By Kostas Onisenko
The Moscow Patriarchate seems to support any initiative from the Kremlin, even when the Russian Orthodox Church itself has expressed the opposite view.
In the most recent example, the head of the synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion, welcomed the decision of the Moscow authorities to compulsorily vaccinate 60% of the citizens of the Russian capital, who work in the field of services.
The decision is related to the new wave of coronavirus that has hit Russia.
In the past, the Russian Orthodox Church has explicitly stated that vaccination of the population should be voluntary. However, following the decision of the political authorities, the Russian Orthodox Church changed its position, saying that it agrees with the decision of the political leadership. In order to justify this change of direction, Metropolitan Hilarion cited an example from the Second World War.
“We have to understand that this is really a war because a biological weapon was used against us, it is a war for the survival of the people,” said Metropolitan Hilarion.
“During the Great Patriotic War (editor’s note: Russian term for USSR’s involvement in WWII during 1941-1954), there were many volunteers.
But if only volunteers had been fighting, we wouldn’t have won this war, we would have lost it. A general mobilization had been declared. In order to defeat this virus, we must declare a general mobilization,” said Metropolitan Hilarion during his weekly show on the state channel Россия-24.
In fact, Metropolitan Hilarion followed the “recipe” of the Kremlin politicians, according to which the responsibility for the state’s mistakes, and for the mistakes of the Russian Orthodox Church, is passed on to ordinary citizens, who are described as “irresponsible” and “stupid.”
Russia’s political leadership has failed in recent times to take the necessary protective measures to curb the pandemic, such as the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which was attended by thousands of people who, as reported on television, did not maintain social distancing, wear face masks etc.
The same happened in the Russian Orthodox Church itself, as can be seen from the footage of the recent Divine Liturgy in the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces where no protection measures were observed.
However, when all the hospitals in Moscow were full of COVID-19 patients and it was time for responsibilities, Metropolitan Hilarion said: “Unfortunately no one has invented a vaccine against stupidity, no one has developed a cure for selfishness, and there are many people around us, who continue to act so irresponsibly.”