Russian Orthodox Church Increasingly Identified With Russian Government
This morning's Washington Post reports on the growing influence of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Followers of other religions, especially Muslims, are concerned about the increasingly close relationship between the Orthodox church and government. Some public entities are adopting Orthodox symbols, and the teaching of Orthodox culture has been mandated in some schools this year. (See prior posting.) Critics say this is turning Orthodoxy into a state religion. The Church is increasingly being identified with a patriotism that favors a strong centralized state, and the military is using Orthodoxy to build esprit de corps. The Church has canonized Fyodor Ushakov, an 18th-century naval commander, and the Navy has adopted him as a patron saint.