Indeed, it was Mr. Putin who first made overtures to the Church Abroad in September 2003, when he met with its leadership during a visit to New York. The church merger is only the most recent of his successful attempts to appropriate symbols of Russia’s prerevolutionary and anticommunist past along with Soviet ones. ~Nadia Kizenko
This is simply untrue. Talks between the Synod and Moscow predated Putin’s administration and they certainly predated his visit to New York. By the time I was baptised in January 2003, reunion was already being widely discussed in the Synod. It is true that reconciliation negotiations continued and perhaps even intensified in the past seven years, and it is true that Putin has supported this reconciliation (obviously doing so for his own purposes), but it is frankly insulting to all the bishops in the Synod to claim that Putin could have somehow masterminded the consent of the bishops of the Church Abroad. Bishop Gabriel of New York expressed strong reservations about the reconciliation in the past, yet even he did not finally oppose it.
What theological and moral issues are at stake? Note that Ms. Kizenko does not elaborate, presumably because she either does not know or cannot explain. Those are the only issues of any consequence that should prevent the reconciliation of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church. Unless there are credible arguments about some serious error into which Moscow has fallen, there is nothing more to talk about. Communism as a state system is finished; the Soviet Union is no more; Sergianism and collaboration are things of the past. Ms. Kizenko must know this. Indeed, it is not possible for her to not know this, yet she persists in encouraging precisely the kind of fractiousness and discord among Russian Orthodox outside Russia that she holds up as a major challenge for our bishops. That she does so in a paper well-known for its hatred of Russia and all Orthodox nations is all the more unfortunate. It is depressing to see the extent to which some people will take their obsession with Putin-bashing.