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Why Russians Hate the Idea of the Separation of Church and State

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This article originally appeared on a new site about the Christian renaissance in Russia, called Russian Faith. Their introductory video is at end of this article.

President Putin of Russia and President Lukashenko of Belarus in the throne room of the Moscow Patriarch. Together with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus form Holy Rus’. Note the blue and gold Ukrainian Flag displayed proudly between Putin and Patriarch Kirill, along with all the other flags of Russian Orthodox Lands.


One of the most common criticisms of organised religion is that it involves itself in the affairs of politics and war.

People say: “Why are religious leaders getting involved in political discussions? Politics is Politics, religion is religion, never should the two meet.”

Non-religious people point to the Papal States and the Spanish Inquisition as examples of religion being too political. Likewise, many religious people have reasonable concerns that religion could be corrupted by politics and used for nefarious ends.

Meanwhile, throughout history, there has always been a close relationship between the Orthodox Church and various states; this is true from the times of the Roman (Byzantine) Empire to the Russian Empire and even in modern countries such as Greece, Romania, and, of course, Russia.

“Should the Orthodox Church have a close relationship with the State?”

In Orthodox countries, the answer is obvious – of course, it should!

But should the Church involve itself in the State, which may involve itself in the dangerous affairs of politics and warfare?

Yes, because the Orthodox Church, does not see itself as much as an “invisible church, a body of the elect” but as a spiritual hospital.

Our Father Among the Saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople says:

Enter into the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed again to enter the Church, be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent.

The Orthodox Church always saw it first and foremost as a place to heal people from a mortally ill condition, the disease of sin.

In Orthodox theology, the term mortally ill is quite literal; Orthodox people believe that death is the direct result of sin.

This is the Orthodox understanding of original sin, rather than making us all born “guilty”, we believe original sin infected the human race with a terminal illness – death, and a fondness for death.

Where are hospitals and clinics most needed in the world more than anywhere else? In places where people are the sickest, in places of war and suffering.

While the Church cherishes her dignity as an ivory tower rising from a city surrounded by seven hills and seven walls, she is also a missionary church.

Her people, especially her clergy, go where they are called and most needed.

If politics and war are where the darkest human actions are expressed, then that is exactly where the Church must be, to be a lighthouse on moonless nights to lead souls to safe harbour.

One might go as far as to say it is the opinion of Orthodoxy, especially Russian Orthodoxy, that the Church must involve itself in war and politics to prevent war and pacify the darker side of political intrigue.

Although Americans and their relatively young civilization assure the world that the Church and State must be separate, Russians actually believe that removing or separating the Church from the State destroys another ideal Americans hold very dear, namely: checks and balances.

For Russians, the Church is a moral check on the State. Were it not for the Russian Orthodox Church, Russia could have been destroyed many times by both foreign enemies and domestic fifth columns.

One could say that the Russian State – one of the most ancient states and the birthplace of patriotism – originated from the Orthodox Church because it was by the Baptism of Rus’ that Saint Vladimir of Kiev united Russia.


These two entities cannot be truly separated in Orthodox countries because in many cases it was the Church which first formed the national consciousness of the nation itself, or preserved it during times of occupation. As President Putin himself has said, it is not possible to imagine Russia without the Orthodox Church.

Moreover, Russians remember what happened when Russian revolutionaries implemented Communism, a foreign ideology (invented by German and English thinkers) which, first and foremost, tried to sever the ancient relationship between Church and State.

Communism, really foreign to the Russian context, was physically imported into Russia, when the German Empire, during WW1, secretly returned Lenin to Russia so he could spread the plague of revolution, something more effective and deadly than any biological weapon.

The Russia-hating revolutionaries tried to separate the Church from the State because they knew that it would destroy both. And because they knew they could never corrupt the State without first attacking its moral foundation.

Russians remember well what it was like to live under a system that hated the Church.

When Lenin and his Bolshevik elk tried to remove the Church from ALL aspects of Russian life, these saboteurs and traitors promised that without the Church corrupting the state, politics could become truly focused on helping humanity, and Russia would thrive.

The result, however, was actually the endless destruction of Russian lives.

“The Market Place of Our Democracy” by Glazunov depicts the inevitable result of not only Communism, but the pernicious result of the “westernizing” trend we experienced in our country in the 1990’s. Russia, her people, and culture were effectively prostituted like Biblical Israel in heathen Babylonian or Egyptian captivity.


