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Saint Stalin, pro and con

[ by Charles Cameron — Washington Post, meet Pravmir ]

Putin and the Patriarch: a Christian Jihad in al-Sham!

I was prepping this for yesterday’s post, saving relevant articles in their own little folder, but got sleepy before actually writing this business up, and today’s Washingtomn Post does the job better than I could have, so you can go read The Christian zeal behind Russia’s war in Syria to get the basics.

Most striking feature of that story, ICYMI, is this tweet:

I’m not sure whether that’s a Russian base “facing” Syria or Ukraine — the WaPo seems to have illustrations of both, which is a tad confusing — but an icon of Stalin?


Aside from the base and its purposes, however, it’s worth noting that Pravmir in late June discussed How the Church to respond to the attempts to make the image similar to the icons of Stalin? (lacking Russian, I have to go with Google Translate’s translation), and that Archpriest Alexander Saltykova explained:

The Church has responded to the recent actions A. Prokhanov, as well as before it meets a number of similar cases involving attempts to write psevdoikony of Stalin and Lenin, Hitler and such historical figures.

So Saratov archdiocese called the action A. Prokhanov “blatant provocation”. His attempts to organize a “religious worship” “psevdoikony depicting IV Stalin’s “cause” regret and resentment. ”

It is also recalled that the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church “has repeatedly emphasized,” that “canonization persecutor of the Church and the organizer of the bloody mass repression impossible” and “The very idea is absurd.”

See also:

Saratov archdiocese apologized to the believers of the ceremony with the icon of Stalin

Saratov archdiocese called a provocation action of the writer, the founder of the “Izborsk club” Alexander Prokhanov. Thus, members of the clergy have commented on the incident at the air base in Engels, where the priest was consecrated by order made izbortsev icon of “Our Lady Sovereign”, which is surrounded by Soviet marshals depicted Generalissimo Joseph Stalin.


Seems there’s a little more to this story than meets the Washington Post eye.

I’ll be interested to see what John Schindler makes of this, and also welcome comments from any others interested in Russia and or Orthodoxy reading here..

7 Responses to “Saint Stalin, pro and con”

  1. Ken Hoop Says:

    There has long been an important strain of national bolshevik Christianity
    in the USSR and Russia.

  2. Scott Says:

    Another blog I read noted that Putin is playing the Christian angle, while Obama is favoring the Arab side. This was juxtaposed against the protests in Europe against migrants, and the blogger wondered if Putin is playing to a crowd…

  3. zen Says:

    This is bizarre, though I suspect it would have appealed to Stalin, the ex-seminarian’s senses of humor and imagery. Stalin the dialectical materialist Marxist-Leninist retained the argumentative style of an Orthodox seminarian and appreciation for the power of solemn public ritual. He had little use for the Church until WWII where it was rehabilitated as an organ of Russian nationalism and patriotic resistance to Nazi invaders (and went from being persecuted to an institution thoroughly penetrated by NKVD).

  4. Grurray Says:

    The ability of the Russians to un-remember their history constantly amazes.
    In fairness though, the ROC has probably forgotten episodes such as the Godless Union https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_Militant_Atheists
    because everyone who would have opposed it in their church was killed long ago.

  5. larrydunbar Says:

    “because everyone who would have opposed it in their church was killed long ago.”
    Well yes of course, unless that someone was Putin. In that case he would support the front originating in Syria, because,if you remember, that is what they have always done. 🙂

  6. Grurray Says:

    When you consider that Assad and his ethnic group the Alawites are crypto-pagans then Putin using atheist dictators as sub-deities to assist them starts to make sense.
    They worship the sun and moon and believe in a form of reincarnation
    I always sort of sensed an undercurrent of pagan origins in many orthodox practices anyway, so it’s no wonder they get along.

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    It looks as though it’s Prokhanov, rather than Putin or the Patriarch, who is responsible here — see second section. I was hoping John

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