Larisa Bravitskaya, actress, screenwriter
Since childhood, in the family, school, I was taught to be law-abiding.
That's how I grew up.
And I was always convinced that the Law (Constitution of the Russian Federation) is one for all.
So I was taught.
I am an Orthodox Christian.
And so, a member of the most obedient, respectable, meek civil society - the Orthodox.
For us, the word hierarchy is law. So the Church raised me.
Recent events have seriously shaken my worldview, forcing me to think hard about a lot.
And also, the stream of publications, opinions, comments in social networks, the press, on television, left by people who are not just far from the Church, but aggressive towards us, Orthodox Christians, and therefore to me personally.
Unlike opponents, I do not draw any conclusions and conclusions, I try to understand and understand why?
Why, in connection with the introduction of a special regime because of the threat of an epidemic, was the Church attributed to leisure enterprises?
Hospitals - hospitals of the body - these are vital objects (who would argue here);
But the church! Shelter of the soul!
She was equated with leisure organizations, along with restaurants, cinemas and a zoo.
Why in all stores where there are a lot of buyers, most of which do not comply with the sanitary and hygienic requirements of the chief sanitary doctor, namely, do not observe the distance without masks and gloves?
And why are there not a single inspector from the police or Rospotrebnadzor in the stores?
Why did the state machine, using all its remarkable power, suddenly take up arms against the Church, and with special zeal and diligence attacked exclusively on churches and monasteries?
Why, the chief of the GUVD of Moscow for artificially created stampede at several subway junction stations on April 15, after which by the end of the month you need to wait for an outbreak of infection, did not suffer any punishment?
Why didn’t the officials engage in dialogue with the Church and devise a viable option for holding services in the presence of parishioners at Holy Week and especially on Easter?
Why didn’t they take Riga as an example, where they increased the number of Liturgies, 50 people were allowed into the church, put marks at a distance of 2 meters from each other, so that everyone who could join the Holy Gifts on Great Thursday and Easter?
Or an example of Ukraine, where they served on the street, and in the Georgian Church, churches were not just closed for people, they were filled with worshipers, observing the necessary precautions - distance, restraint in greetings, etc.
Some time before the events described, the society was filled with rumors about infection and infection, which is concentrated precisely in the churches, and the Orthodox are carriers of this infection.
The abbot of our church was stopped by a policeman in order to check the pass.
- ABOUT! Priest! ”He exclaimed.“ So you are contagious! ”
- Why contagious? - the father answered confusedly. - I'm healthy ...
“We were told that all priests are contagious.”
Who spread these rumors, and why?
Fearing that churches would close, the priests took unprecedented hygiene measures.
In all the churches, markings were made on the floor at a distance of 1.5 - 2 meters, the icons were regularly disinfected, all with gloves, masks, one-time cups, no kissing of the cross, the Chalice, and even the lying, communion spoon, after each communion was disinfected in alcohol solution.
Some churches went further and used one-time plastic spoons, which at the time of the Sacrament of the Eucharist looked monstrous.
With the acceptance of the Holy Gifts we are combined with Christ. And then ... the disinfection of God! With tears and shame, I approached the sacrament and asked God to forgive me.
But the measures taken did not help. Churches are closed to parishioners.
In all difficult periods of epidemics, wars, schisms, troubles and other misfortunes, the Church was the unifying principle for the people.
It was in the Church that the shepherds found the right words, quenched the murmur, explained, comforted. Namely, people believed and believes faithfully pastors.
Why in such a difficult period of self-isolation, when everyone’s nerves are at the limit, when it’s not clear how to live without work, in small apartments, when money runs out, when cases of domestic violence become more frequent, people were deprived of the Church.
They deprived of the developed long-term habit of regularly coming to the temple.
This threatens with severe depressions, gives rise to distrust and a murmur of power.
Why did the hierarchy not defend the Church and protect us, parishioners?
In my entire life that I am in the Church, they called me under any circumstances, under any misfortunes and troubles - to seek protection and help in the temple, with God.
For me, and for many of us, the Liturgy in the Church, the sacrament, is the highest meaning of our being.
These days we were not recommended to come to the temple.
On Easter, do not go to the temple!
And if we Christians disinfect the liar, then we recognize the virus more powerful than God himself.
But the most interesting is that in the Decree of the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Russia Anna Popova there is not a single word about the closure of the churches, while in the Decree of the Chief Sanitary Doctor of Moscow, Ms. Andreeva, they already appear.
What kind of bureaucratic initiative? And do they, officials, consider Moscow a colony?
A WHO Regulation was issued demanding the closure of churches in Belarus. Is this wind blowing in Russia from there?
We, in Russia, do not have an epidemic, but there is only a threat of an epidemic. Therefore, we have not introduced an emergency regime.
Therefore, all sanitary and hygienic measures, including self-isolation, can only be recommended to us.
And only to the Church, on Holy Week and Easter, did the officials apply the emergency mode, and in the most monstrous, draconian and ugly execution.
It is on Holy Week and Easter, when the most important services in the life of every Christian are performed.
The patriarch “asked to abstain” and “recommended” not to attend services. But not forbidden. Forbidden power. The patriarch recommended staying at home, but did not urge the expulsion of believers from churches. She expelled power.
The Patriarch ordered that sanitary measures be followed through circulars sent to the dioceses, but the authorities did not believe the Patriarch and imputed his words to nothing.
