If you haven’t been to Moscow lately, you will be shocked by the construction of new churches. There seems to be one going up on every corner, reminiscent of the American South. The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) claimed yesterday that Russia is building three new churches a day across the vast geography of the world’s largest country — the Russian Federation.
“It’s not because we have too much money and don’t know where to spend it on. Our people who have gone through years of atheism [under the Soviet Union] have realized with their minds and hearts that without God, nothing happens,” Patriarch Kirill was quoted as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Sunday, reported The Moscow Times.
The building spree ran into a snag recently as protesters successfully prevented the building of a new cathedral in Yekaterinburg as local residents declared it would destroy a beloved park in the city.
The Orthodox Church’s influence has grown in recent years as it has received increased support from the Kremlin. Last year, Patriarch Kirill announced that 25 new churches were built in Moscow alone, added The Moscow Times. Patriarch Kirill added that the increased concentration of churches will give Russians the opportunity to feel closer to God, lead happier lives and tackle the difficult circumstances of the modern world.
Many believe the Kremlin is supporting the ROC to use it as a way to control the population, similar to the practice under the Romanov tsars.