Russian Orthodox Church to appoint 400 priests as military chaplains

As one who grew up at the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West, the astonishingly sudden collapse of the “Evil Empire” in 1991 was mind-boggling. It had been for over 70 years the personification of atheistic hatred for God and persecution of those who believe in Him.

Since the implosion of the Soviet Union, the new Russia has been making steady if slow progress back toward God, many Russians have re-embraced Orthodoxy — Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev regularly attend Divine Liturgy, for goodness’ sake. And this strengthens the impression I get that the prophecy given in 1917 by Our Lady of Fatima about the eventual reconversion of Russia may well be unfolding before our eyes, albeit in slow-motion.

I suspect that folks my age and older will likely find this news item from the Russian Interfax news agency rather remarkable:

Moscow, February 3, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church will appoint about 400 priests for service as armed forces chaplains in fulfillment of a directive of the chief of the General Staff late last year that instituted chaplaincy positions in the military, the website of Patriarch Kirill cited the Primate as saying.

There is a plan to set up centers to provide clergy with three-month training for chaplaincy service, the Patriarch told a Bishops’ Meeting in Moscow.

The clergy to be sent to the military will include both clerics with experience of service in the armed forces and young priests who are fit to serve in field conditions.

Under a directive by the chief of the General Staff effective from December 1, 2009, the commander of an armed forces unit is to have a civilian aide who is a cleric and ministers to religious servicemen.

Russian military units abroad have become the first to acquire chaplains – 13 priests went to serve there in December.

The command of the North Caucasus Military District had a military clergy department set up in October 2009. Patriarch Kirill asked the bishops of the Southern Federal District to name candidates to fill 30 chaplaincy positions in the district’s military units.

The Armed Forces Sociological Center says more than 70% of Russia’s military personnel consider themselves religious. About 80% of them identify themselves as Orthodox Christians, about 13% as Muslims, about 3% as Buddhists, and 4% as followers of other faiths. There are 530 churches on the premises of military units.
And here is part of what Our Lady said in Fatima about Russia:

“I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

I interpret the “conversion of Russia” to mean a conversion that entails a full reunion with the Catholic Church. And in addition to the above, stories like this and this give me a great deal of hope that I will live to see that blessed day.


  1. nickk

    Russia being Orthodox Christian, will not have anything to do with Rome until Rome turns from it's theological errors. The prime issues surround Papal Authority. No man is "infallible" under any circumstances. Please read about the Union of Florence where the Eastern Churches fell into union with Rome (temporarily) while the Kievan-Rus remained Orthodox and refused union!

  2. Irenaeus of New York

    Nickk said-[—No man is "infallible" under any circumstances.—]Interesting that you say that… yet you already accept Peters epistles as the inspired word of God. So I think the question becomes… how do we know when someone has the gift teach infallibly. I think you would first have to educate yourself on what exactly infallible means from a Catholic perspective, and not what eastern propoganda tells you. The ROC is an aggressive and anti-Roman church for sure, but I will take it any day over communism.

  3. Thy Handmaid's son

    The Russian people are certainly hungry for God, and it is awesome to see them regain access to Him.I am not sure that the Church and State getting into bed together is the best way to give rise to a spiritually healthy nation. The nearest analogy I can think of is the strongman government in Spain's union with the Church. The whole thing is very understandable, and yet, as soon as Spain disestablished the Church, its churches virtually emptied. That's what happens when you have schoolteachers who might not believe the stuff being required to teach it to students who'd rather not learn it. In the end, the union always scandalizes. While Orthodoxy as a national adhesive is infinitely better than communism, I doubt the whole thing will go off as hoped, in the long run.

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