Friday, December 5, 2008

The Winter of Another Patriarch

Lightning strikes.

No, not the gold dome of Cuba's new Russian Orthodox Cathedral, "donated" to the Church a month ago by Fidel Castro and paid for with the blood and sweat of Cuba's non-faithful. (En passant, never before in history did the workers who built a cathedral outnumber its future communicants.)

It is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, who has been struck down at age 79. Appointed by Mikhail Gorbachev in the waning days of the Soviet Union when he was trying desperately to save Communism, the patriarch was an abject apparatchik of the State, whatever its shade of red. He transitioned to democracy by decreeing that there would be no investigations or condemnation of Church officials with ties to the KGB. Except for a few dissident priests, disowned by the Church and jailed by the State, every hierarch and priest of the Russian Orthodox Church was a KGB agent, not co-opted by the KGB but selected from its ranks and ordained in the Church. Alexy himself begun his double-career at the height of Stalin era, in 1950, and was appointed a bishop before he was 30. He divorced his wife in obeisance to Khrushchev and found favor with Brezhnev, at the time of whose death he was the KGB's #2 man in the Russian Orthodox Church.

On succeeding the even more monstrous Patriarch Pimen I in 1990, Alexy transformed the Church from a servant of Communism to an upholder of Traditionalism (that is, its pre-1917 tradition), which entailed not only the canonization of the last Tsarist royal family and the rebuilding of the demolished Cathedral of Christ the Savior, but also overseeing the persecution and suppression of Russia's non-Orthodox Christians, whose religious rights were circumscribed by law in 1997 upon his insistence. The best that can be said for him is that he did not instigate a pogrom against the Jews after the fall of Communism. Of course, as "foreign minister" of the Orthodox Church in the 1970s, Alexy presided over their effective expulsion from the Soviet Union by helping to foment "non-official" anti-Semitism.

An ethnic-German born in Estonia while it was still a free republic, Alexei Ruediger seemed an unlikely patriarch, and his fervent embrace of Russian nationalism, like Stalin's, was probably due to his non-Russian origins.

Expect a generous tribute from Fidel and another visit from Raúl to Cuba's Russian Orthodox Cathedral to sign the book of condolences and attend a memorial service. Perhaps Raúl Castro and Jaime Cardinal Ortega, Alexy's political counterpart in Cuba, will sit together.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Expect a generous tribute from Fidel and another visit from Raúl to Cuba's Russian Orthodox Cathedral to sign the book of condolences and attend a memorial service. Perhaps Raúl Castro and Jaime Cardinal Ortega, Alexy's political counterpart in Cuba, will sit together.

Manuel que importancia tiene esto. Si va o no va a firmar el libro who cares

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

anonymous:

It matters a great deal since soon Raúl will soon have to decide whether Cuba shall become a Russian satrapy again or an American protectorate.

Fidel has clearly voiced his preference for the former.

Anonymous said...

or an American protectorate.


Raul will choose the latter, with Obama

Vana said...

Alexy II has met his Maker who sent him straight to the hell he created for himself, there he shall sit waiting for Ortega so they can burn together for eternity.

Thus to tyrants!

joep said...

MaT, I enjoyed this post, as it is representative of your best work and steers clear of the lamentations so characteristic of anything dealing with the incoming US administration.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

joe:

I brought myself close to a heart attack warning of the impending danger.

No need to warn anymore.

The end brings resignation and serenity.

joep said...

Serenity...acceptance...that which is to be will be.

So let us pass these final weeks reading your best work. The war is not lost until the last breath of air is expelled from the last free-thinking man's lungs. Whilst we have been battered and pushed back to the sea, there are still free-thinking men who conspire (aspire?) to return this country to her former greatness, who will still fight for liberty inside Cuba...

In honor of them - us - close this chapter with a display of brilliance in thinking and writing that so blinds the beasts that they cannot even find the "Enter" key as they struggle to post their inane "Comments."

I, for one, would love to read about the various militant anti-Castro exile groups that operated from the US. Are they still in existence? Do they live on? Are they nothing more than memories? Or are they persecuted, prosecuted and treated by the US gov't with even greater hostility than that which is afforded to the henchmen of the Butcher of Biran?

Say no to hyperbole, to shrillness, to the hysteria that opponents of freedom take such glee in causing. But say yes to analysis, critical thinking, opining, to conveying a message effectively and efficiently and memorably...

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

joe:

All exile groups in the U.S. have been infiltrated by both the DGI and the FBI, which actually share information. A Cuban deserter named Roque, who infiltrated "Brothers to the Rescue," was both a Castro agent and an FBI informer. The information which he provided to his handlers resulted in the shooting down of an unarmed civilian airplane over international waters and the assassination of its crew. The FBI even sent Roque a check for his contract work after the exile plane was downed.

If Cuban-Americans don't hate this country it is not because it has not given us sufficient cause.

joep said...

MaT, thanks for the brief, but sobering follow-up. Not surprising to hear that the FBI would have collaborated with the DGI, since my own experiences with the US Gov't in trying to get Yuliet home to me did not reflect well upon this country...

That said, I would still like to know more about the exile groups and the good things they might have done - or tried to do - despite the interference of their adopted country. For example, this Luis Posada Carriles - guy. Wasn't he a freedom fighter? Did he work alone or with anti-Castro groups?

And Alpha-66? Are they still alive? Is this organization operating, even if just to maintain some organizational structure? During the most public moments of my fight against Castro and Chavez for Yuliet, I was contacted by an old, old man who claimed affiliation with Alpha-66. Unfortunately, the voicemail he left me was nearly unintelligible, or else I would have called him back.

MaT, regale us with tales of real Cuban freedom fighters. Give me something to keep me warm on these long December nights, because without my wife, a snifter of cognac and a solitary fire are no longer providing much comfort.

And please, I implore you, focus these last few weeks on the brilliant writing that is your trademark, and not on the pointless lamentations that so many sub-human, anonymous commentators to RoCAB keep trying to goad you into.

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