Kirill’s “appearance” in Switzerland confirms the long-known connection of the Moscow Patriarchate with the KGB

The Swiss security services became interested in Kirill after he became the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate in the World Council of Churches (WCC) in the early seventies and spent several years in Geneva.

The newspapers “Sonntagszeitung” and “Le Matin Dimanche” refer to the information found in the archives that the current leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has aroused the increased interest of the security structures, and soon it became known to the relevant Swiss services that he is engaged in collecting information both for the KGB and also on behalf of this Soviet service, the WCC is trying to reduce the influence of Americans and other Western countries, and the organization to stop criticizing the Soviet state for restricting religious freedoms. According to Swiss newspapers, Kirill (his real name is Vladimir Gundyaev) was known in KGB circles at the time as an agent with the nickname Mikhailov.

ABC points out that similar statements, albeit only at the level of conjecture, had previously been made by historian and human rights activist Felix Corley. He explained that since the thirties of the last century, the Russian Orthodox Church began to cooperate closely with the Soviet state security services. This was the price the church had to pay for the state’s repressive structures to stop persecuting the clergy and believers and to leave to the church those properties that had not been confiscated by that time. In 1999, it became known that Kirill’s predecessor as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexius II, was also an agent of the KGB.

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The godson of the current patriarch, Mikhail Gundyaev, currently holds the same position of representative in Geneva that his uncle held 50 years ago. In a conversation with “Sonntagzeitung”, he claimed that his uncle was never a state employee or an agent of the KGB, but at that time the situation was such that all clergy who held more or less high positions in the church hierarchy had to put up with strict KGB control. The Moscow Patriarchate refrained from commenting on Kirill’s cooperation with the KGB.

It should be recalled that Kirill, who became the patriarch in 2009, was born and raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) – the same city where Putin and a large number of other high-ranking officials come from, who demonstrate strong loyalty to the dictator. It is not known whether their paths crossed already in Leningrad, but it is clear that Kirill was included in this circle of henchmen even before he became the patriarch. At the time, he headed the international relations department of the church synod, which Putin regularly used as a tool to achieve his foreign policy goals. Later, in an interview, Kirill called Putin’s rise to power a divine miracle that will save Russia.

Although Kirill was once considered a representative of the so-called western wing in the church (in other words, a relative liberal) and promised that he would not allow the church to merge with the state apparatus and get involved in political games, in fact the opposite has happened. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the Russian Orthodox Church has become one of the Kremlin’s propaganda tools, but Kirill himself uncritically supported the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24 last year. Although the patriarch often emphasizes that he wants world peace, his actions do not match his works. “” recently reported that, by order of Kirill, a pastor was excluded from the ranks of the clergy, who, contrary to the patriarch’s wishes, prayed not for “victory in the special military operation”, but for peace.

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On September 29, 2000, the newspaper “Latvijas Vēstnesis” published the following about the Moscow Patriarchate and the KGB: “1994. Russia removed its occupation troops and tanks from Estonia, but Russia did not remove its KGB archives. And KGB documents that have already been published reveal that the current head of the Russian Orthodox Church, the 70-year-old Patriarch of All Russia and Moscow, Alexy II, “has been a KGB agent for many years and was even awarded the Badge of Honor.” The report comes from the Keston Institute, an Anglican religious organization based in Oxford, England. The report was published by the “Irish Daily” on September 23. One of the reasons why the report was published was the steadfast opposition of Patriarch Alexy II to the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Russian Federation. This position of the Patriarch was also supported by Russian President Putin. Since the split of the great church in 1054 in the eastern and western wings, no pope has been in Moscow. KGB documents describe Patriarch Alexy’s actions against the Orthodox clergy and believers. His KGB nickname was “Agent Drozdovs”. According to the archives, he was recruited by the Estonian KGB on February 28, 1958, when he was known as Father Alexius Ridiger. Born in pre-World War II independent Estonia, Patriarch Alexius is an ethnic Russian. He served as a pastor until he was sent to Moscow during the Gorbachev era. Patriarch Alexey is a staunch supporter of Putin, who himself was an employee of the KGB for 15 years. The churchman publicly defended Putin’s war in Chechnya, as well as his much-criticized behavior during the Kursk submarine tragedy. Although church spokesmen previously denied the fact, Father Vsevolod Chaplin of the Keston Institute, whose religious views were once suppressed by the Communists, said that all the evidence about Patriarch Alexy was available in the KGB archives. His conclusion: “Drozdov” and Patriarch Alexy are the same person.

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