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Letter to Russia: The Importance of Finding Those Who Are United in Spirit

13. Dezember 2023

Andrei Kordochkin
A Blog of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University

Editor’s Note: The Orthodox Church in Russia is divided, but this division is not canonical nor administrative. Moreover, it is not always visible from the outside. While the official Church has become an integral part of Putin’s political regime, on a deeper level, there is resistance on behalf of small Orthodox communities and individuals who deny accepting the proclamation of violence and the justification of war. These “propaganda sermons” are constantly pronounced from the ambos of the churches nationwide, causing abruption and difficult questions regarding why the Church in Russia rejects the Gospel. This “muted Christian resistance” is in search of like-minded people. It often addresses those Russians outside Russia who have openly declared their anti-war position. These priests can be addressed through social media and messengers. Below, we offer the reply of Archpriest Andrey Kordochkin to one of such numerous letters. – Sergei Chapnin

Dear N,

First, thank you for your trust and kindness towards me, a priest personally unknown to you.

You are asking me: what to do? Should you come to the Church and receive the sacraments? Is Christ present in the sacraments of Eucharist and Confession in the Russian Orthodox Church, and in that Church in general? How will the Russian Orthodox Church redeem the sin against the beatitude “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God”? How can one not lose his mind from despair, inability to change anything, and pain?

Judging by the letters I receive from Russia, many people are confronted by these questions in one form or another, not excluding the clergy. What do the words “Let us love one another, that in one mind we may confess” mean when there is neither love nor one-mindedness? How can we all commune from one chalice? How does one confess to a priest, with whom there is no agreement on the issue, which is most important for today? What is the point of attending the Church if none of this is possible? It is most difficult for those who are left to answer these questions by themselves.

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