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Putin Revives Soviet Persecution of Christians Amid Prayers for Peace

Posted on Saturday, December 9, 2023
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis

MOSCOW REGION, SERGIYEV POSAD, RUSSIA - JUL 18, 2014: President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus Kirill (Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev) at the ceremony of celebration of the 700th anniversary of the birthday of St. Sergius of Radonezh
Patriarch Kirill (L) and Russian President Valdimir Putin (R)

Amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church – now nothing more than a political puppet of Moscow – has become one of the primary supporters of the war. Meanwhile, Christians throughout Russia and in neighboring Belarus have been subject to harsh persecution for advocating for peace and opposing Russia’s bastardization of biblical teachings.

Much as was the case in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the only truly accepted form of religion today inside Russia is that which serves the interests of the state. Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, has declared that any Russian soldiers who die fighting Ukraine will be absolved of all sins. The church has also set up “Orthodox private military companies” to send Orthodox followers into battle.

Encouraged by Kirill, at least 197 priests have joined the Russian military under the pretense of becoming chaplains, but have also been put to work delivering weapons and ammunition to Russian forces on the front lines.

This devotion to the war effort and to Putin specifically has trickled down throughout the church. Shortly after the start of the invasion last year, Archbishop Pitirim of Syktyvkar, a city in northern Russia, called on his parishioners to “rally even closer around our supreme military and political leadership and our valiant army, which, as in the years of the Great Patriotic War, is defending our earthly Fatherland from the insidious enemy of the human race.”

Meanwhile, at a Pentecostal church in Moscow, children are being taught to “thank God for Putin.” A pastor at another Christian church recently sang a worship song calling on Christians to “rise with God’s ballistic missiles” and “carry the good news that Russia is for Christ.”

These few examples encapsulate the scale of evil manipulation that Russian Christians confront every day. The moral confusion and despair among Christian leaders there is evident.

The price for resisting this perversion of Christian teachings, however, is steep. In recent months, Moscow has cracked down hard on dissenters within the Russian Orthodox Church and other religious groups, evoking memories of similar persecutions during the Soviet era.

In October, one Russian Orthodox parish priest in southern Russia answered the door early in the morning only to be physically assaulted by men with machine guns. Local police decided to search his apartment since prosecutors designated him a suspect after he opposed the church’s support for the war in Ukraine and “lowered Russian morale.”

“It was a display of force in front of a helpless, ill, and innocent priest who was also tortured,” observed a Telegram channel that reports on the persecution of Christians in Russia.

Russian Orthodox Church authorities can also expel priests from the ministry and label them as a “foreign agent,” as they did with Father Deacon Andrey Kurayev, who regularly criticized a warmonger church leader.

Ordinary churchgoers have also been prosecuted for expressing their faith. In September, a man who held a self-made sign urging passersby to pray for political prisoners and end the war in Ukraine was arrested, with police breaking his ribs in the process.

Two weeks later, a court sentenced a young Protestant believer, Vyacheslaw Reznichenko, to two and a half years in a penal colony for refusing to fight against Ukraine. “With this decision, the court legalized violation of the freedom of conscience in Russia,” his lawyer said, adding that his wife and five-month-old child were being left without financial support. At least four Christian men who refused to enlist in the army have also been jailed for up to three years.

The last three months have provided evidence that these persecutions are increasing. According to the monitoring by local activists, at least 55 Russian clergy members from Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant churches in November experienced threats, intimidation, or disciplinary action for refusing to show strong enough support for the war.

“Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the Christian reputation of the Russian church dramatically deteriorated after it elevated the state’s policies over God’s commandments,” a priest from Russia’s Far East told me. “The Patriarch with senior clergy had fully committed to political and military subjugation of Russia’s neighbors.”

“Now, many of us who disagree and pray for peace face tribulation or catacombs,” he said, referring to the secret Christian church that existed during the Soviet period and which he attended as a young believer.

This persecution has spread to other nations within Russia’s orbit as well.

According to Christian Vision, a Lithuania-based rights group which monitors persecution, in November, the Belarussian government – a virtual puppet state of Moscow – arrested two Protestant pastors and two Catholic priests for exhorting Christians to pray for peace in the Russia-Ukraine war. A month earlier, a court in Belarus obliterated one of the largest evangelical churches in Minsk and ordered bulldozers to destroy the building. At least 100 believers have been imprisoned for anti-war statements, and more have been fined. 

