A circular e-mail from Dr William Tighe gives us the text of The Russians are Coming by Dr Robert Moynihan. The idea is seductive. Should we do away with Roman Catholicism in Europe, all of us convert to Orthodoxy and have the European Union under Russia? On reading this letter, there seems to be a sense of relief with the idea that Holy Russia would come to be our saviour or messiah.
According to one person who has responded:
Sorry, one assumes everyone else knows the insider baseball.
First–there is no massive religious revival going on in Russia today. Orthodoxy is pretty much a fashion statement at best. On any given Sunday, you’ll only find about 5% of Russians in church.
Second–Russia as a society is in a practically irreversible death spiral–plunging birthrates (lower still among ethnic Slavs in Russia), low male life expectancy, endemic corruption, an economy with two ends and no middle, an increasingly autocratic regime more interested in maintaining power and lining the pockets of its cronies than in making Russia a viable state, and a Church which seems to have forgotten history and is cozying up to a brutal regime in exchange for some good press and “free” gifts. Russia is dying, and its foolish to pretend otherwise; its a country with the GDP and political culture of New Jersey, but with 5000 nuclear weapons. Only a major moral revitalization can save it, and that revitalization can only happen if the Church of Moscow decides to put enough daylight between itself and Vladmir Putin to let the Holy Spirit step in.
Third, the Moscow Patriarchate is in an ongoing contest with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over who can piss higher on the bathroom wall. Having gone the full Third Rome route and gotten little traction from it, while the EP made friendly noises to the Holy See, Moscow now tries to outflank Constantinople on the left by suddenly getting all ecumenical (at least for external consumption–internally, Rome is still the sheep-stealing bogeyman trying to undermine Sacred Orthodox Russia). A major see change in Russian attitudes towards Rome would have to manifest itself in some concrete way–nothing big, maybe just deciding to participate in the Joint International Orthodox-Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue would be a good start.
So, in all, yes, the BS factor was off the charts here. We used to have names for people who swallowed such stories, back in the Cold War era.
It seems to be a particularly pessimistic cold shower. All the Russians are doing is taking a page out of the copybook of atheism, debt capitalism and consumerism. Or are they?
I would appreciate comments and informed opinions on whether there anything to hope for from Russia. Try to keep comments on topic or use the Orthodox Blow-out Department. I really would like to try to get some clear ideas.