Moscow, March 14, 2017
The head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk has lent his support to removing the names of odious Soviet leaders from streets, squares, cities, and so on, although, in his opinion, authorities should not be in a rush in the matter, reports Interfax-Religion.
“Renamings should be arranged by the people, but the Church is not indifferent to this issue, because we are talking about our national symbols. The names of terrorists, revolutionaries, murderers, and executioners are names that have gone down in history with a minus sign. I hope that sooner or later we will all understand. There is still some division on this matter, as in the matter of removing the body [of Lenin—O.C.] from the mausoleum,” the hierarch stated on the “The Church and the World” television program.
He believes the renamings will be possible when there is a public consensus, and also that the question of associated costs is exaggerated by opponents of renaming cities and streets, trying to scare people by telling them the costs will come out of their own pockets. “This is, in my view, a demagogic argument,” the hierarch stated.
He admitted that it has been difficult getting used to some metro station names that were recently changed, “But,” he added, “I’m willing to live with it, and to suffer from it so that the names of the executioners and criminals would disappear from our streets, squares, and metro stations.”
The question was raised again recently by an epistle of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia which calls for the removal of Lenin’s body from Red Square and the renaming of public places named for communist tyrants and criminals.