Religious Monument Prompts
Red Square Row

Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1913.

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Lobby groups are drawing battle lines over a new memorial on Red Square, as religious groups push to immortalise an obscure religious figure on Russia’s most famous public space.

Many Russians will scratch their heads and politely enquire who you are referring to when asked who Patriarch Hermogenes was, but this is not stopping National Cathedral and The Women’s Orthodox Society from campaigning for space to be made for him in front of the Kremlin.

Russia’s Time of Troubles came to an end almost 400 years ago and as the anniversary approaches some of Russia’s faithful believe that the Patriarch who played an arguably useful role in bringing the torrid period to an end should make a comeback.

He is slightly more well known for the forced conversions of Tatar-Bulgars from Islam to Christianity. His methods of persuasion included death threats.

Come back

“Our historical forgetfulness is especially immoral when compared to the PR achievements of Europeans,” Politician Alexander Medinsky told journalists, gzt.ru reported.

Russia has many monuments to destroyers but important builders of the nation have been consigned to oblivion, Elena Zielinska, Media Union vice-president said.

Russia’s liberation from Polish-Lithuanian occupiers was an important event and Hermogenes played a role in this, said Medinsky.

Religious domination

But not everyone is convinced. “Hermogenes was a controversial figure in history. What is he primarily remembered for? That he forcibly drove the Volga peoples to Christiantiy, there were even cases of dissenters being executed,” architect Peter Vois told gzt.ru.

Red Square is a secular place of holiday and folk heroes should decorate it. “The Russia Orthodox Church already has enough places where they worship their saints,” he said.

A stepping stone to a dynasty

Hermogenes was the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias from 1606. He inspired the popular uprising which put an end to the Time of Troubles, which effectively came to an end with the founding of the Romanov dynasty in 1613. Exactly 300 years later he was glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Plans were then mooted to build a memorial to him, but these were curtailed by the First World War and October Revolution.

Sources: The Moscow News
30 March, 2011