Since 2020 when Belarussian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko falsified elections, local Christians have suffered harsh oppression and harassment. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a Belarussian opposition leader, has said that she has direct knowledge of at least 16 Catholic, 12 Protestant, 11 Orthodox and 6 Greek-Catholic priests who have been tortured and imprisoned in Belarus since 2020.

In 1927, Patriarch Tikhon, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church whom the Soviet government did not recognize and subsequently murdered, warned in one of his last messages that only a God-established authority is a genuine authority. Any authority that deems itself higher than God is despotic.

Today, that is exactly what faithful Christians in Russia are enduring.

Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.

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E. Paul John
E. Paul John
2 months ago

Russian Orthodox Church has been a political organization since its beginnings. The church’s property and workers abroad hold diplomatic status, being instruments of Moscow’s foreign policy. Russian government subsidizes the church in Russia. The high-ranking clergy had a close relationship with the ruling elite.

Therefore, the Russian Orthodox Church should be seen as the Russian government’s ministry rather than an independent organization. The church is not separated from the state, and the Russian leader is de facto its guide.

Putin is not defending Christianity as so many on the Conservative side deceptively claim. The man who believes in aggression and immense wealth (he was born in poverty, so his complex is not to end up as such) is demolishing Christianity. He has never been Christian, but he is a member of KGB, the criminal organization that murdered millions of Christians.

This truth that this article describes, which so many on our side are trying to erase, twist, or silence, is now on full display. 

Christians are suffering in Russia – it is one of the most challenging times for authentic Christians in that country – nobody should pretend that it is different and be silent about it.

Janet
Janet
2 months ago

Convincing some gullible Americans that Putin is some good guy was a goal of Russian social media manipulators. With some in media, we thought can replace MSM, claiming that Ukrainians persecute Christians, this truth revealed here will be inconvenient. Hopefully, some will understand that the world is not as simple as imagined. That Russian regime is arresting, imprisoning, and torturing Bible-believing and other faithful Christians.
No, Russia is not defending Christianity, never was, and never intended to do it. Naive and ignorant can believe such a lie. They fight for power and influence over neighboring countries. It is the reason for that war. Part of that influence is, of course, the Russian church. Period.

But unfortunately, some will continue turning their head in other directions, as with many other things, including the border, elections, free market printing money, etc.

But this article rightly talks about increasing earthly hell for Christians in Russia and Belorus.

Eve Flynn
Eve Flynn
2 months ago

Under Trump, our State Department would immediately talk and produce reports about these crimes. We had people who were watching which countries violated religious freedom. The Left would be screaming about their version of liberty, but Americans would know about this injustice. Biden is silent. I am glad Amac talks about it. Yet another topic you discuss that only some want to touch. Thanks, Amac. 

Matthew
Matthew
2 months ago

This is awful, and I pray for these precious Christians. I believe more Americans should know about it. I am grateful for this report, however, I am afraid many will reject it on our side. It is a doubly sad situation. We should stand for these Christians against persecutors.

Anne Willson
Anne Willson
2 months ago

We rarely hear such stories from Russia. This is another side of this dreadful invasion of Ukraine. Christians who naturally stand for non-violence and peace are Putin’s dictatorship victims. It is awful. And this White House is silent about it.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

We are witnessing Christian persecution in Russia like never before in the modern times. It should be a wake up call for everyone. Thanks to the author and Amac for this article.

Ronald
Ronald
2 months ago

During Reagan, we had many more committed Christians among Republicans and Conservatives. Trumpism wanted to be a mass movement, including many secularists and atheists but lost its principled character. Christians, together with Jews (Jews For Reagan), although naturally a minority, were the backbone of the Conservative movement. When we would learn about persecution, we would immediately turn to our Representatives, demanding they would do something about it. It was natural. Today, faith plays a much less important role. Besides, the news, and most importantly, even that provided by our media, is of lower quality since God was pushed on the horizon. Those who came after us secularized Republicans and Conservatives. In such a situation, indifference seems to be the only reaction. Besides, as it was said here, many believed the lie that Putin defends Christianity. But that lie was created by individuals whom I would not call Christians. I will be praying for all these persecuted Brothers and Sisters in Russia and Belarus.

