The visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill to China is over. He has travelled widely, celebrating notably in Beijing and in the Cathedrals in Harbin and Shanghai, remembering the work of the Russian and Chinese clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia there, notably of St John of Shanghai. Thus, the groundwork is being laid for the restoration of the national Chinese Church, dependent neither on the Catholic Vatican nor on Protestant America.
Professor Yury Kosov, Dean of the Faculty of International Relations of the North-Western Academy in Russia, commented today: ‘Not so long ago I was attending the defence of a doctoral thesis at the Faculty of International Relations in St Petersburg, entitled ‘Orthodox spiritual mission in the context of global processes of modernisation’. ‘Today we see that the Orthodox mission of the Russian Church is spreading the faith not only among Russian citizens, but worldwide. The Russian Church is active in furthering the spread of Orthodox values wherever it is possible…We must understand that in our world politics and spirituality are interconnected. If we do not defend national sovereignty…it is hard to keep spirituality in a country’.
The Russian Church also has a role to play in freeing bankrupt Cyprus and Greece and NATO-occupied Serbia. It is also active in Syria. Here it seems that the attempt to seize power by mainly foreign Islamist terrorists, financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and backed by Western Special Services in the Jordan and Turkey, and armed even with chemical weapons to commit their atrocities, is failing. What they achieved with Western backing and arms in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt is perhaps not going to succeed in Syria. What the Islamists achieved in Iraq, with 80% of the Christians now expelled, and what they are trying to achieve in Egypt with the expulsion and massacre of the Copts, may not work here. The Patriarchate of Antioch, its flock often in exile in the Lebanon and Europe, may be reformed under the Russian Church.
Whatever criticisms may be levelled at the Russian Church inside Russia and its unworthy representatives outside Russia for their compromises in the past, it has to be recognised that with its canonical territory of 26.2 million square kilometres, between one fifth and one sixth of the world’s land area, and with that population, 1.755 billion, exactly one quarter of the world’s population, the Russian Church as a global power must now be recognised. In the last forty years we in the Russian Orthodox Church have come a long way, even from only a few years ago, when we were still a persecuted minority, mocked, buffeted and spat upon by all and sundry, both locally and globally.