Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Returns to Russia

From the vast steppes of Russia comes this 'good news' on Christmas:

By the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, there were nearly 600 newspapers and magazines throughout Russia devoted to Orthodox subjects. They were all shut down by the Soviet regime by 1918.

Today, in a country that was officially atheist about two decades ago, there are again hundreds of newspapers, magazines and newsletters covering the world’s largest Orthodox church. There are about 3,500 Russian Orthodox Web sites, and some priests are even blogging.

The Russian Orthodox media, like the church itself, have not always fallen into step with the Kremlin line. The Moscow Patriarchate, its official newspaper and most Orthodox media have addressed the war with Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia as a tragic misunderstanding between two countries that share an Orthodox Christian heritage.

After 70 years of state-imposed atheism and 20 years that have run the gamut from glasnost to post-Soviet chaos to a revival of Russian pride, Russians have increasingly embraced their Orthodox roots.

From a conservative political perspective, it is always good to have a non-governmental locus of power and independent opinion in a country like Russia, let alone one that stresses the Christian themes of love, peace, and justice. That is genuinely new and good. Thanks be to God.

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