But why so suddenly the mosaics with the images of Putin, Shoigu, Matvienko, Volodin, marshals and even Stalin appeared on the walls of the main temple of the Armed Forces?
Larisa Bravitskaya, actress, screenwriter
From time immemorial, there has been a wonderful tradition in Russia - the celebration of the great victories of the Russian army and, in gratitude, the erection of memorial temples in honor of the victory on Kulikovo Field and in memory of the fallen, according to legend by Dmitry Donskoy himself, the St. George Church was erected in Kolomensky. All Saints in Kulishki, the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Old Simonovo, where two monks are buried, the heroes of the Battle of Kulikovo, Weakening and Peresvet. In honor of the conquest of Kazan, the Church of the Intercession of Pr Holy Virgin, known as St. Basil Blazhennogo.Donskoy monastery founded by King Theodore Ioannovich in honor of the victory over the Crimean Khan Kazi Giray. The list of monasteries and temples, pearls of Russian architecture, erected in honor of the valiant warriors, sons of Russia, who laid down their lives on the battlefields in the name of victory over the enemy, is impressive. This is our story, this is our victory, this is our pride, this is our memory.
It would seem that the main temple of the Ministry of Defense is in this honorable row. If, of course, not strange mosaics.
I will give the right to judge art critics about the plots of these mosaics and the quality of their performance. However, all this is so mediocrely conceived and ridiculously blinded in artistic performance that there is nothing to talk about. Why couldn’t you invite talented mosaic artists, masters of decorative and applied art to decorate the decor of such an important, main temple of the Military Glory?
It seems that it’s not news to anyone that Stalin was an ardent persecutor of the Church, during whose rule monasteries were destroyed, churches were blown up, clergy and ordinary believers were shot down. The Art Council, headed by Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, found the image of Stalin's murderer on the temple wall appropriate.
The rector of the main church of the Armed Forces of Russia, Bishop Stefan Klinsky, also considers it appropriate to describe other historical figures, including our contemporaries - members of the government, calling this a "tradition."
If my memory serves me, this peculiar tradition came to us during the reign of Peter I. Actually, Peter introduced this tradition. Then, in the paintings of Russian churches, for example, images of Neptune as a symbol of sea victory over the Swedes, Emperor Karl, suddenly began to appear in the image of a lion, and Peter himself appeared as Hercules.
The fresco of the Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl depicts Tsar Peter as a child, and in the church of the Apostle Peter, built according to the design of Peter I himself in Karelia, many people still recognize the face of Peter Alekseevich instead of Christ on the icon in the iconostasis there. In the construction of this church, the sovereign himself took an active personal part. Yes, and all church architecture during the reign of Peter I is a progressive renunciation of centuries-old domestic traditions and the introduction of Western ideas and images into national temple architecture and art. This formed a new cultural and philosophical system.
With the ascension to the throne of Peter I, his absolute power reigned over all spheres of society, including religious, spiritual. Before Peter, it was the Church that was the only force that everyone reckoned with. Despite the fact that the Church existed separately and even kings could not intervene in its affairs, Peter abolished the patriarchate, created the Holy Synod, and appointed himself the head of the Church. He directed his actions against the Church, asserting state supremacy over it. Secular triumph served to root in the popular consciousness a new, secular, state principle.
What does the merging of the state and the Church lead to? By 1917, part of the Synod, subject to anti-state sentiment, opposed the Sovereign as head of the Church. Having expelled bishops, convinced monarchists from the Synod, the remaining adopted a policy of not opposing the authorities. Across Russia, churches proclaimed anathema to the enemies of imperial power, and the Synod was silent. The Synod was silent when the Tsar's Family was arrested and proclaimed the Provisional Government. Including this "silence" turned into a tragedy for the entire 20th century in Russia.
A hundred years have passed. Easter 2020 suddenly suddenly showed us all that, in fact, it turns out little has changed. The church in modern Russia is actually not separated from the state, and officials now have the power to close the doors of churches. But then, in fairness, why the Church is not allowed in schools, in government bodies, is deprived of the opportunity to intervene in state affairs, unlike officials who are actively involved in church affairs?
Today, on Apostle Thomas’s Day, on the Bright Anti-Easter Day, police tightened raids around churches, patrols hid in the bushes, catching “criminals”, and riot police patrols actively dispersed believers in other churches, not even allowing them to stand near the church. I’m not sure that soon another “virus” will not arise, and the churches will be closed at Christmas. By the way events are developing, the hour is not far off when officials will appoint us a patriarch.
The Temple of the Armed Forces was built in honor of the Resurrection of Christ. I can’t imagine how the Blessed Virgin and Valentina Matvienko, Christ and Stalin, Elijah the Prophet and Vyacheslav Volodin, the apostles and marshals of victory adjoin nearby. And also aunts from newspaper photographs, under the slogan “Our Crimea”.
This peculiar version of the state propaganda of patriotism works in this case exactly in the opposite way. And this is incredibly sad.