Title: "Russian Orthodoxy has also been Belgian for a century and a half"
The Russian Orthodox Church’s 150th anniversary in Belgium was featured today in one of Belgium’s two serious French-speaking newspapers, in an article by Christian Laporte, the country’s one serious reporter on religious topics. The article, is well-written, prominently placed and, pleasantly, contains no mistakes of fact. I have already been sent to the newsagent to buy additional copies. The Archbishop will, I know, be happy.
Should I too be happy? Yes and no. My concern is the register of the article: historical, i.e. backward rather than forward-looking, with no pretence of analysis. It is basically light, entertaining reading. While there is nothing wrong in this genre per se, too much of it can surreptitiously downgrade us to a tourist curiosity, with mainly entertainment value (like the matrioushka in the article's heading). Not, in any case, a potentially serious component of the Christian scene in this country.
Christian yes, Russian Orthodox yes, matrioushka no.