How does the Russian Church Abroad view the renaming of the city of Volgograd to Stalingrad?
Protopriest Victor Potapov, Rector of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, former Religion Editor at Voice of America, Dean of the Southern Deanery of the Eastern American Diocese of ROCOR, comments:
"When I heard about this, I was astonished at these people who so easily forget the horrors that Stalin inflicted in the 1920-30's, the persecution he wrought against the Church. I can only imagine what worldwide outrage would be caused, especially on the part of the Russian people, if Germany, during the few days of celebrating an historic holiday, renamed the native city of Hitler to, say, Hitlerstadt. Stalin was an executioner, one of the main executioners of the 20th century. I simply cannot fathom such tender sentiments for this... this butcher! For me, a believer, this is simply incomprehensible.
I don't understand what pride for the podvig , the spiritual triumph, of the Russian people in the Battle of Stalingrad has to do with the renaming of a city. The two things are incompatible, and anyway, the city was called Tsaritsyn before Stalin's time. It was renamed in honor of Stalin because the Communists were sucking up to him. The heroic podvig of the warriors who defeated the fascists cannot be excised, of course. And the name Volgograd takes nothing away from this great achievement. I view this renaming very negatively. I can positively state that every believer and every clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia feels the same way.