Gerrard and Gerrard (hereafter GG) attempt to locate the place of the Russian Orthodox Church in modern Russia in contrast to the Soviet Union’s officially atheistic policy. Such a question is of supreme importance. From an American standpoint, this issue needs to be faced, for the answers given to these questions will likely determine American foreign policy in the Slavic world.
Right-wing Cold Warriors see the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) as a vehicle of state propaganda and perhaps an impediment to the creation of a global market force led by Westerners (e.g., the philosophy of neo-conservatism). Left-wing Westerns are likely dismayed that the ROC took such a key role in downing state socialism in Russia. Also, they oppose the ROC’s strict (sometimes violent) opposition to sodomy.
Both left- and right-wing forces in the West, then, are allied against Russia. This is evident in that all media outlets on both sides of the aisle (e.g., Fox and CNN) are anti-Russian (or anti-Putin, more specifically). At the end of the preface, GG makes a very startling (from an academic Western) and wise pronouncement: whatever Russia’s future may be, it will not be Western and cannot ever be (xiv). This is probably the wisest and most intelligent remark made by an academician about Russia–it also cuts against the grain of both neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism).
GG gives a brief but very well-written account of the nature and history of the ROC. One is surprised at how accurate and almost sympathetic their reading of Orthodoxy is. The authors give considerable detail to the nature of Orthodox liturgy and more particularly, the place of “liturgical time.” This is important for the next Chapter.