Sometimes, I just forget that we aren’t all tapped into the Akashic record, downloading information to our brain as needed. As I continue to write The Dysfunctional Mob, I found something else, I have never addressed in The Dysfunctional Chronicles.
I know I have mentioned that Dedka Leon (Дедка is the diminutive form of grandfather in Russian) is an Orthodox priest, but that doesn’t mean much to most people. Possibly because the Soviet Union tried very hard to stamp out Orthodoxy. For those who didn’t spend dozens of hours listening to professors discuss Russian and Soviet History, let me try to explain a bit.
The biggest complaint the Soviets had about the Russian Orthodox Church was it supported the monarchy. It was also anti-death, which turned out to be a huge problem for Stalin. Worse though, not every country annexed by the Soviet Union practiced Russian Orthodoxy. This meant that it wasn’t a unifying feature within the Soviet Union. The solution was to ban Russian Orthodoxy and like most of the world in the days before 1945, Russians were pretty antisemitic, particularly Stalin. Banning Russian Orthodoxy was difficult and most followers just went underground to practice the religion. So the Soviet Union made all religious practices illegal. Lenin actually believed that the Russian Orthodox Church could be helpful to the Bolshevik cause. However, Lenin died and he was not replaced by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky and Lenin were in agreement on a number of things, including the importance of the Russian Orthodox Church in helping to unify Russians behind the Bolshevik cause.
Stalin did not share much in common with Lenin, but he had hair*, so he was made Chairman of the Commissars of the Soviet Union after a power struggle with Trotsky and a few other Old Bolsheviks. Stalin had no use for the Russian Orthodox Church or their thoughts on the Bolshevik cause or the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church had a tendency to breed dissidents. Stalin actually made religion illegal and to celebrate, he began sending Russian Orthodox Priests to the gulags where most died. This just made practicing Russian Orthodoxy more dangerous and underground Russian Orthodox Church groups actually reached new highs under Stalin.
Oh, what was the point? So coming back to the hair comment at the end though. Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Ah yes.
For the most part, Orthodoxy isn’t all that different than main stream Catholicism (not Roman Catholicism which is different than mainstream Catholicism and all Eastern Orthodox religions like Russian Orthodoxy), except that Russian Orthodoxy does not answer to the Pope and they reject the Filioque, which has something to do with the Holy Trinity (The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost, they reject or do not include The Son, because the Son is Jesus Christ who is not God). It all makes terribly logical sense while sitting in a lecture hall listening to it…
Both Orthodox Priests and Catholic priests are allowed to be married, but there is a caveat… They cannot be married after they enter the priesthood. Catholicism is a little more persnickety about it than Orthodoxy. Also since Russian Orthodoxy was ferreted out quite severely in Russia, it was not all that uncommon for Orthodox Priests to get married during the years of the Soviet Union. It was actually a good way for them to hide that they were a priest, since the priesthood was a part time gig that didn’t pay and couldn’t exactly be used as a status symbol. This explains why Russian Orthodoxy is less particular about the whole “must be married before entering the priesthood” if you intend to be a married priest. The other big difference is children in Russian Orthodoxy. Russian Orthodoxy does not condemn birth control like Catholicism and they do not promote breeding the way the Catholicism does. What hasn’t been discussed is that Dedka Leon was a practicing Orthodox Priest before he came to the US, but he was an underground practicing Orthodox priest, being married was practically a requirement. Once his wife passed away, he became a full time Orthodox Priest in the US.
*Russians associate hair with power and no one is quite sure why. Some have even argued that Vladimir Putin was elected more because he had hair than because anyone thought he would be good at the job. In all of the elections for office, even minor, office, that Putin has won, his opponent has been bald. This has given rise to the theory that if Putin’s next opponent has hair, he’ll probably lose his position, which would be interesting to see. I guess that would prove that hair is more important than we realize, maybe, at least in Russia.