The Sretensky Monastery the oldest Orthodox monastery in the center of Moscow Photo: ALAMY, via TelegraphFor a country which once had — ostensibly — been fiercely atheistic, Russia has veered back toward a kind of puritanical religionism … not unlike what we’re experiencing right here in the good old US of A. Earlier this year, for example, the Russian criminal-justice system came down hard on the punk band Pussy Riot, because they’d dared hold a political protest in front of a cathedral in Moscow. Three members of the band were convicted of “hooliganism,” aka blasphemy, for having insulted the Russian Orthodox Church. Well, as the (UK) Telegraph reports, that Church appears not to be anywhere near as morally-pure as it claims to be (WebCite cached article):

Two women were arrested on suspicion of prostitution after seven rooms were found in a building close to Sretensky Monastery where sexual services were offered from 1,750 roubles (£35) per hour.

Father Tikhon, the abbot of the monastery, is said to be a religious counsellor to Mr Putin, who is a confirmed Russian Orthodox believer.

There were conflicting reports over the ownership of the brothel, found in one of a chain of mini-hotels called Podushkin.

Life News, a popular muckraking website with close ties to the police and security services, said the building where the brothel was located on Rozhdestvensky Boulevard had been rented out by the monastery.

Naturally the monks of this monastery deny that they had anything to do with this brothel. As if I’m stupid enough to believe that … !

This is not the only problem the R.O. Church has faced recently. The Telegraph points out:

Critics of the church say its moral posturing is eroded by the behaviour of senior clerics. [Head of the Church] Patriarch Kirill was pilloried in April for wearing a £20,000 Breguet watch and a priest in Moscow came under scrutiny in August after crashing a BMW Z4 roadster with Maltese license plates [cached].

This is ironic, considering Kirill acted as cheerleader for the prosecution of the Pussy Riot. Can you say “hypocrite”? Moreover, the idea that Vlad Putin — once a KGB agent and head of its post-Soviet successor agency — could have a “spiritual advisor” is astonishing, to say the least. What, exactly, does the “spiritual advisor” to a KGB agent and virtual dictator do? Lead him through prayer and meditation after he orders an assassination?

Photo credit: ALAMY, via Telegraph.

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