It is when the Russian Church and State operate in symphony, that the reflowering of Orthodoxy in Russia becomes possible.

The Russian State and Church are like two heads on an eagle with the same body, they operate differently, but they are both crucial to the survival of the whole.

This relationship is very practical as well.

Patriarch Kirill spoke perfectly when he addressed sailors of the Northern Fleet in Severomorsk in 2016. His Holiness said the Church attaches “[a] very great importance to cooperation with the Armed Forces”.

Critics immediately stop here, and use this as an example of the Church being overly politicised, or supportive of violence, but if they would only read on, they would see the Patriarch believes this relationship helps ensure peace!

The Patriarch said that the condition of servicemen’s souls is “an essential part of maintaining peace.”

Have cynics ever stopped to consider that maybe if the Church were more involved with the state, and if Priests were amongst the soldiers in their darkest hours, they could bring light into the nights of war?

Russian servicemen certainly do, when asked if they wanted more Priests in their ranks, the result was an overwhelming Da!

The Church maintains the spiritual well-being of Russian servicemen because this is not only good for them and Russia, but as Russia is a nuclear power, the presence of the Church and her mission for peace amongst the Russian military is a guarantee of world peace.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Ignatius IV of Antioch (+2012), the leader of Syrian Christians. Antioch, the ancient capital of Syria is where, according to the Bible, the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christian. (Acts 11:26). Syrian President Assad, (pictured in signs), is a protector of Christians in Syria, believing them an inseparable part of the countries history.


Patriarch Kirill urged President Putin to protect Christians in Syria, and Putin answered the call.

Just like Saint Vladimir Svyatoslavich of Kiev sent his elite Varangian “Viking” Guard to the Roman Empire to fight jihadists, Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] is combating terrorism to save Christians in Syria.

If you disagree, I dare you to go to an Antiochian Orthodox Church, and ask Syrian immigrants to tell you their stories, and to ask them which country is really helping them.

What you hear may surprise you.

So next time you think to break a thousand year union, ask yourself this, when was the last time you’ve seen a western leader bow and kiss the relics of Saint Nicholas himself?


A video introducing Russian Faith

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Madrid’s Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado granted World Heritage status | Culture

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Madrid’s famous Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado boulevard have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The decision, made on Sunday, brings the total number of World Heritage Sites in Spain to 49 – the third-highest in the world after Italy and China.

Up until Sunday, none of these sites were located in the Spanish capital. The Madrid region, however, was home to three: El Escorial Monastery in Alcalá de Henares, the historical center of Aranjuez and the Montejo beech forest in Montejo de la Sierra.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez celebrated the news on Twitter, saying it was a “deserved recognition of a space in the capital that enriches our historical, artistic and cultural legacy.”

Retiro Park is a green refuge of 118 hectares in the center of the city of Madrid. Paseo del Prado boulevard is another icon of the capital, featuring six museums, major fountains such as the Fuente de Cibeles as well as the famous Plaza de Cibeles square.

For the sites to be granted World Heritage status, Spain needed the support of two-thirds of the UNESCO committee – 15 votes from 21 countries. The proposal was backed by Brazil, Ethiopia, Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, Mali, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Oman and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.
Statue of Apollo in Paseo del Prado.Víctor Sainz

Prior to the vote, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the organization that advises UNESCO, had argued against considering the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park as one site, and recommended that the latter be left out on the grounds that there were no “historic justifications” for the two to be paired.

This idea was strongly opposed by Spain’s ambassador to UNESCO, Andrés Perelló, who said: “What they are asking us to do is rip out a lung from Madrid. El Prado and El Retiro are a happy union, whose marriage is certified with a cartography more than three centuries old.” The origins of Paseo del Prado date back to 1565, while Retiro Park was first opened to the public during the Enlightenment.

Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado.
Pedestrians on Paseo del Prado. Víctor Sainz

The ICOMOS report also denounced the air pollution surrounding the site. To address these concerns, Madrid City Hall indicated it plans to reduce car traffic under its Madrid 360 initiative, which among other things is set to turn 10 kilometers of 48 streets into pedestrian areas, but is considered less ambitious than its predecessor Madrid Central.

The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee took place in the Chinese city of Fuzhou and was broadcast live at Madrid’s El Prado Museum. Perelló summed up the reasons to include Retiro Park and El Paseo de Prado in less than three minutes.

