The clergy of one of the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed with an "open letter" to Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev), in which they complained about the dire situation in the parishes. Despite the widespread drop in the incomes of residents of the Russian provinces, and especially in rural areas, the new head of the diocese not only imposed a new tribute on the parishes, but also made it difficult to maintain financial records. Novye Izvestia, of course, does not in any way interfere in the affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, but in this case we are talking not so much about religious as about social problems of an all-Russian scale.
“An open letter to His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill.
I would like to ask you, His Holiness Patriarch, a direct question: “What are we, all the priests of our native diocese, guilty of, that you put in the administration of the diocese not a bishop, and not even a person, but a robber and destroyer of the Church of Christ? Exactly so, and in no other way can (our) metropolitan be called.
The thing is that he does things aimed at the collapse of church life and the provocation of unrest in our diocese.
At the beginning of December, he raised the levies from many parishes to some twice, to some even THREE or FOUR times. This especially affected ordinary or even beggar rural parishes, many of which are attributed and have scanty incomes. The rural parishes of our diocese could hardly survive under the unjustified diocesan oppression, but now everything has become even worse. Against the background of a decline in parish incomes (especially rural ones) associated with the difficulties of today's life, our “caring” archpastor apparently decided to simply drive most of the parishes into a material dead end and destroy them. And how basely and deceitfully he does all this.
The abbots, on his behalf, made a written notification about how much the tax from the parishes could be raised. At first he said that this is how you will now pay according to the declared. But it turned out much worse. He justified the increase in fees by canceling the obligatory purchase of church goods and candles in the diocese according to the order. And what happened in the end! He greatly increased the fee and at the same time obliged many parishes and EVEN RURAL for incredible amounts for their budget to buy goods in the diocese within three months. Horrible! How can you lie so basely to the ruling bishop to your priests, and at the same time rob parishes so mercilessly, squeezing out the maximum, or even completely, income from them. Many parishes, especially attributed ones, he drove into a dead end, the levies became higher than the total, not even net income of the parishes. And punitive measures began to be applied to the priests who tried to kindly explain the unjustification of such robbery. For example, the dean of (one of) districts, together with the priests of his district, wrote a letter to the metropolitan in which he tried to explain the sad essence of this situation. And what a result! He is no longer a Dean and most likely he will still be removed from the abbot.
We all know perfectly well where our metropolitan needed so much money. Already the entire diocese knows about his love relationship with a certain young lady. And it turns out all this shameless robbery is necessary for the beautiful romantic life of our archpastor with his mistress. And what a gorgeous car he drives around the territory of the metropolis, and moreover, often with his beloved Madame. It got to the point that people are not church people at all, I ask the priests of the diocese: “Do you by any chance know how many millions the car of your metropolitan costs? 10, 15 or more?" or "Your boss lives beautifully at the expense of rural grandmothers...". There are no words to express all our indignation at such behavior of the Metropolitan. Horrible! What a shame for Christ's Church! Most of the families of the clergy of our diocese have many children, and this, of course, requires the necessary material costs. Amid the pandemic and the economic crisis, incomes of parishes have fallen sharply. And our metropolitan frankly does not care how the families of the clergy and parishes will survive in such a difficult situation. The main thing for him is to ensure a beautiful life for himself and his mistress, and let the priests at least bend with their parishes and families.
Separately, I would like to say about his extreme attitude to the bureaucracy at the level of insanity. He turned us priests into paper workers. We have to deal with a huge amount of paperwork every day. And I would like to clarify: "Are we definitely priests, or maybe secretarial workers?" We understand perfectly well that it is impossible today without bureaucracy, but there is a sound explanation and a limit to everything. For example, over the past year, he ordered to submit two different reports. And what, one can not do with one? It happens that three or four circulars are sent out from the diocese every day. And how all his orders are embodied in reality, then you don't know whether to laugh or cry. They issue circulars and orders in such a way that their essence cannot be clearly understood not exactly by the rectors or deans, but also by the staff of the diocesan chancellery and accounting. When someone tries to clarify something with them, they usually get the following answer: "we ourselves do not know..." or "we ourselves do not understand...". Wonderful! And what else can you say about this? The madhouse from Minsk and Ryazan has now come to us. Himself delirious and introduces others into delirium. There was no such bureaucratic mess, even under the former deceased Metropolitan. Although he was old, he had order in all orders and circulars.
Having no instructions from the Patriarchate or recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, he ordered to transfer the classes of children's Sunday schools to online education and banned all Christmas holidays for children in parishes. Our children study every day in general education schools, where hundreds of children are present at the same time, and at the same time no one sends them to online education and no one canceled school New Year's greetings for them. But our Metropolitan decided to arbitrarily and unjustifiably close Sunday schools and deprive Orthodox children of the joy of Christmas. We are all convinced that he simply does not need any kind of work with people. Not with children, not with young people, not in the direction of the Cossacks, or anything else. He is only interested in material and bureaucratic issues.
More and more clergymen are expressing distrust of the hierarchy of our ROC and are already openly declaring their unwillingness to remain in such a slavish and shameless system alien to the Christian spirit. Some, and this is at best, are going to move to other dioceses, while others are either going to move to schismatic organizations (which, by the way, we have plenty of), or even leave the church service for secular work. And it is very sad, since the priests are driven to extremes by such an insane archpastors. Well, what if you are the father of the family as much as possible, or even completely deprived of the opportunity to support the family. Our children are also hungry, and their maintenance also requires the necessary material costs.
Summing up all of the above, I would like to hope for an understanding of the highest church authority. Today we are addressing anonymously, but if this madness does not end, then we will have to apply already openly. And then our appeals will not only be addressed to the MP, but also to many media. You can already call us troublemakers, slanderers and other scoundrels violating the peace in the Church, but what else is left for us to do in a desperate situation. We have nothing to lose and nowhere to retreat, we were simply driven into a dead end, and if the higher church authorities do not help in resolving this situation, then we can only desperately take extreme measures.
Hope for your understanding..."
In this regard, it will be interesting to read the reflections of Deacon Andrey Kuraev about how the current church in Russia follows what Christ preached:
“About imitation of Christ.
I myself have repeatedly reminded in the past that Christ did not react in any way to social problems and political circumstances. He did not denounce either the internal or the foreign policy of Caesar.
But the argument from silence is not very convincing. For example, when Protestants abandon him to the Orthodox, he does not convince us. They say that Christ did not establish the baptism of children, the veneration of relics, saints, did not establish fasts, etc. In response, we say that all this, although it was not directly prescribed or accomplished by Christ, seems to follow from His teaching.
Yes, Christ did not participate in protests against social injustices. But why exactly this His silence is so popular with the Lukashists and others, and not something else?
Christ did not do many other things.
He didn’t fawn on the emperor.
Didn't drink with the generals.
He did not denounce the homosexual habits of legionnaires.
Didn't require tax breaks.
Didn't sanctify sports tournaments.
He did not sit on the presidiums of secular organizations and corporations (including the board of the Ministry of Defense).
Did not require financial reporting from the apostles.
He didn't do anything at all that a modern bishop does outside the altar.
And in our country it somehow turns out askew: it is not proper for clergy to participate even in quasi-political trade union-protective actions (and thereby spoil the relations of the bishop with the authorities), but the bishops themselves do not see any shores in their daily and every kind of service to the powerful politicians.
Christ did not do that exactly. And the selectivity in imitating Him speaks not of Christ, but of the tastes and morals of the imitator..."