John Beach
John Beach
2 months ago

This is interesting and deja vu because the Russians have a long history of experience with persecution and they “can take it.” Siberia has proved it over and over again. If we decry the dishonesty of elections that puts despots in power, why is it that we can not ensure that they never come to power, by choice in elections, or are not made despots by the abuse of power in policies which require remedies by those who succeed them? Unless this type of leadership is the will of God, and an election representing the “voice of the people” is, actually, meaningless, overruled by the will of God or conforming to it, nothing is accomplished by human choice if life is predetermined and predestined, apart from choice.
Otherwise, the legal system has a great deal of adjudicating to do.

Rich
Rich
2 months ago

Somehow this all looks familiar. Oh wait! It’s Nazi Germany all over again. History really does repeat itself.

Arnie
Arnie
2 months ago

It is a moving story, which I guess I am reading for the first time. I was not aware of such a scale of the Russian government’s hatred towards Christians. Armed men breaking into homes with machine guns, torturing, and even destroying church buildings were a domain of the Chinese regime. It looks like Russia merged with China. It seems to me it did not happen in the last few months. But this is a call for prayers and care.

Eve
Eve
2 months ago

This article is much needed nowadays when we tend to believe fiction. Last month, Russian believers who came for a visit to our church talked about it. One of them was forced to go to war, where he was wounded, abandoned, and saved by the Ukrainians. He was freed and allowed to leave Ukraine for medical treatment by a miracle. The court believed his testimony of being forcibly enlisted. From the first day, he tried to surrender. They knew about it. To make this story short, they provided us with information, part of which I found also in this article.

This article should be sent, posted, and promoted to reach as many Conservative Americans as possible. Amac, please continue to do this excellent job!

David
David
2 months ago

For me, it is a sign of the return of the Cold War. I was young when Stalin died, but everyone thought that the worst ended. Then, when his successor came, persecution increased. Soviets continued until Perestroika, which started to change things for the better. However, in the late 80s, many Christian laymen and priests suffered persecution. If I am not mistaken, even during Gorbachev’s times, “unknown” criminals killed independent priests. 

Glynn
Glynn
2 months ago

More reason to defend out Right To Bare ARMS!!!!

Ken
Ken
2 months ago

Coming to a country near you. In some ways, it’s already here. God help us.

Michael
Michael
2 months ago

Is putin thinking like lucifer who desired to be worshiped. I guess history is repeating itself. Boris yeltsin was a 1000 times better.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Rerun 1917 Russian Rev era
& add LGBTQ as well make=

anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

As long as the church sings Putin’s song it will stay alive

Steve Greenwell
Steve Greenwell
2 months ago

The Russian Orthodox hierarchy were government-inspected, grade-A, prime turkeys under the Tsars, became so under the communists, and continued so under Putin, even though he is more of a Hobbesian than a communist. I encourage prayer for the Christians who refuse to believe the other gospel that the Russian Orthodox Church is pushing.

Jeri
Jeri
2 months ago

Putin is a Marxist tyrant. Expecting something different? He believes he is God’s gift to humanity and doesn’t understand why you need a God other than him. It is pretty simple.

Bacon Nivison
Bacon Nivison
2 months ago

Nothing more than a branch of the Satanic/Marxist revolution going on. Religion is the principle target of Marxists as they work to make government a deity of a secular nature. We have reached a point where human freedom, the greatest grant from above, is fading into a mire of cut of the boy’s penis and crush women’s athletics, teach antiSemitism in college (a tremendous mystery this one, Satanic for sure!).

Thinking
Thinking
2 months ago

Aren’t we here in America not experiencing the same thing. Or in Canada where a minister was arrested for supporting the truckers. Here the FBI goes after the Catholics. Religion is being spit upon by the ultra left. Think of the man who prayed silently outside an abortion clinic and raided his home early one morning. Like he was the devil incarnate. That is what you get when Satan is ruling America. This is going to continue till they have eliminated organized religion. The people can only worship one God and that is the ultra left. Russia is not alone it is spreading worldwide.

Eric
Eric
2 months ago

Important to understand the difference between peacetime USSR persecution vs today’s Russia with an actual war going on

Karen
Karen
2 months ago

Another side of the story. Ukraine was to remain neutral.The Russian Orthodox Church did not want western immorality creeping into the country. Ukraine’s president does drag in leathers heels and whips. Saw him dance in a video.Russia wants men to be men.

Ken Y
Ken Y
2 months ago

Amazing how quickly we allege election fraud in other countries, yet vehemently deny that it happened in our own country and on a very vast scale.

