George Weigel–Russian Orthodoxy and Lenin’s Tomb

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known for over a century now by his Bolshevik nom-de-guerre, Lenin, was one of history’s greatest mass murderers. In the course of his ruthless efforts to impose communism on Russia and its neighbors through brutal force, terror, and extra-judicial homicides in the millions, he became one of the greatest persecutors of the Christian Church in two millennia. Lenin’s minions killed more Christians in a slow week than the last of the great Roman persecutors, Diocletian, did in years. All this is thoroughly documented””to the point where Russian Orthodoxy considers many of Lenin’s victims as martyrs and saints and celebrates their feasts in its liturgical calendar.

And yet today’s Russian Orthodox leadership cannot bring itself to say that this monster’s mummified corpse should cease, immediately, being an object of curiosity or veneration?

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia

6 comments on “George Weigel–Russian Orthodoxy and Lenin’s Tomb

  1. Ad Orientem says:

    Oh my. I need to take a deep breath here. First I would suggest that George (whose writings I generally admire) maybe needs to switch to de-caf. He quotes a single priest suggesting that Russia, which is still deeply torn in its view of history, should exercise a modicum of caution and restraint before doing something that could easily spark riots. From which quote he concludes that the Russian Church is a spineless body that can’t bring itself to condemn moral evil.

    Maybe if he dug a little deeper instead of flying off the handle sans broader investigation he might have discovered that the most of the bishops of the Russian Church are firmly on record in favor of moving Lenin’s corpse from its current place and burying it (in unconsecrated ground). All that is being suggested here is that it needs to be done in an orderly manner that will not provoke popular outrage or violence.

    There is no Christian church in history that has suffered the level of persecution that the Russian Orthodox Church did in the last century. The final tally of martyrs will never be known with any precision but they certainly number in the many millions. Mr. Weigel might wish to consider that [b][i][u]every single bishop[/b][/u][/i] who attended the Synod of 1917-18 suffered martyrdom or died in prison. Many were tortured to death. It is estimated that upwards of 90% of the clergy alive in 1918 were murdered. There is an entire commission of the Church dedicated solely to investigating and identifying the martyrs of the Communist era. The church calendar became so cluttered with martyrs that a single day has been dedicated to their commemoration.

    Really. George needs to show a bit more restraint before lunging for the jugular. He is well known for his periodic attacks on the Orthodox Church. I have even defended his criticism of the Church in the dispute over church buildings in the Ukraine. (The Russian Church is unjustly trying to hold onto property stolen from uniate Catholics in the late 1940’s.) But this screed is way over the top and without any real foundation in truth.

    Holy New Martyrs of Russia pray for us!


  2. Nikolaus says:

    Well, first off I’ll admit that I don’t know much about the particulars, but the article doesn’t fit the description of a “screed.” John, did you miss this statement?
    [blockquote]he became one of the greatest persecutors of the Christian Church in two millennia. Lenin’s minions killed more Christians in a slow week than the last of the great Roman persecutors, Diocletian, did in years. [/blockquote]
    As for the statement of a “single priest” – you know darn well Chaplin is not some minor parish curate. Maybe I would appreciate him more if that “lady” in upsate New York didn’t get a case of the vapours at every utterance the archpriest makes.

    None the less, I can understand why someone might wonder why the Moscow Patriarch has any pressing interest in keeping Lenin around. Besides, from what I hear hes not all that well “preserved.”

  3. Catholic Mom says:

    I read a long time ago that the person charged with keeping Lenin’s body in shape said that after about 10 years they had given up trying to keep him (Lenin) touched up and had simply replaced him with a wax figure and that all the top party members knew this.

    This guy said this in like 1970 right before he died. In any event, I think if it were the *real* Lenin (quite unlikely considering how perfectly he is preserved) being eternally on display to the public in a glass box would be a pretty good definition of hell. 🙂

  4. Ad Orientem says:

    Catholic Mom
    I believe that this was the Communists trying to create their own “saint” by mimicking the incorrupt relics of the blessed. God however is not mocked.

  5. Ad Orientem says:

    Fr. Vsevolod is certainly more than a minor curate. But his words need to be taken in context which Mr. Weigel for whatever reason did not do. He certainly said nothing which contradicts the stated position of the overwhelming majority of bishops that Lenin needs to be moved. Certainly the Russian Church has no interest in keeping this evil relic lying about.

    As for the lady in upstate NY, I am not certain whom you are referring to. But if it is who I think, I would caution against taking anything posted on her blog without a large bag of salt. The person I am thinking of is a well known source of scandal and she has been repeatedly admonished against representing her warped views as those of the Orthodox Church. The last I heard she has been barred from the chalice.

  6. Nikolaus says:

    Para. 1: Thank you. Good to hear it.
    Para. 2: I’m quite certain it’s the same lady. I don’t name her so as not to drive traffic her way. I generally avoid her but every once in a while drop by her blog for a laugh. A bag of salt won’t do, I usually visit her site armed with a cross in my right hand and an icon of the Theotokos.