• Sergei Chapnin

    Director of Communications at the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University and chief editor of The Gifts (Дары), an almanac on contemporary Christian culture

    Sergei Chapnin is a former Moscow Patriarchate employee with over 15 years of experience. He has deep knowledge of Russian Orthodox traditions, Church administration, and Church-state relations in modern Russia.
    Born in 1968, he graduated from Moscow State University, Journalism faculty in 1992. In the 1990s, he worked for the leading independent newspapers in Moscow – Kommersant and Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He became one of the first journalists in Russia to cover religious life in the post-Soviet space professionally. In 2001, at the invitation of Patriarch Alexey II, Mr. Chapnin was appointed Executive Editor of the Church Herald newspaper. Later, he was the Executive Editor of the leading official publication of the Russian Orthodox Church - The Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Deputy Chief Editor of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing House (2009-2015). In 2010-2013, he was a Secretary of the Church, State, and Society Commission of the Inter-Conciliar Board of the Russian Orthodox Church and a senior lecturer at Saint Tikhon Orthodox Humanitarian University, Faculty of Theology.
    To describe the religiosity of contemporary Russian society, he introduced the concept of post-Soviet civil religion. In December 2015, after his lecture at Carnegie Center in Moscow (where he made a prognosis that a war in Ukraine would be given a religious justification), he was fired from all his positions personally by Patriarch Kirill.
    Since 2022, he has been a Director of Communications at the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University and Chief Editor of «Дары» (The Gifts), an almanac of contemporary Christian culture, and a curator of exhibitions on contemporary Christian art.
    Mr. Chapnin is the author of numerous articles and commentary in national and international media, including Bloomberg, WSJ, NYT, CBS, NPR, The First Things (USA); BBC, The Economist (UK), Le Monde (France); Wiez, KAI (Poland) and many others.
    He is the author of the books The Church in Post-Soviet Russia. Revival, ‘Quality of Faith’, and Dialog with the Society (2013) and The Church Revival. A Summary (2018), both in Russian.

Latest by author

The Legacy of Alexei Navalny
Public Life

The Legacy of Alexei Navalny

The Russia Question is a web series devoted to all things Russia, hosted by the Russian program director at Fordham University (Lincoln Center), Professor Michael Ossorgin, with generous support from the Orthodox Christian Studies Center. In this episode, Prof. Ossorgin welcomes guests Sr. Vassa Larin and Sergei Chapnin to discuss the legacy of the late...

More posts by the author Next Page »

Public Life, Religion and Conflict, Religion and Politics

The Illusion of Unity: Patriarch Kirill’s Ideological Ultimatum to the Church

As we step into the 21st century, the unthinkable unfolds within the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC): a systematic trend of political repressions. Priests voicing an anti-war stance, not politically but pastorally—liturgically—face bans from ministry or even defrocking, marking a stark departure f... Read more.
Also available in: Русский | Ελληνικά
Inter-Orthodox Relations

Bishops’ Conference – The Major Outcome: Resentment against the Ecumenical Patriarchate

What problems are of concern to Patriarch Kirill and the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church? This question, in particular, is answered by the documents of the Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church, one of the highest authorities of Church governance. However, the difficulty is t... Read more.
Also available in: Ελληνικά | Русский
Church Life and Pastoral Care, Religion and Conflict

An Act of Lighthearted Betrayal

There were relatively few people in Moscow who knew Fr. John Koval before February 2023. Native to Luhansk, Ukraine, he moved to Moscow and graduated from the famous Central Music School of the Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory. He received theological training at St. Thikhon Orthodox University... Read more.
Also available in: Русский | Ελληνικά
Documents, Ethics, Religion and Conflict

Why Have You Forgotten the Truth of God?

  Your Eminences! My letter is addressed to the Orthodox bishops in Russia. I have intentionally not collected signatures or involved any Church structures or public organizations, because I am addressing not the episcopal body, not the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchy, but each of you personal... Read more.
Also available in: Русский | Ελληνικά
Religion and Conflict, Religion and Politics

Kremlin Notes in the Patriarch’s Christmas Appeal

This year, on Christmas Eve, Patriarch Kirill wrote the shortest text in the fourteen years of his patriarchate: the appeal for a Christmas truce. This document might well have become a masterpiece of the anti-war, peacemaking stance of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, it turned out quite diffe... Read more.
Inter-Orthodox Relations

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine: War and “Another Autocephaly”

War changes many things, primarily people’s minds, but also the usual flow of time. What takes years or even decades in peacetime takes a few months, or sometimes even days, during war.  On May 27, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the highest governing body of the church, a... Read more.
Also available in: Русский
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Conflict

Open Appeal of the Priests of the UOC-MP to the Primates of Local Orthodox Churches

After Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the question of the further existence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate became critical. Patriarch Kirill did not condemn the aggression and did not call the aggressor by name. He did not express any condolences ... Read more.
Public Life, Religion and Politics

Russian Orthodox Clergy Support Justice and Respect for the Law

The reform of the judicial system, which practically never acquits and is fully subordinate to law enforcement agencies, has long been discussed in Russia. However, only civil activists are involved in the debates. The government keeps evading any participation in the discussion, and the courts cont... Read more.
Also available in: Ελληνικά | Русский