Back in July 2011, we ran a piece about the Russian Orthodox Church’s position on nationhood and showed that the Eastern churches have not been infiltrated by cultural Marxism to the extent that Western churches have been, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. Good theology is a necessary first principle for any healthy society, and although we Calvinists have serious reservations about aspects of Orthodox theology, their positive affirmation of a biblical social order over and against egalitarianism has had a very positive impact on Russia in recent times. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union twenty-two years ago, the influence of the church in Russia has increased dramatically. In 1991, only 31% of Russians self-identified as Orthodox Christians,1 a figure which increased to 74% in the most recent poll, conducted in December 2012.2 Regular church attendance has also increased by 450% during the same period, from only 2% 3 to 11% of the total population. A third of Russians also go to church to “light a candle and pray,” but perhaps the most encouraging figure of all, actually, is that 16% of Russians read the Old Testament,4 a figure that I wouldn’t be surprised to find higher than among my own people, where religiosity is heading in exactly the opposite direction. Fundraising projects in countries like Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova are also underway to build new churches for the increasing demand among a young generation rediscovering the Eastern Orthodox faith.5 Part of this revival can possibly be attributed to President Vladimir Putin’s open confession of Christianity, including his promise to protect and advance the faith.6
This revival is particularly encouraging in light of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church rejects not only the cultural Marxism that Western Christianity has embraced, but also its radical two-kingdom heresy,7 which is prevalent today even in the so-called “Reformed” churches. Another positive is that the Orthodox Church is currently at the forefront of the recent increase of ethnonationalism in Russia,8 which has taken concrete effect in Russia’s increasing birth rate,9 its recent restriction on the inter-ethnic adoption of Russian children, a law proposed by one deputy to restrict interracial marriage, and many other economic and nationalist reforms.10 Other recent reforms even seem to have a distinctly theonomic nature, such as Russia’s ban of the blasphemous Andrew Lloyd Webber play, Jesus Christ Superstar.11
Perhaps the reform that has angered the cultural Marxists the most, however, is the Russian government’s stance on homosexuality. Last February, five members of the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot entered the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, protesting the Orthodox Church’s support of Putin and his stances on homosexuality and traditional gender roles.12 The women were eventually sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and were, among other things, convicted guilty of blasphemy,13 the first legal punishment for disobedience to the third commandment that I’ve seen in my lifetime. Despite the predictable media outrage over all of this in the West, Russian lawmakers were not fazed, but went further in their resolve; the chamber passed a law last Friday banning all forms of homosexual propaganda, including homosexual public affection, by a whopping 388 votes to 1. United Russia Deputy Dmitry Sablin commented: “We live in Russia, not in Sodom and Gomorrah.”14 The fact that they have managed to stand strong in the face of adversity is perhaps the most impressive of all.
Similar encouraging reforms are taking place in other Eastern European countries. We have previously covered some of the activities of the Greek nationalist party, Golden Dawn, who works closely together with the Greek Orthodox Church, and we have likewise discussed Hungary’s recent adoption of a Christian constitution.
Despite all of these positives, Russia is obviously still a long way away from being a solidly theonomic nation, standing in desperate need of many reforms even after these first steps. Let us therefore pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to sanctify, convert, and guide the peoples of Eastern Europe, so that they can truly become Christian nations and glorify God by serving as an inspiration for the rest of the West.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Russia ↩
- See http://www.pravmir.com/number-of-orthodox-church-members-shrinking-in-russia-islam-on-the-rise-poll/. The title of the article is somewhat deceptive, since the marginal decrease of 1% that was indeed recorded within the past year can easily be attributed to liberals making a point of disassociating themselves with the church because of recent developments ↩
- http://www.adherents.com/Na/Na_48.html ↩
- http://www.pravmir.com/number-of-orthodox-church-members-shrinking-in-russia-islam-on-the-rise-poll/ ↩
- http://russianreport.wordpress.com/religion-in-russia/orthodoxy-in-russia-today/ ↩
- http://rt.com/politics/putin-foreign-make-representatives-797/ ↩
- http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=dujour&div=229 ↩
- http://en.rian.ru/russia/20121104/177191062.html ↩
- http://www.thejournal.ie/putin-russia-three-children-712802-Dec2012/ ↩
- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/world/europe/russian-lawmakers-move-to-purge-foreign-influences.html?_r=0 ↩
- http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/hollyworld/jesus-christ-superstar-banned-russia ↩
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot ↩
- http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0817/Russian-band-Pussy-Riot-sentenced-to-two-years-in-prison-video ↩
- http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/25/us-russia-gay-idUSBRE90O0QT20130125 ↩