Russian Orthodox Church responds to Berezovsky’s address to Patriarch

Moscow, January 17, Interfax – The Moscow Patriarchate has expressed skepticism about the address issued by businessman Boris Berezovsky to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

“On one hand, it may seem pleasant that Boris Abramovich is suggesting that the Church should increase its role in the events taking place in Russia. However, on the other hand, the past activities of this man lead one to believe that you should listen to this man attentively and do exactly the opposite,” Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the synodal department for church and society liaison, told Interfax-Religion, commenting on Berezovsky’s address to Patriarch Kirill, which was published on the Ekho Moskvy website on Monday.

Berezovsky, who currently lives in London, suggested that the patriarch should “assume the historical mission of saving Russia from disturbance,” “ensure a bloodless change of power in Russia,” communicate “people’s voice” to Vladimir Putin, and then “take power from his hands and pass it to the people in a peaceful, wise, and Christian manner.”

Chaplin reiterated that taking secular power is “the last thing the Church is supposed to do” and all historical episodes where the Orthodox, Catholic, or any other church “became a secular power or part of it indicate that such a situation is bad.”

“I don’t quite understand what people Boris Abramovich [Berezovsky] wants the power to be given to. Where are representatives of these people? Whom does Mr Berezovsky consider to be legitimate? I would be interested in hearing his response to learn the names of the true friends of the people, who truly express his opinion,” Father Vsevolod said.

Father Vsevolod also said it is “interesting” that Berezovsky “is trying to present two ‘prophesies’ as having no alternative in his address: noisy protests will lead to shooting, when the flows of mutual accusations will lead to the killings of innocent people” and alleges that “society will not accept the election outcome, no matter how transparent and fair elections are.”

“I would be interested to know what supreme or opposite force has revealed out future to Boris Abramovich. Berezovsky has enough things to do as it is. He has lived in the UK for many years and is sure to be familiar with the scientific, political, and public reality. Why not think about political reforms and predictions of public processes in that country? No doubt, the people of the UK may also benefit from the fountain of ideas of this non-standard and creative person,” Father Vsevolod said.