The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, has finally removed the well-known Orthodox theologian and deacon Andrei Kuraev from the clerical state, the Russian section of Radio Svoboda reported. Kuraev criticized both Kirill and the authorities in the Kremlin, and after the outbreak of the military invasion of Ukraine, he claimed that this “unnecessary and aggressive war will go down in Russian history as suicidal.”
Andrei Kuraev currently lives abroad. Russian media do not specify when he left and in which country he stayed. The well-known Russian publicist Andrei Soldatov wrote on the pages of the independent “Nova Gazeta” portal that this year the clergyman traveled twice to Germanwhere his brother lives with his family and to Czechwhere he spent his childhood.
Andrei Kuraev personally announced the removal from the clerical state. On Telegram, he published a screenshot of the decree signed by Cyril on Friday, April 28. The patriarch justified that “for more than two years he has not changed his position and continues his anti-church activities.”
In response, the deacon wrote that “the right to co-serve (concelebrate – ed.) with the present Patriarch Kirill, that is, as he made himself, is a dubious honor, which he does not intend to seek.”
The decision of the church court and Cyril
In April 2020, Kirill banned Kuraev from celebrating the liturgy. The reason was his words to one of the Moscow priests who died of infection coronavirus. In December two years ago, the church court of the Moscow eparchy found “marks of blasphemy against the Russian Orthodox Church” in Kuraev’s statements and removed him from the clergy.
Cyril – as the Russian section of Radio Svoboda reminds – opposed this decision at the time, giving Kuraev time to “rethink his position and repent”. Signing the current decree, Cyril stated that “for more than two years (Kurajew – ed.) he has not shown any sign of remorse by word or deed and has not stopped his destructive activity”, therefore “he is removed from the clerical state”.
Russian church missionary
Radio Svoboda reminded that Kuraev is one of the most famous missionaries of the Russian Orthodox Church, who regularly preached, appeared during rock concerts, in television programs and was one of the first in the church to appear on the Internet. The clergyman was a clerk in the secretariat of the previous Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, and one of Kirill’s closest associates before he became the head of the Orthodox Church in Russia.
“In recent years, Kuraev has actively criticized the church structures and the patriarch himself, accusing the church of distance towards parishioners, bureaucracy and inertia. Now Kuraev opposes war in Ukraine and the position of the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church on the aggression,” emphasized Radio Svoboda.
When the church “speaks with the voice of the Kremlin”
In one of the interviews, when asked about Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, Kuraev said that this “unnecessary and aggressive war will go down in Russian history as suicidal.”
Columnist Andrei Soldatov wrote in his commentary that “Kurayev’s free voice should continue to resound, leaving Orthodoxy in Russia some chance in conditions where the official church speaks with the voice of the Kremlin.”
The BBC’s Russian section reported that Kuraev could not give a specific reason why the decision, which Kirill had postponed for two years, was made now. In his opinion, however, the situation is obvious. – Where the wood chops, the shavings fly. When the great war is going on, few people will be interested in the fate of the little deacon, said the priest, quoted by independent Russian portals.
Radio Swoboda, BBC, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: Reuters