Russian deacon calls for proselytizing Jews


A leading Russian Orthodox scholar has called for a more fervent effort to convert Russian-speaking Jews in Israel.

Deacon Andrei Kuraev, a professor at the Moscow Spiritual Academy, said the Orthodox Christian Church based in Moscow should begin to proselytize actively among Israel’s 3 million Russian-speaking Jews.

“We have a unique opportunity here for the growth of Orthodoxy in general because hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews have moved to the area,” Kuraev told the Interfax news service.

In his comments, Kuraev said that the middle-class intelligentsia that makes up a large part of Russian immigrants to Israel “shows a huge interest in Christianity.” He doubted that the local Greek Orthodox leaders had the resources or knowledge to reach Russian-speaking Jews.

The Russian Orthodox Church, the dominant religious force in Russia, in recent years consolidated with the Russian Orthodox Church abroad to create a global unified church.

“This is a unique missionary opportunity,” Kuraev said. “Through Jews who were raised on European and Russian classics, we could carry the light of the Gospel to all Israel.”

Recommended from JTA