Moscow (AsiaNews) – Orthodox deacon Andrej Kuraev, a young well-known theologian, has invited the youth branch of an ultranationalist movement to organize, for December 24, a picket “in defence of Russian Christmas” outside the Catholic cathedral of the Mother of God.
The proposal was launched through the deacon’s web-site (www.kureav.ru/forum) and intends to be a “defence of Russian Christmas, in other words the traditions of celebrating Christ’s birth according to the old calendar.” The Catholic Church, with the Gregorian calendar reform, celebrates Christmas on December 25. The Russian Orthodox Church, which still follows the Julian calendar, celebrates Christmas on January 7.
The deacon is proposing that only young people take part in the picket, with “a kind expression on their face, not one that suggests irritation or protest.” But he also claims that “the Nasha (Our People) youth movement has given its juridical and organization support to the demonstration.”
This movement is considered to be among the most extremist and fundamentalist in Russia, so much so that is has been dubbed the “Putin-Jugend”, in a clear reference to Nazi youth.
According to organizers’ intentions, the picket is not to foresee political statements or comments, while plans are to “extend good-hearted and non-polemical holiday wishes to Catholic parishioners passing by.”
Deacon Andrei Kuraev is among the most influential theologians and publicists in the Russian Orthodox world. His web-site ranks first for site visits and reference. He is not an “official voice” of Moscow’s Patriarchate, but is known to launch initiatives only if he has the hierarchy’s tacit approval.
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