Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chairman of Election Commission Wears Sticharion at Services of the Moscow Patriarchate

The Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation wears a sticharion, an ecclesiastical vestment normally reserved for minor clergy, at divine services of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), an ecclesiastical functionary close to the Patriarch reveals.

Kirill Florov, who is head of the “Association of Orthodox Experts,” which is close to Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev), Primate of the Moscow Patriarchate, wrote the following on his blog on December 10, 2011: “Vladimir Churov, Chairman of the Central Election Commission, is a church person and a parishioner at one of our churches in Moscow. I’ve received Communion with him, and the rector has blessed Churov to vest in a sticharion.”

Participants in the mass protests against the obviously falsified parliamentary elections in Russia on December 4, 2011, have accused Vladimir Churov of committing criminal offenses related to participation in electoral fraud and the concealment of known evidence tampering. Churov has stated on government-sponsored television that he has not received a single complaint regarding the violation of electoral laws, although observers, journalists, and ordinary voters have send thousands of such complaints to the Central Election Commission. Churov is also known for his promise to shave his beard if even a single violation of count voting be found, as well as for his words spoken in response to Dmitry Medvedev, hinting at vote manipulation: “I am not a magician, I’m just learning.”

Kirill Florov also confirms that Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev), who has not appeared in public since December 6, 2011, is in Moscow. Florov did not specify where and why the head of the Moscow Patriarchate dropped out of public view. Despite the serious disorder in Russia, no commentary on events has come from the part of Patrirach Kirill in the past week.