Finnish Lutheran Church pastor Juha Molari converted to the Orthodox faith at a ceremony conducted by Archpriest Nikolay Voskoboinikov at Helsinki's St. Nicholas Church, which belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church, on October 30.
The Lutheran Church earlier defrocked Pastor Molari for openly criticizing the Kavkaz-Center website, which was recognized by Russia as extremist. Molari has been campaigning for the website's shutdown for spreading propaganda supporting terrorism. He turned to the police in October 2010 and complained he had been threatened by Chechen terrorists and separatists.The police, however, dismissed the priest's demands as groundless and refused to launch a criminal investigation into these threats.
He also advocated the interests of Russian national Rimma Salonen, criticized the Pro Karelia anti-Russian organization, which demands a review of the post-World War II border and the return of Karelia's territory to Finland.
Why did he take a decision to convert to Orthodoxy? What was the reaction of the Lutheran Church of Finland to his decision? Does he feel secure in Finland today?Why does Finland not interfere in the Kavkaz-Center activities on its territory? Molari answers these questions in his interview to Interfax-Religion.
- An important event has recently happened in your life - you have converted to Orthodoxy. Why did you take such a decision?
- My family has been already orthodox. It is quite normal to belong to same church with own family. My decision did not come quickly just in a vacuum. The Russian Orthodox Church has also shown mercy in words and in deeds. I want to belong to the Church where I can see love and mercy. In the moral and theological views, the Russian Orthodox Church is seriously Christian, when the Western Churches are quite secular. For example, I cannot share the modern Lutheran view about ecclesiastical gay marriage. This is an important issue for me, when I want to participate in worship and to know God better.
- What was the reaction of the Lutheran Church of Finland to your decision?
- The Lutheran Church has reportedly made some contact with the Russian Orthodox Church in Finland, but I do not know about their gossip purposes. After my decision the Lutheran Church purchased a bailiff of the district court that the bailiff will bring to me already two months old papers, which the Church introduced two months ago for media in Finland, but didn't send at all to me. These papers included official info that I would not have right to find any work as priest for next three months.
- Are you going to enter the Orthodox Theological Seminary and become a priest and improve your knowledge of the Russian language?
- The improvement of the Russian language knowledge is a long process, because I'm not talented. I should do a decision at home that we speak in Russian for some time. In this way, I could improve the language skills.
The economic situation of mine and my family, unfortunately, does not allow it, that I could move to live in the Orthodox theological seminary. Now, the first of all, I am a "young Orthodox Christian", who learns worship practices.
- Your wife and children live in Russia. Would you like to join them?
- My family and I live in Russia and in Finland, depending on the situation. I would live more permanently in Russia, if the employment, livelihood and pension of my family would be sure. For safety reasons it is a very good thing that my family is to some extent away from me - officially and in practice. And it is even more necessary, that a few bandits do not know the addresses of mine and my family. They have visited on the ground floor of my family house and sent to me an e-mail that they have found my address and car.
- You have more than once received threats from Chechen militants. Why do you think police and prosecutor office did not take any measures?
- Officially the police replied that they do not believe that Doku Umarov - the "president" of separatist government - and his allies would know me.
The Finnish political elite is involved by friendship relations with Kavkaz Center's administration. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Pekka Haavisto, the Finnish presidential candidate, had dinned friendly with Mikael Storsjo (in Storsjo's home), the Finnish administrator and owner of Kavkaz Center. Ms. Heidi Hautala, nowadays Minister for International Development, Mikael Storsjo (the Finnish administrator of Kavkaz Center) and Isa Dzhabrailov, the Administrator of Kavkaz Center in Sweden and the Deputy Information Minister of Doku Umarov, had meeting with Finnish ex-president Martti Ahtisaari in year 2007. Tarja Kantola, the special adviser of the Finnish Foreign Minister, held a conference in the Finnish Parliament together with Islam Matsiev, who is the webmaster of Kavkaz Center in Finland and who took part in battles in the North Caucasus.
- Do you feel secure in Finland today?
- I cannot really be afraid of anything. I find new opportunities in every situation. Unfortunately I get privately - and even publicly through Finnish online websites - the death threats in every week, but now I don't tell to my friends and to my family, so they will not be disturbed unnecessarily.
- How would you characterize Finland's attitude to Russia today in every day and political level?
- In fact, Finland needs good relations with Russia. The Finnish economy will benefit greatly, that Finland has a big neighbor Russia Federation. This is a valuable thing in current uncertainty in the EU. Unfortunately, this good message is not told in the Finnish media, but rather too many editors in chief want to promote for the membership of NATO through threat scenarios and Russophobia. And too many people believe in those threats; an example from the level of ordinary people: on 9 November 2011, two Finnish men from Kerava (a small town near to Helsinki), these men are known as supporters for Finland's second-largest party "The Finns", urinated on the bonnet of a Russian businessman's clean estate car. These men are well known about their anti-Russian talks. I do not claim generally that the Finns would piss on the bonnets of Russian cars. However, these Finnish men liberated circulating fluids. It is difficult to assess whether their internal stress lowered after the delivery. Then they went to a nearby bar to celebrate their Victory Day.
- Why do you think Finland does not interfere in the Kavkaz-Center activities on its territory?
- Two reasons. I have already answered, that too many high politicians are intertwined through friendship in this system. Secondly: In Finland, there is no knowledge of the matter, because our Finnish media is silent on the problem almost completely. I think that the Russian security authorities could help more in the case and reveal more names of "journalists" and "administrators" of Kavkaz Center. Now, everything is anonymous and these crooked persons can be in safety. In addition, it should be significant to remind about the financial cases, when the journalists of Kavkaz Center have even participated in the financing of the terrorists.
I did "a courageous act" in April 2011, because I do not fear legal authorities, when I operate with integrity. I went to the Office of Russia's Interior Ministry and FSB in St. Petersburg. I asked that I could get some consultation about the case of Kavkaz Center to understand better these structures. Unfortunately, a month late, I received only a reply that I have to stay on knowledge of the public journals.
- What is the reason of your pro-Russian position, especially criticism of anti-Russian organization Pro-Karelia and Kavkaz-Center website?
- I do not think that my attitude is particularly pro-Russian, but rather I'm Finnish and European man, who wants more peace and prosperity in the modern global world. Therefore I say strongly "no" against the extremism of the separatists. It is a question about a Christian conscience, too.
Kavkaz-Center has published already more than 200 false articles against me. They announce in these articles that I would be insane terrorist, who has been in psychiatric care in St. Petersburg. I would have high salary as an agent, etc. The lies of Kavkaz-Center are dangerous in some cases, when the simple people can take their "info" seriously and act wrongly.
Kavkaz-Center came particularly close to me by chance, because I went to be a priest in a small village, from where the Finnish administrator of Kavkaz-Center comes. The people of Kavkaz-Center began to introduce themselves, when they organized illegal and legal demonstrations against me. So I got a "free" chance to photograph those persons (Finnish and Chechen) who work for Kavkaz-Center. Then Kavkaz-Center was even more angry. Pro-Karelia also became familiar by chance, when the jurist of the Pro-Karelia was my attorney in 2001-2004.
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