Judaism and Russian Orthodoxy: A Russian cleric’s turn of phrase evokes some dark memories

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THIS has been a roller-coaster week in relations between Judaism and Russian Orthodoxy. It began when one of the nation’s best-known clerics, a person thought to be personally near President Vladimir Putin, dropped a verbal bombshell whereas making an announcement in regards to the hitherto mysterious workings of a church panel which is tasked with investigating the obvious stays of the final tsar and his household, killed by firing-squad in July 1918.“A large share of the church commission members have no doubt that the murder was ritual,” declared Bishop Tikhon Shevkunov, who’s chairman of the panel and abbot of a widely known monastery in central Moscow. Having studied at movie faculty and penned a best-selling work on monastic life within the Soviet Union, the bishop is taken into account a talented communicator and his public phrases are mulled fastidiously. At a time of mounting stress over the boundaries of cultural freedom in Russia, Bishop Tikhon can also be perceived as an influential pressure on the conservative aspect.   Although he made no reference to Judaism, any historically-conscious Russian would immediately hyperlink the expression “ritual murder” with some of the darkest …

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