A great black and white flick THE BISHOP or call it THE POPE OF RUSSIA or THE PATRIARCH  "What did you do in the war, FATHER??" Asking pals to send you wild newstories from Europe really works out. Here's material for an exciting art film with a lot of political history, Smashing WWII millieu, lots of true scoop on RUSSIA, lots of mystery... the KGB, the Russian Church, gulags, the Wehrmacht, collaborating bishops, dissident priests, axe murder, intrigue, kissing butt to power, churches lined with gold and jewels.... beautiful Russian women (Orthodox priests are allowed to marry!!!).So it's juicy.  Yet could be an art film like ITALIAN ART FILM "INVESTIGATION OF A PRIVATE CITIZEN" but check it out at IMDB  START IN PRESENT TIME with DEATH OF the CURRENT PATRIARCH and impending CORONATION of a new one, but the choice is...almost comedic. Both guys are ex KGB! FLASH BACKS TO B&W FILM for the flash backs. This was FOUND in today's HEADLINES:  From a Finnish newspaper: "A drama will be played out today [Sunday}in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior which can be compared only with the coronation of a Tsar. Kirill, the new Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, will ascend his throne, and he will be presented with the symbols of his power: a staff, a green robe, and a white hat. But what kind of a man is the 62-year-old Kirill? And what kind of a church is he going to lead? The Russian church is the world’ largest Orthodox church. As many as 100 million people in Russia have beenbaptized as its members. TWO CHOICES, TO BE THE POPE OF RUSSIA, BOTH EX KGB. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5594067.ece  Throughout its history, the church has had difficult relations with the state. After the revolution in 1917, it almost ceased to exist. Tens of thousands of priests perished in prison camps. The church was recreated in 1943, as the Wehrmacht was charging towards Moscow. It was needed for propaganda purposes, and collections taken during services were used to finance an entire armored division. However, the price of freedom to exist was high: the church was subjected to the close scrutiny of the KGB. “When I studied for the priesthood in the 1960s, the KGB recruited third-year students. Later they got involved when students were accepted”, says Gleb Yakunin, a Russian dissident priest. In his view, collaboration with the KGB was an absolute requirement for being appointed bishop in the Soviet Union. Security service documents used code names for the bishops. It is believed that the code name for Patriarch Alexy II, who died in December, was “Agent Drozdovik”. Kirill, the new Patriarch, is said to have been “Agent Mikhailov”.

In their defense, it must be said that the bishops could not have acted differently under the prevailing circumstances. SO THIS IS AN EXPOSE like COSTA GAVRAS did with JESSICA LANGE in that flick on a Concentration camp guard becoming a rich, american citizen, grandpa, THE MUSIC BOX. RENT
IT. But it is very strange that the Russian church has not been able to deal with its past after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In the early 1990s, the church set up a committee to investigate the links between the church and the KGB, but its activities slowly evaporated.  The popular reform-minded theologian, Aleksandr Men, was killed by an axe-wielding assailant, reminiscent of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

This movie would be a great chance to air the crimes of the KGB. Or GRU or some early genocidal Stalinist group. Starts with the LOOMING choice between two CURATES. Current time. Kirill and another curate. Panic in the KGB, among the seniors maybe. As it's secrets from way back. A HIT an assasination has to be created so get KIRILL out of the running Our HERO is an insider doomed to be part of the hit team who wants to prevent it.  There is a lot of black and white back story, so we see what KIRILL really is. A COLLABORATOR but heroic all the same. Not a bad sort. He had to do what he did as hey it was Stalin, it was Russia.

And then at the end our HERO stops the assasination which probably the KGB was doing....as KIRILL was way way a free thinker. I don't know the issues but i suggest the 'hit' as adrenalin for what otherwise is a film like THE MUSIC BOX without the court scenes. THE P OPE MOVIE, with ANTHONY QUINN, the  SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN. See that one too.  From a Morris West novel.  http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E07EEDF1230E034BC4D52DFB7678383679EDE

There appears to be great secrecy, compartimentalization with KGB AND ANY OTHER GROUP WITH ANY OTHER LOYALTIES as articles goes on to state "Gleb Yakunin, who had gone through the KGB archives, was removed from the priesthood. The church chose conservatism. It has been criticized as a closed corporation, a “spiritual Gazprom”, with close ties to those in power. “The state protects the church, and the church sanctifies the state. The autonomy of the church is as scant as it was during the time of the tsars”, says Finnish theologian, Dr. Arto Luukkanen, an expert in Soviet and Russian ecclesiastical history.

So what about Metropolitan Kirill? (that's not his first name, it's a title in RUSSIA!) What direction will he take the church? The son of a priest from Leningrad, he seems to be something of a chameleon. He has traveled widely as chairman of the external relations department and is familiar with ecumenical thinking. He is expected to improve relations with the Vatican. “Kirill annoyed the Kremlin by writing in the social concept of the church that civil disobedience can be a virtue if Christian ethics and political power are at odds with each other”, observed Jyrki Härkönen, Theological Secretary of the Finnish Orthodox Church. On the other hand, many of Kirill’s statements have been arch-conservative. He has said that nuclear weapons have a central role in Russian society. Human rights are a threat to religious tradition. Improving the rights of homosexuals would gradually lead to the
acceptance of pedophilia. Kirill has also been involved in the writing of the “Russian Doctrine” in which he visualizes Russia as an Orthodox state.

