Patriarch Alexy II and His Legacy

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The head of
the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, died at 79 on December
5, 2008 at his residence at the fashionable Moscow suburb of Peredelkino
from heart failure.

During his
18-year patriarchy, which coincided with the collapse of the USSR
and difficulties of the post-communist transition, the Russian Orthodox
church was transformed from the persecuted and tightly controlled
"legal counterrevolutionary force," as defined by Soviet
authorities, to a symbol of Russia and an integral and important
part of its ruling elite.

His controversial
legacy reflects the tragic history of Russian people and their church,
and his official image as defender of faith and savior of the Russian
soul is tarnished by allegations of his being a KGB agent and the
Soviet government’s assistant in the destruction of the church.

Alexy was born
Alexei Ridiger February 23, 1929, in then-independent Estonia, where
his religious parents took refuge from the murderous Bolshevik regime
established in neighboring Petrograd in 1917. His grandfather, a
colonel of the Tsar’s army, was shot by Bolsheviks in 1918.

To be religious
in Soviet Russia often meant a death sentence. Missionaries of the
Marxist utopia, Bolsheviks could not tolerate any competition for
the minds of their captives. Their goal was to establish the absolute
monopoly of the State over the thought process by their secular
religion of communism.

The Soviet
Union was the first state to have as an ideological and practical
objective the elimination of religion or, in other words, physical
extermination of religious people.

Not for a single
year would Soviet authorities give them a break from repressions:

With Lenin’s
decree of the separation of church and State on January 20, 1918,
nationalization (i.e. daylight robbery) of the church’s property
began: cathedrals and churches, church grounds, all buildings owned
by churches were looted and valuables (gold, silver, platinum, paintings,
icons, historical artifacts) were either stolen by Communist atheists
or sold to the West via their Western sympathizers, agents, or fellow
travelers like Armand Hammer, who first visited the Soviet Union
and met Lenin in 1921. Hammer claimed that he went to Russia to
collect some $150,000 in debts for drugs his company shipped there,
but ended bartering wheat to Bolsheviks in exchange of gold and
other valuables.

The time of
his visit coincided with the first wave of church persecutions:
11,000 priests, monks, and nuns were arrested, and 9,000 executed.
Almost all arrests on religious grounds would end with executions.

In the beginning
of 1922, Lenin sent confidential instructions to Trotsky, ordering
him to exterminate religion (i.e., clerics and other religious people).
In the same year, the Bolsheviks organized show trials of the Russian
Orthodox Patriarch Tikhon and Metropolitan Benjamin; 2,000 church
hierarchs including Benjamin were shot as a result. Tikhon’s life
was officially spared, but he died shortly of "natural causes."

During 1922–25
strange bedfellows – leading Bolsheviks and church leaders
– formed an alliance with the goal of the former’s aspiration
to break the Church from within and the latter’s hope to save what
could be saved. They established the Renovated Church presenting
Jesus as a militant proletarian resentful of capitalist exploitation.

There is no
consensus about the true scale of communist crimes against people
of faith. According to some [1], the number of Orthodox Churches in Russia fell
from 29,584 to less than 500 between 1927 and 1940. Between 1917
and 1935, 130,000 Orthodox priests were arrested. Of these, 95,000
were put to death.

According to
Russian sources [2] the number of victims of communist atheism is close to one
million.

By the beginning
of the Second World War almost all clergy, and millions of believers
of all religions and denominations, were shot or sent to labor camps.
Theological schools were closed, and religious publications prohibited.

In this "cultural"
environment Alexy, ordained as a priest in 1950, rose in the Orthodox
hierarchy, becoming Bishop of his native Tallinn in 1961 and Metropolitan
of Novgorod and Leningrad in 1986. The sad truth is that in 1957
Alexy was recruited by the KGB. The church itself became a department
of the Soviet secret police and could not choose anyone for any
leadership position without KGB approval. It is a paradox that many
faithful men and women were serving the Devil to see their church
preserved. Felix Corley, a British scholar on eastern European religious
affairs, insists that there is evidence that Alexy saved some churches
during the Khrushchev’s onslaught on religious buildings in the
early 1960s, including Tallinn’s Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
[3]
. Mr. Corley’s opinion is widely shared in the West.

God bless Alexy.
I would not.

The Patriarch
of Moscow and All Russia, the Right Honorable Alexy II, was KGB
agent "Ouzel," who was a wholesale trader of his friends
and associates to the godless communist devil.

Biographies
of many church hierarchs in all socialist countries under communism
are so freakish, that they dwarf the wildest Orwellian imagination.

Alexi’s breath-taking
career was engineered by the KGB. Just three years after his "conversion"
to the devil as a village priest, he was made the Bishop of Tallinn
(he was 32, and married – both very unusual for the Orthodox
Church’s hopefuls), in the next three years he was made an Archbishop,
and then – Metropolitan. In seven years under the militantly
atheistic Khrushchev regime, he became the de facto head of the
whole church, with unlimited foreign travel privileges. For an ordinary
priest, westbound travel was much less likely than space odysseys.

Sure enough
"Ouzel" was praised by another KGB operative, Vladimir
Putin, who called Alexy’s death a great tragedy: "He was a
luminous man. His death is a great loss." Russia’s chief rabbi,
Berel Lazar, said that Alexy was "a man of moral principles
who never made compromises on key issues of faith." Mr. Putin’s
spokesman, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who was on an official
visit to India when the news broke, called Alexy a "great citizen"
who "suffered all the critical tests the country experienced
during the 20th century." [4] He definitely did and failed all of them.

Alexy
was a vocal supporter of Chechen wars and Russian state television
showed priests blessing tanks and other heavy weaponry of mass murder
almost every day.

In an outrageous
act of blasphemy, Alexy opened and blessed Moscow’s Church of God’s
Wisdom, as the official church of the KGB a.k.a. as the Federal
Security Service.

Alexy’s
Western liberal friends and sympathizers, especially in the Episcopal
Church, which praised Alexy on numerous occasions, should be aware
that he was not one of them. In October 2007 he told the Council
of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly that homosexuality "is an
illness, a distortion of a human being." He compared it with
kleptomania which is the condition of not being able to resist the
urge to steal things.

Alexy demanded
that Moscow’s mayor Luzhkov should prohibit gay parades in the capital
and arrest their participants. Mr. Luzhkov complied with great pleasure.
His police went further and had beaten up many of these local and
foreign participants almost to death (including some visiting members
of the European Parliament) what caused first serious negative reaction
of the European Union towards the Putin regime.

Alexy had a
full life, and outlived many of his flock. No surprise! He devoted
his life to keep his sheep sheep, and succeeded. R.I.P.!

Notes


[1]
Russian Orthodox Church, Wikipedia

[2] Новая Газета,
13.10.1998

[3] The Moscow Times, Sunday, December 07,
2008.

[4] The Moscow Times, Sunday, December 07,
2008.

December
8, 2008

Yuri
N. Maltsev [send
him mail
] is Professor of Economics at
Carthage College in Wisconsin. Before coming to the U.S. in 1989,
he was a member of a senior team of Soviet economists that worked
on President Gorbachev’s reforms package of perestroika. He is the
author of Requiem
for Marx
.

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