Carol Schmidt
Carol Schmidt
2 months ago

I do not believe this is true, as described….
Putin and Russia have been identified as the bad guys has, but if one listens to other than msm, one would know
1…that Biohazardous weapons, including some facilitated by the US were being developed in underground labs under Ukraine, with some even designed to be more devastating on specific races/cultures/nationalities.
2 …that Ukraine is identified as one of the largest human/CHILD trafficking sites in world via their underground tunnels!
3…that the K nazis were responsible for killing their own citizens…and blowing up many of their own sites, and blaming Russia!
4…that the billions of $$$ being sent to Ukraine were distributed to government officials and purchases of huge yachts, and/or laundered and funneled back to government officials! The amount many of our own government leaders pocketed is available if you search!
5…that Russia entered Ukraine to get the children out, destroy the bioweapons being developed, and that millions of Ukrainian soldiers surrendered themselves to Russian military for their own safety!
6…that peace deals have been reached on multiple occasions but Ukraine leader always backed out/refused to sign when it came to doing so.
My point is….we listen too much to what our corrupt leaders want us to believe…and don’t ask questions or do research ourselves!

Bruce Kielty
Bruce Kielty
2 months ago

I have heard that the present Ukraine leadership has also been hard on Christians. Even the Mayor of Kiev has been critical of what he called a Ukrainian dictatorship

conservativegal
conservativegal
2 months ago

Just read that a town in Iowa, of all places, has a display allowed by the Governor to be set up in the state capitol rotunda! It is evil in its looks and the music they played with it is bone-chilling….actually sounds like one of the grunge rock bands! then I see this article…..I know Communists are not Christian, not even Atheists because to deny God you have to 1st believe there is a God to deny….right?!!? WTF is going on in our world??

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
2 months ago

The guy below is correct. During the time of the Soviets, the leaders of the Church were not in place because of their Christianity.

Pamela Stump
Pamela Stump
2 months ago

Those examples are political persecution, not religious persecution. The people being “persecuted” happen to be Christians but are persecuted for their political beliefs, not their Christian beliefs. There is a difference.

invictus
invictus
2 months ago

Pretty sure that Putin and his associates will quit doing that once Zelensky quits persecuting black and ethnic people, as he’s widely known to do.

Sandpa
Sandpa
2 months ago

Who are we to judge who God chooses to use. Same with Trump… look at the rest of his choices throughout the Bible… Any enemy of our enemy, can be a friend/Ally in war against Globalist enemies.. God Bless US ALL

deb
deb
2 months ago

Very interesting! Throughout history the church has been in lots of political skirmishes. Recently, lots of people were hurt by pedophiles in the church that were protected and allowed to continue. Now we are concerned about the history and actions of the church in Russia and Putin. How about fixing the church and political corruption at home? Our corrupt criminal government has been abusing Christians for a long time trashing your votes and censoring your truth. When will you stand up against Biden and his puppet masters. Voting for Trump is not enough. They locked you up with the phony Jan6th fake insurrection. How about banding together and going after our corrupt gov.

Scott F Davis
Scott F Davis
2 months ago

I for one would like to vett the author of this article. Russia today is not communist. Russia is a Russian Orthodox Federated Republic recovering from over 75 years of Soviet communism. Soviet means rule by council.

fabian
fabian
2 months ago

What a bunch of crap. And Christians all over Ukraine are subject to harsh persecution, thanks to Biden. Putin is the last stand for white Christians. If he’s gone, you have nowhere to go. It’s game over. Do not follow Biden.

Kraig Stanforth
Kraig Stanforth
2 months ago

…and Ukraine is as pure as the wind driven virgin snow ? Both countries are corrupt- let’s not get involved AMAC

Alene Math
Alene Math
2 months ago

What utter garbage. I can sure tell that whoever “Ben Solis” is, he has never been to Russia or at least not since the second Reagan Administration.
I guess the proper way to relate to the primary religion of one country is to imprison its priests and steal the centuries held icons belonging to that religion like the puppet state of Ukraine has done and has bragged about doing in that proxy pisshole Zelensky rules (until his people lovingly hang him from a lampost).
I sure am starting to question my continued membership with AMAC when they pay either a liar or someone absurdly ill informed as whoever Bel Solis is. A man so proud of his writings that he hides behind a false identity.
Oh………and did Putin sick his intel agencies against the Catholic Church as our own beloved Justice Department did?
Clean your own room before you start lying about the condition of someone elses you pitiful propagandist.

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