The Russian Orthodox Church

It is a spiritual force. In the critical moments of Russian history it played an important role. When the Great Russian War began after the treacherous Nazi attack, Stalin turned to it in support of the workers and peasants that the October Revolution made owners of the factories and the land.

When the USSR disintegrated, imperialism did not have an ally in that Church. For that reason, when His Eminence Vladimir Mijailovich Gundiav, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, visited our country in 2004, I proposed to him to build a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church as a monument to Cuban-Russian friendship. City Historian Eusebio Leal assumed responsibility for the completion of the task. Soil from the place where the remains of Soviet soldiers who died in our country during many years of lending their services here. For that reason, when the Cathedral was inaugurated last Sunday, I felt a desire to talk with the esteemed figure from the Russian Orthodox Church who was visiting us.

Tomorrow, Thursday, he will be in Venezuela conversing with President Chávez. Both are inspired by the same ethical principles emanating from Christ’s preaching according to the Evangelists, a religious belief that the two share. Then he is to visit Ecuador to talk with Correa, a political leader educated in Liberation Theology.

His Eminence is not an enemy of socialism, nor does he condemn to eternal fire those of us who based ourselves on Marxism-Leninism to fight for a just world. When he talks in the UN Human Rights Council or other institutions, he is listened to with much respect. In his immense country, he talks regularly on television, for 15 minutes every Saturday, and is followed with interest by tens of millions of people.

Our capital is enriched with a temple worthy of the prestigious Russian Orthodox Church, which is unimpeachable evidence of the respect of our Revolution for one of the fundamental principles of human rights, in consonance with a profound and radical socialist revolution.

There is no reason whatsoever to make the slightest concession to Yankee imperialism. I have the impression that His Eminence thinks that way. He is not anti-Muslim, he respects that religion. Within his ecumenical conception, he believes that the Catholic Church can solve his problems with countries such as China and Vietnam.

It was most agreeable and edifying talking with him.

Fidel Castro Ruz
October 21, 2008
7:40 p.m.