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4 “Kirill’s Doctrine” and the Potential Transformation of Russian Orthodox Christianity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter covers only one among many possible consequences of the increase in Church activity, and explores its possible effect on Church identity. It points out the Church policy's less obvious consequences for the role, image, and self-perception of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) itself. The author inserts a brief digression in order to discuss Russian nationalism per se, since "Kirill's Doctrine" is aimed not at Church insiders, but specifically at current outsiders. The nation has no other values besides Orthodox ones, and the Russians (both as a political nation and as an ethnic community) were created by Orthodox Christianity. In the ROC self-identification through the Catechism is rather weak, primarily because of the weakness of religious instruction. Possibly, unless the Patriarch Kirill abandons or replaces his current policy, one could observe a gradual but very significant shift in the self-identification of Russian Orthodoxy.

Keywords: Catechism; Orthodox Christianity; Patriarch Kirill; religious instruction; Russian nationalism; Russian Orthodox Church (ROC)



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