The Moscow patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox church has established a volunteer militia, the Missionary Society of St Thomas. The Orthodox militia will begin patrol the streets of Moscow as of 1 December 2008.
The Union of Orthodox Citizens said the militia will “exhibit a model of civic peace and suppress manifestations of extremism.” Militia members will have a right to keep public order, help police control IDs, confiscate weapons, and block streets during mass events.
The deputy head of external relations at the Russian Orthodox Church, Vsevolod Chaplin, said the Orthodox people’s militia should operate throughout Russia. He pointed out that there are patriotic sports organisations in many Orthodox congregations.