Thinking Citizen Blog — The Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kirill I, Has Blessed Putin’s War

Thinking Citizen Blog — Monday is Foreign Policy Day

Today’s Topic: The Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kirill I, Has Blessed Putin’s War

Am I living in an alternative universe? Have I traveled back in time without knowing it? Can it be true that the Russian Church has given Putin its blessing? Sadly, yes. How can this possibly be? What are the details? What is the rationale? Who is Kirill I? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

PUTIN IS “GOD’S MIRACLE” — the world according to the Patriarch

1. Russians are one people and should not be divided into Russia, Ukraine, Belarus.

2. Putin is engaged in a holy war to unite Russians and expel “Nazis” from the Ukraine.

3. Gay pride parades are the perfect symbol of the decadence that must be put to an end.

KIRILL’S FAMILY BACKGROUND — remember the Solovetsky Island prison!

1. “According to Putin, Kirill’s father (Rev. Mikhail Gundyaev) baptized him.”

2. Kirill’s grandfather, Vasily Gundyaev, was held in the Solovki prison camp (the ancestor of the Gulag) for over twenty years. The prison was located on the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea.

3. The Solovetsky Monastery (below), located on the islands “was one of the largest Christian citadels in Northern Russia before it was converted into a Soviet prison and labor camp.”


1. Estimated membership of the Russian Orthodox Church: 90 to 110 million.

2. 38,649 parishes, 314 dioceses, 382 bishops, 40,514 “full time clerics”

3. Kirill’s personal wealth is estimated at between $4 billion to $8 billion.

FOOTNOTE — Sviatohirsk monastery in Ukraine: “Battered by Russian shells,” but “Remains Loyal to Moscow”

1. “Of the hundreds of battle sites all across Ukraine, the Sviatohirsk Monastery of the Caves surely ranks among the most incongruous. The sprawling complex of onion-domed churches built into a high bank of the Siversky Donets River is considered one of the five holiest sites in the Russian Orthodox Church. Yet it is directly in the line of fire of the Russian Army in its advance in eastern Ukraine.”

2. “Russian shells aimed at Ukrainian troop positions regularly go astray and strike the monastery, with terrifying shrieks and metallic booms that echo through the churchyards. They tear through building walls and leave gaping holes in the grounds; at least four monks, priests or nuns have been killed, the Ukrainian police say.”

3. “Over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that about 300 civilians, including about 60 children, were sheltering in the monastery. The regional police say they cannot evacuate the children because the access road is regularly shelled.”

NB: “The post-Soviet schism of the Russian and Ukrainian churches has been a religious backdrop to the war. Ukraine’s church has asserted independence but thousands of parishes in Ukraine remain loyal to Kirill, the Patriarch in Moscow. If Ukraine wins, the Russian church will almost certainly be expelled for good. In the meantime, many Russian Orthodox parishes in Ukraine, as well as around the world, have rejected any alliance with Kirill, a political ally of Vladimir V. Putin. But not the monks in the Sviatohirsk monastery; they remain aligned with Russia. Indeed, this has been seen for years as the most Russian-oriented of the major religious sites in Ukraine.”

“This past weekend, the fighting started a fire that burned the wooden All Saints Hermitage church, the largest wooden church in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said. Russia blamed Ukrainian forces for the fire.”

Battered by Russian Shells, a Monastery Remains Loyal to Moscow

The Russian Orthodox Leader at the Core of Putin’s Ambitions

Solovki prison camp — Wikipedia

Solovetsky Monastery — Wikipedia

Zosimas of Solovki — Wikipedia

Sabbatius of Solovki — Wikipedia

Russian Orthodox Church — Wikipedia

Sviatohirsk Lavra — Wikipedia


#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

Here is a link to the last four years of posts organized by theme: (including the book on foreign policy)

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Solovetsky Monastery — Wikipedia

The Solovetsky Monastery was founded in 1436 by the monk Zosima; however, monks Herman and Savvatiy from the Kir…

Please share the coolest or most important thing you learned in the last week, month, or year related to foreign policy. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in our life related to foreign policy.

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is the key to depth of thought. The prospect of imminent publication, like hanging and final exams, concentrates the mind. A useful life long habit.



Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.