The most lucrative target for the Devil is, obviously, the Christian Church established by Jesus Christ (although most of the technical details are rightfully credited to Saint Apostle Paul).
There is nothing that the Prince of Darkness wants (even craves) more than taking control over the Church and making it his (and not God’s) weapon in his existential war with the latter. Hence, it is no surprise that the Church has been under a constant attack by the Forces of Darkness (Army of Satan) from Day One of its existence. And still very much is.
Fortunately, Satan failed in this all-important endeavor of his. However, he managed to significantly weaken the Church by splitting it twice. The first split (the so-called “East–West Schism”).
De-facto it happened in the 4th century – almost right after Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, but de-jure it was announced (and accepted… sort of) six centuries later – in 1054.
As I will prove beyond the reasonable doubt in a moment, it was not exactly a schism (which assumes the split of the Church into more or less equally valid and legitimate components).
In reality it was the Eastern heretics (who called themselves “Orthodox” thought they were nothing of the sort) divesting themselves from the genuinely orthodox (i.e. theologically correct and righteous Holy Roman Catholic Church).
They were heretics because for all practical purposes they stopped serving Jesus Christ (as they were supposed to) and started serving the very much earthly (and very much sinful) power of the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire.
To put it bluntly, sold Jesus Christ for Roman imperial pieces of silver (or gold – which does not really matter). Hence the so-called “Orthodox Church” is essentially the Church of Judas, not of Jesus Christ.
This (genuinely Judas-style) betrayal did radically weaken the Eastern Church (which ultimately was protected only by Divine Grace which went down by orders of magnitude). So radically that it was practically annihilated by Muslim invaders (mostly in the 7th and 8th centuries, although Constantinople – now Istanbul – fell only in 1453).
However, before it was wiped out by the Army of Satan, the Eastern “Orthodox” Churched managed to do Satan some serious service. First, by arranging for a conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy (“pravoslaviye”) of the whole Russia.
Although the actual conversion was done by the Russian rulers “by sword and fire” (i.e. by brutal and even deadly force), the Russian “Orthodox” Church (ROC) was established – and for some time even run by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
And second (which was no less important) by creating an ideology that would one day become the Russian Orthodox Messianic Imperialism. Which (after the Orthodox religion was replaced by Marxist quasi-religion) became an immensely powerful drive behind Stalin’s “Drang nach Westen”.
As I have stated earlier, Russia (as the Soviet Russia) became the full-fledged existential threat to the Christian Church, Western Civilization and the whole human civilization in March of 1919, after the establishment of Comintern.
However, the first step in this very much infernal direction was made almost a millennium earlier (as I have already stated, Satan is an immensely patient character).
in 988 AD when the Byzantine (“Eastern”) version of Christianity became the official religion of Russia (then called Kievan Rus’ after its then capital Kiev – now the capital of independent Ukraine).
Russian Christian Church officially called itself Русская Православная Церковь (Russkaya Pravolslavnaya Tzerkov) traditionally translated into English as Russian Orthodox Church (and pravoslaviye – Russian Christianity as “Russian Orthodoxy”).
Unfortunately, this translation is grossly incorrect and fundamentally misleading as (from the religious point of view) Russian version of Christianity is not “orthodox” at all.
In the Christian context, “orthodox” means that the Christian doctrine in question conforms exactly to the fundamentals of Christianity – the New Testament. Which loud and clear, cut and dry, plain and simple states three fundamental commandments that pravoslaviye (Russian Christianity) and thus the Russian Church blatantly violates.
First, Jesus Christ Himself (who is obviously the highest and absolute authority in all things Christian) made Peter the head of the Christian Church:
“You are Peter [which means ‘rock’], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18, NIV
It means (beyond the reasonable doubt) that this commandment means that the Christian Lord and savior Jesus Christ viewed the Christian Church as a centralized system governed by a single individual ultimately responsible for the enforcement of one system of true and correct Christian religious dogmas.
At that time, the Western Civilization (and thus just about all civilized world) was not just governed by the Roman Empire. It was Roman Empire. Consequently, it was obvious that the Christian Church must be governed – from then to the Second Coming – from Rome by a Roman Bishop (“the Pope”). The fact that Saint Apostle Peter became the first Pope (“Roman Pontiff”) of the Christian Church proves it beyond the reasonable doubt.
This commandment of Jesus Christ is, by definition, orthodox; consequently, the Russian Church that adopted and teaches a radically different view of the Christian Church is not orthodox, but outright heretical – cut and dry, loud and clear, plain and simple.
According to Russian pravoslaviye, a Christian Church must be a loose confederation of national churches with no central authority and all fundamental matters of doctrine decided by the global (“ecumenical”) Councils.
As conducting an ecumenical council is all but impossible (the last one took place in 787 AD – almost 1300 years ago), in practice it means that every national Church has its very own doctrine (often sharply different from others).
Unfortunately, this is not the only Scriptural commandment violated by the Russian version of Christianity (and thus by the Russian “Orthodox” Church).
The New Testament explicitly states that there must be no national distinctions between Christians:
“There is neither Jew nor Greek… for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28-29 (ESV)
Which automatically means that any reference to any nation in the official name of a Christian Church (e.g Russian, Greek, Armenian, etc.) is heresy – plain and simple.
It gets worse. Christian Lord and Savior (i.e. the absolute authority on all things religious) stated loud and clear that there should be a clear separation of the Church and the State:
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” – Mark 12:17 (NIV)
Russian pravoslaviye preaches and teaches a radically different relationship between church and state: a so-called “symphonia”. In theory it means that the Christian Church and the Christian State are two inseparable parts of one whole (“two sides of the same coin” even) with the State taking care of earthly things and the Church – of the Heavenly (spiritual) things with neither institution presuming to dominate the other.
Unfortunately, in our highly imperfect and sinful world this principle opens the door for subordination of the Church to the State. For a very simple reason – the State has the guns and the Church does not.
Which, slowly but surely, first in Byzantium and then in Russia led to the violation of the Second Commandment in the Old Testament: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (in other words, you must not worship any gods other than a Christian God).
Explicit identification of the Russian Church with the Russian nation (“Russian people”) and its inevitable subordination to the Russian state very quickly led to a no less inevitable worship (by the Russian Church and its members) of the Russian people (at best) and/or the Russian state – or even its absolute ruler (at worst).
Unfortunately, these were not purely theological issues as their combination (“dark synergy”, actually) gave birth to a monster that ultimately made Russia (in its Soviet incarnation) a clear and present existential threat to the Western civilization.
The Russian “Orthodox” Imperialist Messianism.