Grigory Pasko: Budgeting the Russian Orthodox Church


“..For they shall also pray unto the LORD, that he would prosper that, which they give for ease and remedy…” (Sirach [aka Ecclesiasticus] 38: 1-2,4,6-10,12-14)

Glad and joyful tidings have reached our sinful land from the banks of the faraway Seine: on the threshold of the opening of the Year of Russia in France, the Russian Orthodox Church has won a tender for the acquisition of land in the center of Paris, right smack dab next to the Eiffel Tower.

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Three office buildings with an overall floorspace of eight and a half thousand square meters. The sum of the deal, it goes without saying, is not being disclosed (all is the will of God, and verily is this secret great). But, according to the assessments of Parisian experts on real estate, the average price of a square meter in this area comprises 7 thousand euros. And that means, the approximate cost of the entire joyful transaction under the heavens – 59 500 000 euros.

Representatives of the Russian Church have already declared that onthis place they will build a cathedral church, which “will become asymbol of the start of new bilateral relations.”

In the simplicity of my soul, I had thought that the bilateralrelations of Russia and France had begun long ago already, severalcenturies back. But now not about this. But about something it’sfrightening even to think about: how much is this new cathedral goingto end up costing the ROC.

father030110.jpgIt goes without saying that it is not for me, a sinner, to count themoney in the orthodox coffers. All the more so given that I personallyeven hope some time to visit this wondrous temple, where I will beable, as God’s people have promised, «to read literature, make use ofthe internet and take part in club undertakings».

Actually, I’m about other news, which has flown in from the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

In Primorye, a collection of donations has been announced for anoperation for a clergyman, the prior of the church of the Dormition ofthe Mother of God of the settlement of Kirovsky the priest AlexanderSprygin. At the end of last year, misfortune befell in the family offather Alexander — the only and beloved son of the clergyman had diedtragically. The padre had a massive heart attack. A medical examinationshowed that operative intervention is necessary — an aortocoronarybypass in three places.

The sum necessary for the conducting of the operation and for thepostoperative period — more than 350000 rubles. To find such a sum inthe settlement of Kirovsky does not present itself as possible.

Archbishop of Vladivostok and Primorye Veniamin, having penetrated intothe essence of the problem, blessed the announcing of a diocese-widecollection of donations for the operation for father Alexander.

The parishioners – good and kind people, and will certainly help their pastor.

But to me it is interesting: with what and how will the ROC help? Andwhy is it shifting the burden of rendering aid to its minister onto theshoulders of the parishioners – people in their general mass clearlynot wealthy?

Perhaps the ROC itself is as poor as a churchmouse?

The source with a reference to director of the Institute for the study of religionof the countries of the Baltic and the CIS Nikolai Mitrokhin reportsthat the ROC – this is a gigantic corporation. Here under a singlebrand function hundreds of thousands of independent economic agents.Starting with small enterprises, created by individual clergymen, andending with church-wide enterprises. In a year it receives from itsbusiness activity incomes comparable with the incomes of an averagemetallurgical company. Plus donations from state and private companiesfor various orthodox programs.

What specific sum is being spoken of – a big ecclesiastical secret.

Not for us, sinners, to count the money in the orthodox coffers. But tolean spiritually on the «Fundamental principles of the socialconception of the ROC»currently is appropriate. There we read: «Ministering to human health –spiritual and corporal — from time immemorial is a care of the Church».

That is, it is the Church, after all, that was supposed to have shown some concern about father Alexander?

Further on from the «Fundamental principles…»: «Executing the missionof saving humankind, the Church does this not only through directpreaching, but also through good works…».

So here he is – humankind – father Alexander. And 350 000 rubles – thisis precisely those «good works». To give this money to the father -that is precisely the mission of the church.
Or do I not understand something correctly?

…The padre needs one square meter of a Parisian office. Alternatively – two square meters in the local burial ground.


This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth mewith [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. (Matt. 15:8). That’sfrom here

In the above photo: father Alexander (source)

Top photo: limousine of Patriarch of Moscow