Table of contents:
- The first military priests and a church at KamAZ
- Spiritual landing, the first military robes and the temple of the Ministry of Defense
Mobile churches on wheels, inflatable temples and khaki-colored candles for the military are just a small result of cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Ministry of Defense. We will tell you how the Russian Orthodox Church got its own military department and how it works.
At the Army-2020 forum, which is being held by the Ministry of Defense from 23 to 29 August in the Moscow region, military field robes for clergymen were presented. Photos of several models of cassocks, including camouflage ones, have been circulated on the Internet. In fact, the Russian Orthodox Church has long had a whole military department.
The first military priests and a church at KamAZ
In 1995, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church created a department for interaction with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In the early years, he was engaged in the construction of prayer rooms and small temples in military units and divisions, according to the department's website. The next year, in 1996, departments of Orthodox culture began to appear in military universities.
Military priests blessed the personnel of the Airborne Forces for valiant military labor
Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
In 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered to recreate the institution of the full-time military clergy. In the army, the post of assistant commander for work with believing military personnel appeared, and priests were taken there. A total of 242 vacancies were opened.
In 2011, the powers of priests in the army expanded - the ministers of the church could not only conduct services for officers and soldiers, but also instruct the guard in a "moral sense." In addition, the priests blessed all types of military equipment, from ships to rockets.
However, according to the newspaper, there was a sorely lack of priests, 90% of them were understaffed. Then in 2012, Medvedev allowed priests to take a deferment from military service.
A year later, the first official graduation of military clergymen took place at the Military University of the Ministry of Defense, Alexei Artemyev, a lecturer at the information support department of the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, said in his article.
Temple on wheels
“The Russian Orthodox Church seeks to present itself in the Russian army as a spiritually influential ideological structure. And the ROC considers its main goal to be the formation of the qualities necessary for achieving spiritual superiority over the enemy in Russian servicemen,”wrote Artemyev.
In 2013, "to strengthen the fighting spirit" in the Russian Airborne Forces began testing an Orthodox church on wheels, created on the basis of the KamAZ truck. According to the idea, the temples were intended for "spiritual nourishment" of the military during exercises, armed conflicts and local wars. They wanted to establish churches in all parts of the Russian Armed Forces, however, in the future, it was not reported about the successful large-scale deployment of churches in military units.
Spiritual landing, the first military robes and the temple of the Ministry of Defense
In the spring of 2013, air force priests held exercises on a snow-covered field in the Ryazan Region. 40 Orthodox priests jumped with parachutes, and also learned to deploy an inflatable temple, which is a tent that priests inflated with electric pumps. Crosses and iconostases were attached to the church with Velcro.
Servicemen leave the mobile temple deployed at the landing site - Maxim Blinov / Sputnik
"How the temple can be used - either hit the enemy on the head from above [throwing him off the plane], or turn around at the turn and pray," said Boris Lukichev, head of the department for work with believers in the RF Armed Forces. Later, the mass deployment of such temples was also not reported.
In 2012, military priests of the Airborne Forces made 38 parachute jumps - Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
By 2015, there was still a shortage of military priests - only 132 priests in 242 positions worked in the troops on a regular basis, including two Muslims and one Buddhist. By 2019, the number of military chaplains in the Russian army was increased to 200, according to the BBC.
In 2016, a robe for military priests was shown for the first time in the Central Military District. It resembled an ordinary military uniform, however, instead of buttonholes, an Orthodox cross was embroidered, and in the place of the name and position of a serviceman - the name and church rank of a priest. The uniform was intended for priests who would serve on field trips and military exercises.
Regimental priest in uniform at the VI International Military-Technical Forum "Army-2020" at the Patriot Convention and Exhibition Center
Avilov Alexander / Agency "Moscow"
Together with new models of cassocks at the Army forum in 2020, they showed "military" wax candles of khaki color and other items of church paraphernalia. At the same time, in the Russian Orthodox Church itself, new camouflage vestments were not approved.
Church utensils and the field uniform of a priest at the exhibition of weapons at the VI International Military-Technical Forum "Army-2020" in the Congress and Exhibition Center "Patriot"
Avilov Alexander / Agency "Moscow"
“Everything that is being done must be done in accordance with the charter of the Russian Orthodox Church and in agreement with the Synodal Department for Relations with the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies. This was not done, "Bishop Stephen, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Cooperation with the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies, told Interfax.
One of the main results of the work of the Synodal Department was the construction of the main church of the Russian Armed Forces in the Patriot Park in the Moscow Region. The construction of the temple, according to Znak.com, cost 6 billion rubles ($ 80.4 million), three of them were donations, another half was allocated from the budget. The height of the building together with the cross was 95 meters - this is one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world.
The main temple of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Valery Sharifulin / TASS
The temple was even decorated with a mosaic with Putin, Stalin and other political figures, but later the mosaic was removed. The temple was consecrated in June 2020, and at the end of July there was the first wedding of a couple of military men who had been married for 58 years.
Interior of the main temple of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Evgeny Odinokov / Sputnik
The sacrament of the wedding was performed by the priest of the church, Bishop Stephen - the one who did not like the military candles. As for the wedding, he said that "there is a special pride in this - to get married in a place that is an object of the cultural heritage of our country."