Russia : Orthodox diocese resists evangelical politician
Despite the « Non-political nature » of the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Kemerovo diocese campaignes to keep former Pentecostal pastor out of Putin’s « All national front »
Portal-credo.ru (14.10.2011) / HRWF (24.10.2011) – http://www.hrwf.net – « Let us pray to keep Kuzbass leader of ‘New Generation’ out of power »: such was the headline of a lengthy statement posted on 7 October on the official website of the Kemerovo diocese of RPTsMP by its press service, calling for preventing a former pastor of the local « Love of Christ » church of the religious organization of Christians of Evangelical Faith (KhVE), Andrei Matiuzhov, from joining Putin’s « All-Russia National Front » (ONF), a Portal-credo.ru correspondent reports.
The former pastor expressed the desire to join the ONF not as a religious figure but as a private businessman. The Kemerovo diocese of RPTsMP pays tribute to the new brainchild of Kremlin politicians: « ONF, formed on the initiative of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was specifically created in order to facilitate the flow ‘of new persons, fresh ideas, and suggestions’ into the ruling ‘United Russia’ party. »
But the diocese speaks in oppostion to Matiuzhov’s joining ONF because this man « several years back was a pastor in Kemerovo, » when the KhVE religious organization of which he was a member was liquidated by decision of a court of the Central District of Kemerovo of 8 May 2007 « for violation of point 9 of article 8 of the federal law on freedom of conscience and religious associations. »
After this, the diocese declares, Matiuzhov joined the « New Generation » church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, « which is not registered at all in the Unified State Register of Juridical Persons. » The diocese calls this KhVE congregation « a unique ‘affiliate’ in Kuzbass of the religious movement of the same name that was founded back in 1989 in the city of Riga, Latvia, by Pastor Aleksei Lediaev immediately after he was excommunicated from the Pentecostal church. »
Citing the notorious « sect scholar » Alexander Dvorkin, the press service of Kemerovo diocese accuses « New Generation » of « prosperity theology, i.e., donating money to the church (pastor), » and of a « special form of prayer when adherents in ‘worship services’ cry, laugh, sing, jump, and roll on the floor, » causing harm to a person’s psychological state.
As a decisive argument, the press service of the diocese, citing a certain Ukrainian website but not naming it, maintains that « one of the leaders of this charismatic church was involved in the organization of the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine, and A. Lediaev himself was for a long time barred from entering Russia. »
« In light of what is said above, » the press service concludes, « there arises the danger that in the event of Pastor A.V. Matiuzhov’s coming to power he will lobby for ideas that will not serve the strengthening of our society but its moral degradation. Thus the clergy of Kemerovo and Novokuznets diocese are appealing to all Orthodox Christian believers of Kuzbass to lift their prayers to the Lord for protecting our state from unworthy administrators and installing in power people like the great rulers by whose labor over many centuries Great Rus, Great Russia was created. »