Both Kirill's admirers and opponents agree that he will be a strong
patriarch. “He is a person whom everyone fears. He will be the Tsar of
the church”, says Gleb Yakunin. Before Kirill was elected, he had to
please everybody. Now he will reveal his true nature. A sermon he gave
last week was somewhat enigmatic. He referred to St. Phillip who lived
in the 16th century and who dared oppose Ivan the Terrible. “What does
the example of Phillip teach us? The Church must speak to everyone - to
those in power, to the armed forces and to the media - about the truth
of God.” Ivan the Terrible had Phillip imprisoned and put to death.

Complementary info at:

January 28, 2009
Russian Orthodox Church Elects Outspoken Patriarch

MOSCOW — The Russian Orthodox Church elected an outspoken new leader on
Tuesday to succeed Patriarch Aleksy II, who led
the church for nearly two decades in the post-Soviet era.

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, who became interim
patriarch after Aleksy died last month, was overwhelmingly
elected and will be enthroned Sunday as the 16th patriarch of the world’s
largest Orthodox church. His election was the first of a
patriarch since the fall of the Soviet Union, which followed 70 years of
state-imposed atheism.

A critic of declining moral values, Metropolitan Kirill has been involved
in the ecumenical movement and has called for the Russian
Orthodox Church to step up its outreach to secular society. He has also
spoken in tough terms about threats to church unity,
especially in Ukraine, where the Orthodox church has broken into rival
groups since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“With humility and a full understanding of the responsibility before me I
accept God’s lot,” he said after the decision was
announced live on national television. Bells rang at the Cathedral of
Christ the Savior, Moscow’s grandest cathedral and a symbol
of the church’s revival in post-Soviet Russia, and cameras panned across
hierarchs in robes.

The race for the patriarchal throne has played out almost like a
contemporary political campaign, with passionate debates on Web
sites and in blogs, and with tabloids and even some glossy celebrity
magazines following the candidates as though they were
movie stars.

Analysts had speculated that Metropolitan Kirill’s main opponent,
Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, the Moscow
Patriarchate’s property manager, was favored by the Kremlin. They also
noted that the list of lay delegates included bureaucrats
and businessmen close to power, as well as a circus director from the
southern city of Astrakhan.

A Web site for religious news, portal-Credo.ru, that has been critical of
Metropolitan Kirill and the Moscow Patriarchate was
knocked out by hackers, while his supporters praised him as an effective
crisis manager who would guide the church through the
difficult times it will be facing with the rest of Russia.
Magazines like Star Hit, whose usual fare tends toward sex and celebrities,
joined the debate, praising Metropolitan Kirill for his
oratory skills and describing him as glamorous.

Accusations of corruption also appeared in the news media. For years,
allegations, which have never been proved, linked him with
a scheme to profit from church tax breaks on duties for imported alcohol
and tobacco in the 1990s.

But last week, as the selection process narrowed, Aleksandr Pochinok, a
former tax minister, announced that Metropolitan Kirill
had nothing to do with those deals, and the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda
contended that the blame for the machinations
rested with Metropolitan Kliment.

In December, a conservative Orthodox Web site, Pravaya.ru, published an
open letter taking Metropolitan Kirill to task for ties to
the Roman Catholic Church. As chairman of the Department of External Church
Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, he has
been involved in the ecumenical movement, which promotes relations with
other churches.

Finally, on Tuesday, the more than 700 delegates at the Cathedral of Christ
the Savior had to choose from a shortlist of three
candidates chosen by the Archbishops’ Council on Sunday. One of the three,
Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk, credited with reviving
the Orthodox church in Belarus and treading a careful path in relations
with the Belarussian president, Aleksandr Lukashenko,
withdrew his name shortly before the vote on Tuesday.

Outside the cathedral, members of the Orthodox corps of Nashi, a
pro-Kremlin youth movement, held banners in support of church
unity. “The Holy Spirit will point out the worthy one,” read one.
For the first time, the delegates included members of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside of Russia, an émigré group based in
Manhattan that split after the Bolshevik Revolution and reunited with
Moscow in 2007.

President Dmitri A. Medvedev sent a greeting, which was read out by his
chief of staff, Sergei Naryshkin: “I am confident that the
decision of the council will encourage fruitful cooperation between the
Russian Orthodox Church and the state, the preservation of
interfaith harmony in Russia, and the ideals of goodness, peace and

Metropolitan Kirill, 62, was born Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev in
Leningrad to a clerical family. His father and grandfather
served time in Soviet prison camps and later became priests.

Kirill was made archbishop of Smolensk in 1984 and metropolitan of Smolensk
and Kaliningrad in 1991. In the 1990s, he and
Patriarch Aleksy were accused by some critics of having served the K.G.B.

As chairman of the external relations department, he oversaw the drafting
of the “social concept” of the Russian Orthodox
Church, presented in 2000. It addresses church positions on social issues,
including abortion, globalization and poverty. One of its
most cited points allows for civil disobedience if the government violates
Christian commandments.

In a newspaper interview in 1991, Metropolitan Kirill spoke of the
influence on him of Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and
Novgorod, an ecumenist and theologian of the 1960s and ’70s.

“Maybe if not for the meeting with him, I would have become one of the
classic dissidents,” Metropolitan Kirill said. “But
Metropolitan Nikodim, fully sharing the convictions of my family, told me:
‘The church must speak with the surrounding world,
including the authorities. The one who is internally spiritually stronger
triumphs in this dialogue.’ ”