From an article by Nadezhda Kevorkova of Russia Now, published as a supplement to the Telegraph:
The Russian faith, like the Russian revolution and like life in Russia itself, never condescends to the individual. In the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet system, the Russian Church has been rebuilt from ruins inhabited by shuffling old women and somewhat eccentric zealots into the most powerful body on the post-Soviet stage.
No other Russian social institution has experienced such a rising from the ashes. And no other country has seen such an obvious revival of faith as has occurred in Russia.
Just recently the Kursk Root icon, one of the most revered Russian icons – the icon of “Russian émigrés” – returned to Russia for a few days for the first time since 1920. After the 1917 revolution it was taken out of Russia and became the main sacred object of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA, Church of Russian émigrés). After many years of effort by the Moscow Patriarchate and active work with their compatriots, in May 2007 the Russian Orthodox Church and the ROCA were reunited.
Since then, Russian relics have travelled to the flock outside Russia, and then finally Russian people in Russia too could see the great sacred object. People are willing to queue up for two to three hours to reverently cross themselves, fall to their knees, kiss the icon and leave. God knows why people need to do this in these days when everyone seems to be driven by fierce competition and the motto “time is money”.
It is not the Church which has sought union with the state in recent years. Rather it is the state that has been eager to demonstrate its loyalty to the Church – and perhaps to seek its counsel.
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The Church has priceless experience. It has seen not only luxury, the golden decorations and rich brocade of bishops, but also ditches, executions, martyrdom and total destruction. The Church has emerged from this desecration even more powerful.
So why should it seek favours from the state which so often seems to live in a state of confusion?
Read the entire article here.