MOSCOW—The modern-day Russian Orthodox Church faces numerous problems but, twenty years after the end of communism, is adopting a new and energetic strategy of change. A new collection of reports, The Russian Orthodox Church Under the New Patriarch (in Russian), edited by Alexey Malashenko and Sergei Filatov, details the church’s new strategy under the leadership of Patriarch Kirill, including:
- Active incorporation into socio-political life. The Church is infiltrating politics, the military, and business, and attempting to introduce “the foundations of Orthodox culture” as a mandatory school subject.
- Intensification of missionary activities. The Church is encouraging Russians who do not practice religion to return to the church and targeting competitors of Orthodox culture, primarily adherents of the Protestant church.
- Better communications and analysis. The Church now publishes more than 20 Orthodox journals, broadcasts on six radio stations, runs two satellite television channels, and is considering moving into online outreach.
Realization of the Church’s large-scale goals is impossible without cooperation between the Church and the state. Government authorities are interested in gaining Church support and the legitimacy it provides. But proximity to the government can be problematic for the Church, if corruption, violation of law, and inability to solve social problems remain issues the state authorities are unable or unwilling to solve and the Church appears to overlook these deficiencies.