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  • 12/3/2011

Father Viacheslav from Church to Islam

viacheslav polosin

Viacheslav Polosin, a former priest of the Russian Orthodox Church and chairperson of the Committee of the Supreme Soviet on Freedom of Conscience, recently announced his conversion from Orthodoxy to Islam. This unprecedented event of the adoption of the religion of the Prophet by a prominent Orthodox clergyman was a surprise for many.

He himself speaks of his own free, spiritual, philosophical choice: “As far as I know, this is the second time in my life when I have officially announced a change in my worldview. From childhood I believed in God, in my spirit.

Later, when I was in the university, I came across Orthodox literature, went to the church, and found there something that I had not seen in philosophy classes. I do not regret that; I learned a lot there. I submitted my documents to the ecclesiastical seminary in 1979 and have now, after twenty years, given an interview to the journal "Musulmane;" these are two stages in the development of my life.”‌

Interview with Musulmane:

"Several years of intense work have brought me to the conclusion that the Quran does not contain an assimilation of the Creator God to his creation, humanity, which is anthropomorphism, the essence of paganism. There is no basis for the ritual practice of appeasing God like some kind of human ruler. . . .

I have decided to bring my social status into conformity with my convictions and to bear public testimony that I consider myself a follower of the great tradition of the correct belief and of the prophets of monotheism, beginning with Abraham, and thus I do not consider myself any longer either a clergyman or a member of any Orthodox church. . . . As regards possible penalties, we all are mortal and all sooner or later will depart from this life, so it is better to depart from it abiding in the Truth and not in spiritual ambivalence or in the delusions of human fantasy.

With regard to the practical difficulties, including the Arabic language, I must place my hopes in help and cooperation from my new brethren. My will fully shares this worldview choice."

How did your clerical path evolve?

Within the church circles of Moscow I was not "my own person." There also were family circumstances which forced me to request ministry in Central Asia. I served briefly in Frunze and somewhat longer in Dushanbe. There I dealt with Islamic culture and the eastern mentality for the first time, which made a deep impression on my soul.

After half a year I was ignominiously deprived of my registration for disobedience to secular authorities, that is, to the commissioner for religious affairs. For three years I was not accepted anywhere and was in complete disgrace. In 1988, when perestroika began, I was offered a half-destroyed church near Obninsk. From there I was elected in 1990 as a member of the soviet of the RSFSR.

The position of the Moscow patriarchate

For the Moscow patriarchate, the announcement by Archpriest Viacheslav Polosin of his conversion to another faith came as a complete surprise.

In the Department of External Church Relations his move is explained as instability of character and convictions and a quick "subsequent change" of religious views is predicted. In the patriarchate there is an inclination to let the matter drop, relying on the decision of Fr Viacheslav’ s ruling bishop, Archbishop Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk.

What has been the reaction of your new Muslim brethren to your decision?

My interview with the journal Musulmane provoked lively interest, so much so that it was necessary to put out another printing.

What has been the reaction on the part of your leadership in the Duma?

Some naturally will be unhappy, but I don’t care to please everyone. I think that nothing will change in my work in the Duma. I do not intend to criticize Christianity. When I was within Orthodoxy, I criticized it rather harshly. Now I don’t.

Islam, as it is presented in the Qur’an, is the most democratic religion because it contains a prohibition of tyranny. There are no mediators of a priestly caste or anointed monarchs in the Qur’an.

Viacheslav Polosin’s office:

In the State Duma he occupies one office along with Murad Zaprishiev, a former deputy and now an employee of the staff of the Duma Committee for Relations with Public Associations and Religious Organizations. In a prominent place in the office there is the Qur’an and the walls are decorated with Arabic inscriptions. In this office Polosin and his colleague sometimes perform their prayers, for which they use a special rug. At the same time, Viacheslav Sergeevich opposes making a demonstrative profession of Islam in his secular work and especially in governmental service.

Do you have plans to return to a more political life?

For the time being, no. I would prefer to use my profession and knowledge for socially useful activity within the bounds of Islam. I see myself as a public and academic Islamic leader, but not a politician. But what the future will bring, only God knows. In 1990 my election as a deputy also was unexpected.

Information:

Viacheslav Sergeevich Polosin was born in 1956. In 1979 he graduated from the Philosophy Faculty of MGU and in 1984 from the Moscow Ecclesiastical Seminary. He was ordained a priest and served in parishes in the dioceses of Central Asia and Kaluga of RPTs.

In 1990 he was elevated to the rank of archpriest. In the same year he was elected a people’ s deputy of RSFSR from Kaluga region and headed the committee of the Supreme Soviet on freedom of conscience. While working in the Supreme Soviet, he graduated from the diplomatic academy of the ministry of foreign affairs and defended his dissertation on the subject: "The Russian Orthodox church and the state in USSR, 1971-1991."

From 1993 he has been an employee of the staff of the State Duma on relations with public associations and religious organizations. He was a member of the Russian Christian Democratic Movement and a member of the Council of Christian Organizations. In 1991 he went on leave from the Kaluga diocese and since 1995 he has not officiated in liturgies.

In his interview with the Musulmane journal, he officially called himself a Muslim: "I consider that the Qur’an is the final Revelation on earth, sent down to the Prophet Muhammad. There is no god but the One God, Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger."

Viacheslav Polosin is the author of many scholarly works on historical, political, religious, and philosophical subjects. In February of this year he defended another dissertation on the subject: "The dialectics of myth and political myth-making." His basic philosophical ideas are presented in his book "Myth, Religion, and the State" (Moscow, 1999).

Source: imamreza.net


Other links:

Eduardo Agnelli, The Martyr of his Belief

Islam could Attract Lauren Booth too

How I Came to Islam (Part 1)

How I Came to Islam (Part 2)

How I Came to Islam (Part 3)

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