“When people say ‘from Madrid to heaven’ [the slogan of the Spanish capital] I ask myself why would you want to go to heaven when heaven is already in Madrid,” he told delegates at the event, which was scheduled to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, UNESCO evaluates 25 proposals for additions to the World Heritage List. In the case of the Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, the site was judged on whether it evidenced an exchange of considerable architectural influences, was a representative example of a form of construction or complex and if it was associated with traditions that are still alive today. The famous park and boulevard sought to be inscribed on the UNESCO list in 1992, but its candidacy did not reach the final stage of the process.

Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).
Etching of Paseo del Prado from Cibeles fountain, by Isidro González Velázquez (1788).Biblioteca Nacional de España

The effort to win recognition for the sites’ outstanding universal value began again in 2014 under former Madrid mayor Ana Botella, of the conservative Popular Party (PP), and was strengthed by her successor Manuela Carmena, of the leftist Ahora Madrid party, which was later renamed Más Madrid. An advisor from UNESCO visited the site in October 2019.

English version by Melissa Kitson.



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Ryanair reports €273m loss as passenger traffic rebounds

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Ryanair has reported a €273 million loss for its first quarter even as traffic rebounded during the period.

The carrier said it carried 8.1 million passengers in the three month period, which cover April to June. This compares to just 500,000 in the same period a year earlier.

Revenues increased 196 per cent from €125 million in the first quarter of 2020 to €371 million for the same quarter this year. Operation costs also rose however, jumping from €313 million to €675 million.

Net debt reduced by 27 per cent on the back of strong operating of €590 million.

“Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc on our business during the first quarter with most Easter flights cancelled and a slower than expected easing of EU travel restrictions into May and June,” said group chief executive Michael O’Leary.

“Based on current bookings, we expect traffic to rise from over five million in June to almost nine million in July, and over 10 million in August, as long as there are no further Covid setbacks in Europe,” he added.

Ryanair said the rollout of EU digital Covid certificates and the scrapping of quarantine for vaccinated arrivals to Britain from mid-July has led to a surge in bookings in recent week.

First quarter scheduled revenues increased 91 per cent to €192 million on the back of the rise in passenger traffic although this was offset by the cancellation of Easter traffic and a delay in the relaxation of travel restrictions.

Ancillary revenue generated approximately €22 per passenger the company said.

Mr O’Leary foresaw growth opportunities for the airline due to the collapse of many European airlines during the Covid crisis, and widespread capacity cuts at other carriers.

“We are encouraged by the high rate of vaccinations across Europe. If, as is presently predicted, most of Europe’s adult population is fully vaccinated by September., then we believe that we can look forward to a strong recovery in air travel for the second half of the fiscal year and well into 2022 – as is presently the case in domestic US air travel,” he said.

However, the airline warned the future remains challenging due to continued Covid restrictions and a lack of bookings and that this meant it was impossible to provided “meaningful” guidance at the time.

“We believe that full0year 2022 traffic has improved to a range of 90 million to 100 million (previously guided at the lower end of an 80 million to 120 million passenger range) and (cautiously) expect that the likely outcome for the year is somewhere between a small loss and breakeven. This is dependent on the continued rollout of vaccines this summer, and no adverse Covid variant developments,” said Mr O’Leary.

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Switzerland’s Credit Suisse settles with star banker over spying scandal

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CEO Tidjane Thiam was forced to resign in February 2020 after admitting the bank had hired investigators to follow Khan, head of international wealth management, because he had opted to move to arch-rival, UBS.

As well as sending shockwaves through banking circles, the case sparked a criminal probe in Switzerland.

“All parties involved have agreed to end the case,” Credit Suisse spokeswoman Simone Meier told NZZ am Sonntag, which revealed the agreement.

Meier declined to comment further when contacted by AFP.

The public prosecutor of the canton of Zurich has also ended his investigation, as the complaints have been withdrawn, NZZ am Sonntag reported.

Thiam’s resignation followed a torrid six-month scandal that began with revelations in the Swiss press that Khan had been shadowed by agents from a private detective company hired after he joined UBS. 

At one point, Khan physically confronted the people following him.

In October, chief operating officer Pierre-Olivier Bouee resigned, acknowledging at the end of an internal investigation that he “alone” had ordered the tailing without informing his superiors.

He had wanted to ensure that Khan was not trying to poach other employees, according to the internal investigation.

The case was reopened in December 2019 when the bank admitted to a second case of espionage, this time involving the former head of human resources, and then in February after media reports that the surveillance had also targeted the environmental organisation Greenpeace.



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