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Seeking new language: Patriarch Kirill’s media strategy

TitleSeeking new language: Patriarch Kirill’s media strategy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsStaehle, H
JournalReligion, State and Society

Media have become important arenas where religious institutions, alongside other players, articulate moral values and seek to shape societal norms and identities. Patriarch Kirill recognised early on the potential of using the media in spreading the Russian Orthodox Church’s mission and reaching out to wider audiences. From the very first days of his enthronement on 1 February 2009 he has taken the lead in developing a comprehensive media strategy aimed at increasing the Church’s presence in the public sphere. Both his words and deeds provide evidence of a momentous turnaround in the Church’s information and communication policy. His pursuit to endorse a revisited media strategy is determined by attempts to influence and control the way Russian Orthodoxy is portrayed in the public sphere. Moreover, the development of a large-scale media policy is motivated by the rising criticism towards the Church, voiced most notably on the internet. Based on the analysis of original and previously unexplored sources, this article illustrates the impact of media on a traditional religious organisation such as the Russian Orthodox Church and the response of the Church’s leadership to emerging challenges in a radically changing media environment.