Russian Patriarch Removes Priest Who Served at Navalny's Funeral

The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, replaced the priest Dmitry Safronov, who served at the funeral and memorial service of the deceased Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

by Sededin Dedovic
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Russian Patriarch Removes Priest Who Served at Navalny's Funeral
© Global News / YOutube channel

The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill made a controversial decision by dismissing the priest Dmitry Safronov, who recently officiated at the funeral and memorial service of the deceased Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

This decision caused a storm of reactions inside and outside the Church, creating additional complexities in relation to the already tense political and social environment in Russia. In the order published on the website of the Moscow Diocese, the reason for the dismissal of Safronov from his priestly duties was not clearly stated.

Safronov, apart from his dismissal, was forbidden to wear the mantle for the next three years, and he was transferred to another Moscow church. His service at the funeral and commemoration of 40 days since Navalny's death was just one of many times when Safronov publicly stood with Navalny's family in seeking justice and transparency regarding his death.

Navalny died on February 16 in prison, which caused widespread attention both within Russia and internationally. Despite this, the cause of death has not yet been clearly established, and many are raising questions about the circumstances of his death, raising doubts about the transparency of the Russian judiciary.

Safronov was also among the priests who publicly supported demands that Navalny's remains be returned to his family for a dignified burial. His courageous support brought additional attention to the issue of human rights and political repression in Russia, which was a challenge to the authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin.

Kirill, a patriarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has often been criticized for his support of Kremlin policies, including moves such as strengthening the power of the Russian Orthodox Church under Putin's leadership.

This connection between the Church and the political elite has further intensified the polarization within the Russian community, with many criticizing the Church's interference in politics. Tensions between the Church and the opposition further worsened due to the Church's support for the invasion of Ukraine, where Russian priests actively participated in educating soldiers and war equipment.

This support drew condemnation from the international community and further worsened relations between Russia and its neighbors, creating additional challenges to diplomatic stability. Considering these events, the decision to remove Safronov is just another example of the political polarization that is deeply rooted in Russian society.

While the Church remains an important institution in the lives of many Russians, its actions and ties to the political elite are becoming the subject of increasing criticism and skepticism within the country and beyond.

Russian Alexei Navalny
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