The head of the Soviet Communist party and state Leonid Brezhnev with hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate then-Metropolitan Alexy II and Patriarch Pimen, and the head of the Moscow Choral Synagogue Rabbi Jakov Fishman at the reception celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Communist Revolution of 1917 on October 7, 1977 (Photo: Wikipedia)
Specialists on religion in the Soviet Union have known for decades that many of the most senior hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church were KGB officers, but few Russians know much about this because the Kremlin hasn’t wanted to draw attention to it given that many of these KGB officers are still in their senior church positions.
Now, however, as a result of the increasingly angry public discussion in Russia about the grant of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox, some Russian commentators are making reference to this history, most prominently film director Nikita Mikhalkov on Russia 24 four days ago.
In an effort to discredit Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, who is odds on favorite to become the head of a single autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox church, the Russian film director said that Filaret in Soviet times was an agent of the KGB with the code name “Antonov.”
That affiliation became known, Mikhalkov continued, in 1991 when a parliamentary commission which included Father Gleb Yakunin uncovered data in the KGB archives about the agents the KGB had among the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.
At that time, Filaret was the exarch of Ukraine and even the provisional head of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Among other KGB agents in the church were then-Patriarch Alexy II (code name “Drozdov”), Kirill who is the Moscow patriarch now (code name “Mikhailov”), Metropolitan Yuvenaliy (code name “Adamant”), as well as many others. In 1992, the Moscow Patriarchate created a commission to look into these cases, but not surprisingly, the commission never began work.
- Chekist Operation Trust — model for Putin’s approach to Russian Church and Russian nationalism
- Difficult choice for Ukraine as identities of KGB agents finally come to light
- 8 reasons why Russian Communism and Russian Orthodoxy are so interchangeable
- How Russian Church serves Kremlin propaganda
- Stalin and the Russian Orthodox Church
- Soviet chekists weren’t the professionals Putin wants Russians to think they were, new book says
- Russia’s FSB no longer ‘new nobility’ but only tool like old KGB, Soldatov and Borogan say
- Chief of Russia’s FSB: Stalin-era repressions were largely justified
- Putin gives his Guard powers even NKVD didn’t have: the question now is why? Gorevoy says
- Putin’s Russian Guard is true ‘heir to the NKVD,’ its deputy commander says
- Lists of NKVD victims killed in mass executions in 1941 published online
Edited by: A. N.
Tags: KGB, Kirill, Moscow patriarch Kirill, Moscow Patriarchate, NKVD, NKVD (Soviet People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), Patriarch Filaret, Patriarch Kirill, Putin's regime, Russia, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian special services, SVR (Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service)