Thursday, May 17, 2007

Russian Church Reunites

I thought it was interesting that the Russian Orthodox Church is reuniting after an 80-year split.

The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia was formed by clergy who fled the atheist Bolshevik Revolution and split with the Moscow patriarchate after its 1927 declaration of submission to the Soviet authorities.

At the time the atheist Bolshevik regime was demolishing hundreds of churches, persecuting believers and arresting priests.

After decades of acrimony, contacts between the churches were officially renewed in 2003, with the two agreeing to call the 1927 declaration "a tragic compromise."

The reunification is an important symbolic victory for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, who regards the Orthodox Church as a key pillar of post-Soviet Russian society and has prioritized the promotion of Russian culture abroad.

He met Lavr in New York in 2003 in a bid to convince the exiled church to return to the fold.

The deal was sealed last year when 150 delegates from North and South America, Australia, Europe and ex-Soviet republics voted in favour at the conference in San Francisco.

There may be scars left from communism, but it looks like many of the wounds will heal.