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Turmoil in Moscow

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (Valerij Ledenev/Flickr)
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin (Valerij Ledenev/Flickr)

Ever heard of Father Vsevolod Chaplin? He is — or was, until very recently — the chief spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church. He’s an intense guy, it would seem. Last year, he published a dystopian novella under a pseudonym:

Suddenly, the plot of “Machaut” — which describes the apocalyptic destruction of 2043 Moscow at the hands of Islamists, Ukrainians, and gays — seems less like the ravings of a lonely keyboard warrior and more like a well-informed window on what scares the Kremlin most.

“‘The press secretary to the president of the Moscow Confederation and Assembly of Revolution Leaders, Tasho Pim, has warned that people who fail to comply with the new ban on intolerant thinking will be subject to involuntary euthanasia,'” a news report announces in the opening scene, followed shortly by an ad for a “happiness generator” called the HaHaHa 25.0. (The full text of the novella is available here.)

What follows is a chaotic world Chaplin himself characterizes as a “liberal hell” — vegan breakfasts, dreadlocked African legionnaires, “intergender” ad executives who go by the personal pronoun “it,” and, considering the author, a curiously detailed hookup involving graphic language and a “sex-generation belt.”

Sounds like America under the second Hillary administration. Ha ha! I keed.

Anyway, Fr. Chaplin’s ecclesiastical career came to a screeching halt recently. More:

Father Vsevolod Chaplin, who, since 2009, had been head of the church’s department for cooperation with society, was relieved of his duties on Thursday. Chaplin had called for the church and the Russian government to take a more active role in east Ukraine, and recently referred to the Russian military intervention in Syria as a holy war. However, he had criticised the current Russian political elite for corruption.

“Everything started a year ago, as I disagreed in principle with our Ukraine position. We should have not waited but worked to make sure our authorities heard the voices of people who think themselves Russian,” Chaplin told the newspaper RBK on Friday. Chaplin said Russia’s current political leaders were an “immoral elite who are stopping the country from developing”.

The Interfax news agency has more:

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, who was dismissed from the post of the Synodal Department on Church and Society Liaison by the Synod’s decision on Thursday, said he links his dismissal to differences with Patriarch Kirill.

“I have been trying to tell his Holiness that the tone in the relations with the state that the Church tends to take is wrong, we should be more critical about the immoral and unjust actions by the authorities, we should be more direct when speaking to society, we should in no case suck up to structures that challenge Orthodox faith so clearly as the current administration of Ukraine. We should generally prophesize, not think every time as to who will think and say what, and we should not be afraid of getting into a conflict with those who have power in this world,” Father Vsevolod told Interfax-Religion.

The second area in which Father Vsevolod has major differences with Patriarch Kirill is the current church administration. “Many decisions are made unsystematically, without consultations with the relevant synodal establishments, in the lobby, in haste. One can’t do that. A system that works in this way is sure to make mistakes,” the priest said. He also said he has warned people about that many times, but was not heard.

He criticized the Putinist civil order:

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the World Russian People’s Assembly, believes the absence of ideological freedom and a broad public debate may cause a catastrophe in Russia by 2017.

“Some people believe that public debate should be minimized, that what is going on in people’s minds, in the sphere of communication between people should be ignored and in that way we can calmly live to 2017 or 2018. Dear ladies and gentlemen, it’s not going to happen,” Father Vsevolod told a press conference in Moscow on Friday.

“The conservatism, which is trying to cleanse the sphere of ideas, close the key issues to the present and future of the country and the world, people who think and act in this way commit political suicide – they will be gone,” he said.

Curiouser and curiouser…

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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