Financial flows in the ROC flow only from the bottom up

Recently I came across interesting information: one of the poor abbess of the monastery of Leningrad region (on the border with Karelia) wrote a petition to his Bishop with a plea not to take away from the monastery metochion in Saint Petersburg, which, according to unofficial information, is going to pick up the Patriarchy. (Compound a rural monastery in a big city is the temple, the proceeds from which go to the monastery and in which they rule the monks/nuns, not the Abbot of this temple “Abbot” is actually the Abbot/abbess of the monastery, and all the priests just to have the function “main on the censer”.)

photo: Alex geldings

The St. Petersburg metochion of this poor monastery is, according to the petition of the abbess, not just important, it is a means of survival, bringing 80% of revenue. Without it, the monastery will be forced to fight to stay warm in the winter without heating. The monastery is in a remote location and pilgrims every day the shaft is not knocked — in General, rescue-help, don’t take a piece of bread and bundles of firewood.

And this petition would not be surprising if it did not become public knowledge: sisters even dare to address the public, naively hoping that the public will help them to save compound. Although anyone even slightly familiar with the orders in the ROC, he knows that “the removal of dirty linen in public” in a situation of confrontation with the Patriarchate will be construed only in the negative to those who dared to rely on freedom of speech. Probably soon superior in any way get to the nuts for a “rebellion” against the authorities for “disobedience and namerenie”.

In 2008 was released the book “the third Cry of birds” N. of a certain Nun As it turned out, the author is a Baryatinsky abbess of the convent in Kaluga diocese feofila (Lepeshinskaya). At the time this book quite boldly telling about the inner life of Russian monasteries (and indeed about monasticism in General), was a revelation. For example, there were these lines:

“There are already outrageously wealthy, for various reasons, monasteries, but flatly not accepted to share with the poor, rural, labor abodes; I ask the world, maybe even bandits, but in a head will not come to appeal to the brothers, why not give: “crazy!” — said one Archimandrite of the petitioner-abbess; and denied with the motivation: “We at the fraternal meeting made the decision nobody to help.”

This is the essence of internal relations of the Russian Orthodox Church in recent decades. People do not know the specifics (Yes, even many members), quite sincerely believe these things, hearing about where priests or monks, employees of parishes, Sunday schools, seminaries, etc., can only bitter smile.

For example, some strongly believe that the salaries of priests paid by the state (as in Greece), or, at least, the Patriarchate (diocese). And the temples, all the polls are based or the same state, or sponsors, or again by the Patriarchate/diocese. And very surprised to learn that usually it is not so.

How is the financial life of the Russian Orthodox Church (in the simplified, averaged version — do not take the situation of megaprojects type cathedrals or the restoration of ancient monasteries, under the “UNESCO heritage”)? It is very simple: one-way pipe from the bottom up, with rare exceptions.

Every parish in the diocese pays a tax called “diocesan contribution”. About taxation in different dioceses there are variations. For example, the parish may be obliged to pay 10% of their income to the diocese. Or 20. Or more (not once heard that in some dioceses the bishops are so steep that take up 70-75% of the income of the temple).

It happens that the parish pays a certain amount regardless of income, sometimes the amount is too high for the poor rural parish (but no one is upstairs don’t care). Or coming are the amounts for certain needs in addition to Avanos: the Seminary, the construction of the Cathedral, on the contents of the hierarchal scrap — subdeacon and deacon.

In addition, every parish is obliged to purchase a fixed amount of products for your household items (candles, lamp oil, wine, plate, icons, books) on the diocesan warehouse at the price that is assigned at the warehouse (cheating, there are 25% and 50% — as many as you want Bishop). If 15 years ago it was easier and parishes could contrive to buy the goods somewhere on the side cheaper, in recent years strictly required to purchase only products Church factory Sofrino (which is often low quality but high prices). This happens because each diocese, in turn, redeem sofrinsky consumer goods, providing one of the most important items of income of the Patriarchy.

Of course, each diocese also pays its financial contribution “clean” in Moscow.

But parish expenses don’t end there. For example, during the reign of Patriarch Kirill has been the reform of the disaggregation of dioceses (ostensibly to ensure that bishops are “closer to the people”). If the diocese the size coincides geographically with the area, now each region has two to four mini-dioceses. Accordingly, the bishops became at the same amount more. And each of them the same appetites as the Bishop of the whole area — everyone needs a residence, a car of high class, expensive clothing, personal utensils, covered with gold and precious stones, personal attendants. To pay for all this forced those parishes, that’s just them in a new, smaller diocese was two to four times less, and therefore, the diocesan tax on their shoulders increased in the same amount of time, if not more.

But these bishops still come to serve in the parishes. If the Bishop of the regional diocese were able to attend a distant village parish (parishes in the diocese could be two hundred, three hundred, or more) times a year or five, but now they began to come to the parishes Aki baskaks (tax collectors of the Golden Horde) — several times a year. So it was necessary to meet, to arrange a sumptuous lunch, pay for a chorus and “the Bishop’s bastard” (in the words of N. Leskov), the proto — deacon and subdeacon, and, of course, handing the envelope “in gratitude for service”. This envelope would be the amount from five to ten (bottom bracket) to… well, hard to say, but with a large temple can be, probably, and a hundred thousand rubles, and more.

And those services, “a pastoral visit”, the Bishop may ride two or three times a week. Now count the amount of wrappers, which he puts in his pocket. Plus Bishop is a higher salary (a minimum of one hundred thousand rubles and above). Plus in his hands all the money of the diocese, and no one will ever ask him of the report for their use (if only in time was calculated with the Patriarchy). Plus — a few times a year, the parishes collect money for a gift vladychenko — Christmas and Easter, name day and birthday (not to be confused — they are different days) to the day of his consecration (to ordain a Bishop). All receipts are thrown off, totaling at least several hundred thousand and sometimes millions. Five times a year.

But back to the money is not returned almost never. No, it happens when the Abbot comes to the Bishop and asks for money to help in the construction of the temple, and, sometimes, some bishops even give. But then the money usually ought to be returned in the form of increased diocesan tax.

So, subtract all the expenses ordinary parish from diocesan contributions to the reception of the Bishop, subtract utilities, the salary of the priest, choir and workers of the temple, subtract the amount required for regular repair and maintenance of the temple, and you will understand that the Abbot of the average city parish — is often a person with low income, and the rector of the rural Church or an ordinary priest of the city temple, with a low level of income.

Of course, if it’s an honest priest, who does not confuse his pocket with the parish.

And this situation in the ROC is everywhere: the upper classes live in luxury, the lower classes in poverty. Between them there is a thin layer of the middle. But the principle remains: to help the poor and weak parishes and monasteries is not accepted. Only the poor among themselves sometimes interact and share what they can.

Therefore, the life of Church mice so miserable — because some cats snickering.

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