was actually the official representative of the Russian Orthodox Church. He spoke on many occasions and resonance issues and was associated with the conservative wing in the Russian Orthodox Church.

On December 24, Archpriest Chaplin was removed from his post as head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations. Immediately after his dismissal, he made a number of critical statements about the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Kirill.

“I believe that decisions in the Church – wherever it might happen - should be taken collectively, seriously, with the discussion. Now we have a lot of decisions that are made solely by Patriarch. This is wrong, this has to be changed,” said Chaplin in an interview with the BBC Russian service immediately after his release.

According to Chaplin, the Russian Orthodox Church should change its approach to the debate and to allow the existence of ideological diversity within the church.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414318 12/29/15 11:06 PM
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That this fellow would dare to chastise the ROC for not allowing diversity within its ranks is really too much given that he himself has for long been a radical proponent of an extreme vision of Great Russian Chauvinism!

The only question is why the ROC waited so long to be rid of the man.

Alex

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414320 12/30/15 01:10 AM
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Maybe he came to see the light in his later days and spoke for change behind the scenes? In any case the KGB infection of the MP is starting to show.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Fr. Deacon Lance #414323 12/30/15 02:18 PM
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Or, and I don't know, the MP wasn't right-wing enough for him?

Perhaps "KGB" for him means "Kindly Good Batiushkas?"

Happy New Year, Rev. Fr. Deacon!

Alex

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Fr. Deacon Lance #414327 12/30/15 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
In any case the KGB infection of the MP is starting to show.


Wow! That is an extremely uncharitable thing to say....especially during the season of the Holy Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Recluse #414328 12/30/15 10:49 PM
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Truth hurts!

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
bergschlawiner #414330 12/30/15 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bergschlawiner
Truth hurts!

Lord have mercy.

Merry Christmas!

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Recluse #414331 12/31/15 07:35 AM
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The R O Church needs prayer.

Re: Moscow Patriarchate fires Sergey Chapnin, editor of its journal
Tomassus #414332 12/31/15 08:34 AM
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Bob,

Since you mentioned the Church of the East, this may be of interest to you. There are many more videos in English, Syriac, and Arabic at that channel. The preparation of the Eucharistif elements is quite interesting as well:
youtube.com/watch?v=8bDlAXZtX4M

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