Was Deacon Andrey excluded from the Theological Commission for his Defence of “Pussy Riot” ?

Deacon Andrey Kurayev have since long  been a face towards the public on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church . I read articles and saw books , written by him, while I was a student in Moscow in the 90’s.  Now he is excluded from the list of members in the Theological Commission of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church –  Moscow Patriarchate – where he worked for ten years.

Diakonen Andrej Kurajev

Was he excluded for his defence of “Pussy Riot“?  No, he never defended them that much.  He condemned  their action in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in February  2012, but he made some remarks to “defend the Gospel”. He didn’t think the  Church should call for a severe punishment.

The thing is about “publications made on social media that are not according to standard”, of the official Church. In a one-hour interview the other day over “Radio Echo  Moscow” about the Church and Society in general,  certain interesting points of view are made, as he search to define his role :

“…  Question: Of course. Well,this may be a delicate question. When you write about  the    internal ecclesiastical situation –  is it easy to do it, or is it not? One must compare such  activity  with the famous rule:’Do no harm’. Yes, it is clear, from one side it is obvious, that  you  suffer  because of what has happened, and a lot so because of what may harm people  within as well as  without the Church, but from another side this stuff will be read by  people not  well-intended, who are satisfied only to wave any critic and say:’Oh, so  they are all the same’.

Deacon Andrey: You see, there have been different periods in my life. Years have passed, when I thought exactly the same. That you shouldn’t bring any negative thing out into the public, because the image of the Church is so important…..Today people tell me:’Father Andrey, you are always exaggerating. Please don’t. There is nothing really to fear about’…. People tell me:’Father Andrey, so and so you have written and published on the blog, that is to say, you have brought it all into the public..’. Where – into the public? But, look at the comments on my blog. 90% are from orthodox Christians. Why? Does the Church’s borders go along the framework of the Synod? Or along the framework of the Spiritual Academy? No, not at all. Maybe that is where the Church only begins. This is why I turn to the people who belongs to this very Church. If you only knew how many telephone calls, letters, SMS, that I have received these days from priests from Russia and literary from all the world, from orthodox priests ! It’s interesting, by the way, it’s amazing – from protestants I have received letters of support, and not one catholic did object – their corporative ethics is so much stronger …

Question: A representative of the Moscow Patriarchate , Vsevolod Chaplin , made some remarks about how it could harm the whole Church when someone who is not well-informed take a certain case and apply it to the whole Church.

Deacon Andrey: Yes, and for that reason…but the Church have no experience. There is no real-life experience on terms of a free, public discussion. We had the Byzantine Empire, we had the Russian Empire, with their governmental institutions.  In the Soviet Union the State was separated from us, but we were not separated from the State and the KGB. Now we have had only 20 years of freedom, and very much is until now unclear, what are the algorithms of internal discussions, and where are the borders – it is impossible to understand…”

Deacon Andrey continues to give examples from Church-history, what happened to dissident priests in the centuries that followed  after the Apostles. He seem to be ready for a fight.

What really happened ? He wrote on his blog about a recent schism in the Orthodox Church in the Czech Republic, where a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church might have played a subversive role, about homosexual priests in an Orthodox Seminar in Kazan in Russia, about Khodorkovsky, recently freed from prison, and about many other subjects.

All of a sudden he was no longer a member of the Theological Commission, mentioned above.

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