Because Patriarch Kirill is of central importance to the myth of Putin as the Saul-to-Paul, Christian persecutor-to-Christian champion, it behooves us to more closely examine the man.
In January 2009, Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev is a Russian Orthodox bishop of Finno-Ugrik origin, better known as Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, was elected, from a short list of three candidates, to be the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the highest position of authority in the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The election was called to fill the post that had been left vacant by the death of Patriarch Alexy II, who had headed the ROC since 1990.
Prior to becoming Patriarch, Kirill was Archbishop (later Metropolitan) of Smolensk and Kaliningrad beginning on 26 December 1984; and also Chairman of the Orthodox Church's Department for External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod beginning in November 1989. Russian media made no big secret that a spectacular career of Gundyayev in the church hierarchy was made because of his close cooperation with the Soviet secret services and open support for the communist regime. Even after, Gundyev was elected as Patriarch of Moscow, he continue to praise Joseph Stalin and USSR.
Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is an extremely wealthy organization. It’s 2013 revenues totaled 4.6 billion rubles ($153 millions). A large part of its riches comes from Putin’s government.
According to the popular web site Polit.ru, the Kremlin allocated 958 million rubles from the Russia’s budget to the ROC just for the 2015 program for “Strengthening the unity of the Russian nation.” In May of this year, 1.1 billion rubles have been already spent for creation of 23 “spiritual education” ROC organizations. Each of the organizations received an average of 25-30 million rubles. All together the federal budget of Russia is ready to allocate 2 billion rubles for the creation of spiritual and educational centers for the ROC.
The words of Patriarch Kirill that were directed to Russian president Vladimir Putin, which were nationally broadcast by the Channel One of the Russian TV, are widely known among Russians:
“I should tell openly, since I am Patriarch, whose duty is to tell only the truth, disregarding political situation or demands of propaganda, I should tell that you personally, Vladimir Vladimirovich, played a decisive role in the final straightening of the crooked line of the Russian history.”
Earlier, in his other published conversation with Putin, Patriarch stated:
“It is a great pleasure for me, as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, to know that today, in the new reality of church-state relations, there was created with your direct involvement the right conditions for further fruitful cooperation between the Church and the apparatus of the Russian government, it’s many ministries and agencies. Together we will take care of the moral health of our society, the strengthening of peace and social harmony, and increase the international prestige of Russia.”
Where are the roots of so effective understanding, love and cooperation between the church and contemporary leadership of Russia?
Lev Ponomaryov, a well-known Russian human rights activist and Executive Director of the Russian National Movement For Human Rights, who in 1991 was a head of the Parliamentary Commission studying activity of the last communists’ anti–Gorbachev plot, recently told the Russian newspaper Express:
“Specific research concerning the relationship of the Church and KGB was professionally led by a member of our commission, dissident priest Gleb Yakunin. He, like I, also was a Member of Parliament and had the opportunity to work in the archives of the KGB.
“In particular, he studied the working documents of the 5th department of the KGB, which was engaged in spying on ‘internal enemies of the state’. It was, in fact, the political police with a well-developed network of agents spread throughout society.
Yakunin found the documents proving that all (!) top functionaries of Russian Orthodox Church were recruited by the KGB. Among others there was then Patriarch Alexy II. His undercover KGB agent’s nickname was Drozdov. Militantly atheistic Soviet government awarded Patriarch Alexy II the Red Banner and Friendship of Peoples Orders. In 1988 – he was awarded even a special diploma of the KGB …”
In truth, not only the entire Orthodox Church leadership was permeated by KGB agents, but also the leadership of Muslims and all other religions represented in the Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, some of them confessed that previously collaborated with the KGB.
Lithuanian Archbishop Chrysostomos found the courage to confirm his undercover KGB past under the nickname “Restorer”. A KGB agent with the nickname of Aramis, who worked as a translator in the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, decided to repent in the newspaper Arguments and Facts (№ 8, 1992). He said that almost all the employees of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate had worked for KGB. At that time, from 1989 to 2009 the department was headed by the current Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill.
Undercover KGB agent Vladimir Gundiayev (nickname Mikhailov), a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva in 1971.
Now he is known as Kirill , the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia quotes:
“A crackdown on far-right movements is the path we must follow today in order to lead interethnic relations out of their current dangerous state,” Patriarch Kirill told reporters in response to Saturday’s riot on Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow.
”Hate crimes are endangering Russia’s progress and should be stopped at all cost.”
“Russia needs to revive Soviet-era sense of solidarity.”
“Russia should build itself around all the good things that made the Soviet era stand out.”
We must never forget the achievement of the Soviet people, “and not just the military.”
“What about those Komsomol members (young Communists) who gathered crops, built the BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline railway), without getting awards or privileges in return? It is a sense of teamwork, a sense of desiring to join efforts and do something good for your country.”
The idea of unity and continuity of the historical memory, protecting the national heritage against falsifications, against biased misinterpretation of the past reality “must form a base of values for cooperation among political forces,” the patriarch said.