Unlike the Catholic Church, which has a single, undisputed leader, the pope in Rome, the Orthodox or Eastern branch of Christianity is divided into more than a dozen self-governing provinces, each with its own patriarch.The biggest of these, the Russian Orthodox Church, covers not only Russia, but also fragile new states like Moldova that formerly belonged to the Russian and later Soviet empires.“We have been independent for 25 years but our church is still dependent on Moscow,” complained Iurie Leanca, a former prime minister of Moldova, who in 2014 signed a trade and political pact with the European Union that the church and the Kremlin worked hard to derail.Dodon rallied his own supporters for a rival event dedicated to traditional values while a group of Orthodox priests gathered nearby to chant prayers and curse homosexuals.The Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, a research group in Paris headed by a former Soviet diplomat, threw its support behind opponents of a new French law in 2013 allowing same-sex marriage.
“We have started to get letters at the institute: ‘Thank you Russia and its leader,’” Ms. What role the new cathedral complex in Paris might play in this agenda will not be clear until it opens later this year, but those who have studied Mr.
This is not acceptable.”In their determination to fend off the West, conservative Orthodox priests in Moldova have made common cause with politicians like Igor Dodon, leader of the pro-Moscow Socialist Party.
When gay activists staged a parade this summer in the center of Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, Mr.
To mark the completion of Moscow-funded renovation work in January, Russia’s ambassador in Paris, Aleksandr Orlov, joined the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, for a ceremony at the cathedral and hailed the refurbishment as “a message for the whole world: Russia is sacred and eternal!
”Then, in a festival of French-Russian amity at odds with France’s official policy since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the ambassador, Orthodox priests, officials from Moscow and French dignitaries gathered in June for a gala dinner in a luxury Nice hotel to celebrate the cathedral’s return to the fold of the Moscow Patriarchate.
A fervent foe of homosexuality and any attempt to put individual rights above those of family, community or nation, the Russian Orthodox Church helps project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalization, multiculturalism and women’s and gay rights.