Voices from Russia

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov: God, Not the State, Should Protect Believers’ Feelings


On Friday, Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov, superior of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow and the Executive Secretary of the MP Patriarchal Council for Culture, said in an interview that Russia doesn’t need laws to protect the feelings of religious believers, but the state should deploy its power to defend the country against what he called acts of spiritual terrorism, saying, “We need clear succinct laws in order to defend both religious and secular verities from malicious abuse, which, in my view, is nothing less than spiritual terrorism. In my opinion, believers’ feelings need no protection other than from the Lord Himself”.

Last week, Russian lawmakers submitted draft legislation calling for prison sentences of up to five years for individuals convicted of “insulting citizens’ religious beliefs and feelings”. The bill came in the wake of the imprisonment of three members of Pussy Riot for performing a “punk prayer” criticising President Vladimir Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in February. A court convicted Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina of aggravated hooliganism and sentenced them to two years in prison. The saga sparked international outrage, with foreign governments criticising the punishment as excessive, and music stars like Madonna and Paul McCartney publicly expressing their support for the three women.

Fr Tikhon, who spoke Friday after a presentation of the English-language version of his book Everyday Saints and Other Stories at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, conceded that the church might court similar provocations by taking a hard line against incidents like the Pussy Riot performance, observing, “Nevertheless, if these jokers are going around desecrating crosses and churches, dancing on altars, and defiling museums left and right, and everyone just shuts their mouths and thinks it’ll go away, that won’t work either”. Fr Tikhon suggested that Russia might consider implementing punishments similar to those in Israel, where anyone convicted of desecrating a holy place can face up to seven years in prison.

Fr Tikhon is widely rumoured to be Putin’s spiritual adviser, although he declined to comment when an audience member at Friday’s presentation asked about his relationship to “someone in the Kremlin”. He replied, “There’s no point in discussing rumours”. The release of Everyday Saints and Other Stories in the USA came amid celebrations of the fifth anniversary of the reconciliation of the MP and the ROCOR. The festivities include a 20-day, nine-city tour across the USA by the all-male Sretensky Monestary Choir, which performed two pieces at the presentation of Fr Tikhon’s book on Friday.

6 October 2012

Carl Schreck



Editor’s Note:

Shame on the English translator… a more accurate reading of the title is Unholy Holiness… they “castrated” the title, depriving it of its full power and meaning. Holiness is usually “unholy”… that is, it doesn’t please the pietistic bastards who fancy themselves religious. In short, I’d wonder where else they “softened” and “dumbed down” the text to please the terminally-religious. Remember, to be “holy” means loving the truth… and poseurs (such as the First Families, SVS, and konvertsy) hate the truth (“You can’t say that! They’re such GOOD people!”). That means that you won’t find holiness amongst those screaming the loudest about it. Holiness is where it is… not where it’s bruited about. In fact, some of the worst perverters of the Faith… such as Arius, Avvakum Petrov, Aleksandr Vvedensky, Alexander Schmemann, and Gleb Podmoshensky (Fathausen was a drooling disciple of the last-named heretic)… fooled many with their smarmy pietism and patina of superficial religiosity. Holiness is REAL… that means that you’ll only see it if you look at the world for what it truly is… and most of us aren’t prepared to do that.

I wonder if Potapov was around for this shindig… he probably was, but the SVR probably warned Fr Tikhon of the fact that Potapov’s a Langley asset, so, he’ll be polite and non-committal around him. After all, I (and many others) know of Victor’s loud opinions prior to the reconciliation… and who signed his pay-cheque. Will the real Victor Potapov please stand up (shades of To Tell the Truth)? Never turn your back on his ilk… it’s not healthy (do remember Potapov’s tirade against a relative carried by the ROCOR official website).



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