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Russian theologian, known church critic Andrei Kuraev leaves Russia for Czechia

by Martin Fornusek October 16, 2023 10:51 PM 1 min read
Russian missionary, theologian, and Protodeacon Andrei Kuraev at Moscow House of Books in Moscow, Russia, on June 13, 2017. (Mark Nakoykher/Wikimedia Commons)
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Russian missionary and theologian Andrei Kuraev, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin-linked Russian Orthodox Church, announced on Oct. 16 that he had relocated from Russia to Czechia's capital, Prague.

Kuraev wrote on his Telegram channel that his "Moscow world was destroyed" as it is becoming increasingly difficult to "write, speak, and lecture" in Russia, while in Europe, his public events and lectures are still possible.

He said that he chose Prague because of memories of a "happy childhood" and personal ties in the Czech capital.

"This is labor migration. I hope it's seasonal," he added.

Kuraev is a prominent religious figure in Russia, known for his disputes with the Russian Orthodox Church's hierarchy. He has also criticized the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014 and the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, for which he received a fine for "discrediting the Russian army."

In response to his critical statements toward the church, Protodeacon Kuraev was stripped of his clerical rank in 2020.

The theologian also sparked controversy in 2013 by alleging the existence of a "gay lobby" inside the Russian Orthodox Church, for which he lost his teaching position at the Moscow Theological Academy.

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