Why did the hierarchy not develop a tough and unanimous opinion about the ministry in these difficult days, did not convey it to all the Dioceses and parishes, leaving everyone on the ground to make decisions?
This led to two extremes:
Some priests not only did not allow parishioners to go to churches, but simply closed them and did not serve at all, away from sin.
Others called, on the contrary, to go and die for Christ.
As aptly noted prot. Andrei Tkachev, "we are not rebels, not revolutionaries, we do not want war in the Church."
We do not want a split, we respect and listen to the hierarchy.
I even admit confession online, our whole life has now turned into a solid online.
But I can’t imagine how to partake of the Holy Gifts on Maundy Thursday and Easter online, on these very important Great Days, which we Orthodox Christians await with awe the whole liturgical year.
Such an undeveloped position led to the most tragic that could be in the life of Mother - the Church. Our Orthodox community crackled at the seams.
Those Orthodox who stayed at home on Easter Night, with candles lit on the windowsills, rushed to stigmatize and denounce those who went to the service.
People like me greeted Easter in an empty church and with tears in their eyes prayed for everyone who is not with us.
But there were those of us who, on this Great Night, came to the fence of the Church, to the gates closed tightly, knelt, cried and prayed at the altar of the church.
The abbot of our church saw his spiritual children behind the bars of the church fence from the window at the altar and could not do anything.
After the service, he went out with tears in his eyes. He was soldered with heart medicine.
All the days preceding the Sunday of Christ's Resurrection, and especially on Easter Night, the police regularly, with raids, went around churches and zealously watched so that not a single mouse would slip in there.
So, in connection with these half measures and a clear-cut position regarding the services, relations within the Church between priests, between parishioners, between the priest and the parish have become more complicated.
By their actions, the officials opposed and turned us, parishioners, against the authorities in the person of the police.
But the most interesting is some regional officials.
Inspired by the experience of dealing with "opium traffickers for the people" in the capital and the region, many of them staged a real witch hunt on the ground.
What is the telephone message of the first deputy governor of Kuzbass demanding to watch the Orthodox churches intensively, by the hour, for the presence of parishioners and regularly send him photographs with brief reports to prepare an informational and analytical note.
In the Saratov region, two respected Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church
Metropolitan of Saratov and Volsky Longin and bishop of Pokrovsky and Nikolaev Pakhomiya are waiting for an inspection by the prosecutor's office, the FSB and the investigative committee for letting parishioners go to Easter, where they stood (attention!) In masks, at a distance from each other recommended by the head doctor of health. .
On Bright Monday, on NTV’s channel, the regular program “Meeting Place” was broadcast, where co-host Ivan Trushkin, calling himself an atheist, called for punishing priests who let parishioners into the church for Easter.
Radiant Trushkin was surprisingly bold in his remarks.
Since he is not the author of this program, therefore, he voices the opinion of the editor, and he, in turn, also expresses the opinion of the NTV channel leadership.
With its position in relation to believers, the NTV channel “swung at the holiest that we have, at the constitution!”
But, since the NTV channel is state-owned, it means that it expresses and supports the actions of a group of government officials exposed by the authorities, including interfering in internal church affairs.
On April 20, on the website of the State Duma of Russia, the Opinion of members of the Expert Council of the State Duma Committee on the Development of Civil Society was published.
This document in detail justifies the illegality of closing religious buildings, the use of forced expulsion of believers from churches, holding them accountable for visiting the temple.
Those who wish can familiarize themselves with this Conclusion, for some reason published, alas, right after Easter, and not before.
By my illegal actions, I, an Orthodox Christian and a law-abiding citizen, were humiliated and monstrously discriminated against, restricting me from a number of rights and freedoms granted to me by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
These are articles 16 (1,) of the Federal Law “On Freedom of Conscience and on Religious Associations”
Article 16 (2) - on worship, other religious rites and ceremonies, which should be performed without hindrance.
Article 55 (3) - the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, therefore my rights, may be limited only by federal law.
Article 56 (3) - even in a state of emergency, I am not subject to restrictions on a number of freedoms and rights, including those provided for in Article 28 - freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, including the right to profess individually or jointly with others any religion or not to profess any, freely choose , have and disseminate religious and other beliefs and act in accordance with them .
The officials also violated the Criminal Code against me - articles 285 (abuse of power), 286 (abuse of power), 330 (self-government).
I was brought up to be law-abiding, patient and humble. But I was not forbidden to think and analyze.
So, on reflection, I came to a disappointing conclusion:
Easter without parishioners is not a coincidence at all, not official stupidity.
We in church do not believe in chance.
And there were no reasons and indicators to close the church for Easter.
At the beginning of the article, I did not want to draw conclusions.
But ... the conclusion came to himself.
Someone, convicted of the power to prohibit, cleverly sowed confusion, grumble and discontent among a huge community of Orthodox Christians.
This turned against the government itself by creating protest sentiments on the part of its most law-abiding citizens.
And all this during the preparation of the vote for amendments to the Constitution.
And for this they used the Church for their sophisticated and insidious plan.
The goal of the action is to organize persecution of the Church and to disrupt the vote on Holy Week and Easter.
So I think:
If the Constitution is just a piece of paper for the authorities, and it can easily and unpunishedly violate the Law, then why should I, an Orthodox Christian, in respect of whom the rights enshrined in the Constitution have been violated, have to vote for amendments to it?