Guest / Limited Access /

For the Russian Orthodox Church, in which anti-Western sentiment runs high, recent prayer services for U.S. victims of September 11's terrorist attacks mark a shift towards a more sympathetic attitude to Americans. This change coincides with the increasingly pro-Western position of President Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church, which has historically felt squeezed between Muslim and western Christian worlds, has trodden carefully between what has been seen as two sides of a conflict of civilizations.

With the musty scent of incense hanging in the air, Metropolitan Sergy, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, conducted a recent memorial service "for all those in the American land killed suddenly and senselessly."

"With the saints rest the souls of thy servants, O Christ, where there is neither pain, nor grief, nor sigh, but life everlasting," sang the clergy and choir from verses of the Panikhida, an Orthodox requiem service, in Old Church Slavonic.

A similar service was held at St Catherine's church, which belongs to the Orthodox Church in America and which ministers to English-speaking Orthodox Christians in Moscow. Orthodox churches in the United States also held memorial services.

The services took place in keeping with the Orthodox tradition of commemorating the dead on the 40th day after death. According to this tradition, the soul of the dead finally leaves the earth on the 40th day and ascends to heaven or descends to hell, hence the call for special prayers on this day.

"Thousands of innocent people died because of the madness of those who want to reshape the world according to their design," Metropolitan Sergy said in his sermon. "They forgot that God did not give man free will for enmity and ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow Gaza’s Christians View the Hamas-Israeli Conflict
How Gaza’s Christians View the Hamas-Israeli Conflict
Baptist pastor Hanna Massad speaks openly about what he sees happening as he helps to shelter Gaza’s Christians and others during the current conflict.
TrendingMark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
Mark Driscoll Steps Down While Mars Hill Investigates Charges
(UPDATED) Driscoll offers 8-step solution to followers: 'Current climate is not healthy for me or for this church.'
Editor's PickDesire and Deliverance
Desire and Deliverance
Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
Comments
Christianity Today
Remembrance of Terrorist Attack Victims Marks Russian Orthodox ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2001

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.