Russian Patriarch Kirill Tells Africans the Advantages of Following Russia’s Lead at the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Daniel Whyte III, President of Gospel Light Society International, says even though African nations are independent, they will be more apt to follow Kirill’s advice and follow Russia’s lead over America’s and the West’s lead for one main reason, Kirill and Russia are not for the abomination of sodomy/homosexuality, and most African nations are not for that either.
(RNS) — Meeting with African leaders late last month, Russian Patriarch Kirill boasted of the continued expansion of the Russian Orthodox Church in their countries, paralleling the strategy of the leaders’ host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, to expand Kremlin influence across the continent.
The Moscow Patriarchate said it had almost doubled its size in Africa since 2021, when it established its own local church structure known as an exarchate. The move challenges the sway the Greek Orthodox Church had long held over the African continent through the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Egypt.
The patriarch told the leaders at the July 27-28 Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg that the exarchate, which has been wooing Orthodox priests away from the Alexandria Patriarchate, “has opened over 200 parishes in 25 African countries.”
Kirill was clear about what awaited an African priest who switches his loyalty. “The exarchate has also started implementing many humanitarian and educational projects, which include, among many other things, translating books into local languages,” he told his audience.
“Developing our pastoral activities, we strive to make our contribution to the strengthening of Russia-Africa ties, to improve people’s welfare. Wherever our parishes open, there are new schools, water wells, electric substations, hospitals and cultural centers.”
The autocephalous, or self-governing, Eastern Orthodox churches — numbering up to 17, depending on how they are counted — have traditionally reigned supreme within their own borders. Orthodox geography calls these regions “canonical territories.”
By launching an exarchate, a missionary diocese with its own hierarchy, the Moscow Patriarchate essentially set up an Orthodox challenger to the Alexandria Patriarchate right in its own backyard.
“Africans now demonstrate great interest in the Russian Orthodox Church,” Kirill declared, saying his church “does not distort God-given norms of morality in favor of some fashionable ideological trends.”
The conference was held as Putin is fending off criticism for backing out of a deal that has allowed Ukrainian wheat to be delivered abroad despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Several of the attendees at the conference, whose populations depend on Ukrainian wheat, urged Putin to negotiate an end to the war.
Some of the African leaders are supported by the Wagner Group of mercenaries, who spread Kremlin influence while providing it with deniability because Russian troops are not involved. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin even met privately with Kremlin clients in St. Petersburg for the summit.