The impact and influence of the Russian Orthodox Church
Clifford Levy in The New York Times, April 24, 2008, provides a substantial article exploring the relationship of the Russian Orthodox Church to the state apparatus in present day Russia. This is not really a new issue in and of itself, except for the overtness of State assistance to the church.
In the mid 1990’s British writer Victoria Clark, who had served in Eastern Europe as a reporter for several English dailies, travelled the area and wrote about the vitality of the various churches in each country she visited. Her work was published in 2001 in a book entitled, Why Angels Fall.
What the New York Times focuses upon is an issue of how Western churches are being suppressed and discouraged to favor expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church. The potential for this was obvious in the 90’s as well and we wrote about some of these issues, especially between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in an article entitledSplitting Heirs, published in Vision Winter 2002, and available on the Vision site.
However there is one factor that transcends the battle to influence the religious sensibilities of the Russian people. The internet provides a means for people to connect and learn of ideas and values from any part of the world. The attempt to privilege one church against another will succeed even less than the State’s attempts to limit religion during the communist rule of the Soviet Union.
Interesting observations about aspects of the visit that most have overlooked
Michael Barber and Brant Pitre, two professors at Catholic universities in the United States, share a blog entitled Singing in the Reign. They are currently posting a series reporting on the details of Pope Benedict’s recent state visit to the United States.
Although the visit was well covered by the media, the writers feel that the major news sources overlooked some of the most important details of the visit. The first post, available here, details aspects of the arrival ceremony granted the Pope.
The blog is well worth a read to understand the lengths to which the White House, State Department and the Vatican went in the planning of this important visit for the pontiff.
We will advise readers when the other posts become available.
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