Collapse of Russian Empire greatest tragedy, says Hilarion


Eastern Europe


Metropolitan Hilarion (right) after receiving a decoration from President Putin. Photo mospat.ru

The collapse of the Soviet Union during the early nineties of the previous century was a disaster for many Russians. However, the fall of the Russian Empire still constitutes the main tragedy for the country.

„In my opinion, the real tragedy that caused all other tragedies for our country during the twentieth century, has been the collapse of the Russian Empire", said Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian-Orthodox Church on Russian-24 tv, according to Russian press agency Interfax.

Hilarion pointed out that people lived together in peace and harmony during the era of the Russian Empire (1721-1917). „Russia was at the top of its economic development; being one of the fastest-growing nations in the world." This was all destroyed by the Russian Revolution, when the Bolshevists came to power. It led to widespread repression, persecution of the church and a lot of other disasters, according to the Metropolitan.


Even though the collapse of the Soviet Union constituted a major tragedy for many Russians, especially for those living outside their home country, Hilarion stresses the fact that atheism was very much part of the Soviet ideology. That was not only a mistake of the regime, but also a crime against the Russian people, he said.

Hilarion's remarks will probably be welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although Mr Putin has repeatedly said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy in modern Russian history, he is also often accused by his critics of glorifying the Russian Empire and seeing himself as the new Russian Czar.

In a recent opinion piece, Mr Putin wrote extensively about the significance of the Russian Empire, although this was widely seen as a justification for Russian claims on neighbouring countries such as Ukraine.


Hilarion’s remarks show that the Russian-Orthodox Church doesn't shy to take a stand Russia's political and social debate. Although this is not in line with its official policy of not giving preference to any political party and being open to people with different political views.

„The interests of the Church are the interests of the people. Therefore, we do not believe that any political party should represent our interests. If this happens, then we will effectively exclude representatives of other political parties from the Church, and we do not want to do this. The church is open to everyone”, according to Metropolitan Hilarion.



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