Russo-Ukrainian war: where does the Russian Church stand? – News 24 | News in France and abroad

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Russian society is divided over the war in Ukraine, and we really don’t know how much. Polls are not considered reliable. A new law threatening imprisonment for “false” news and discrediting the army has sown silence across the country.

The Russian Orthodox Church is one of the blocks of the population supposed to support the war.

Anna Vavilova, a correspondent for Tsargrad TV, Russia’s main religious television channel, tried to explain the church’s position.

People walk towards Red Square under light snowfall during the Christmas holidays in Moscow on January 7, 2022.
(Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images)

Vavilova places it in the context of Russia and Ukraine (and Belarus too) being part of the same spiritual and historical family since the times of Kievan Rus, which became the cradle of Eastern Orthodoxy there. is over 1000 years old. These are lines that we also heard from the voice of President Vladimir Putin. But for the church, these are culture wars.

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“Well, that’s not the purpose of the military operation, but we don’t want a Western way of life here,” Vavilova said. “We don’t want him to be close to our families and our society. »

She claims that the “Ukrainization” that has taken place over the past centuries is illegitimate. And she thinks Ukraine’s fall to Western influence is a threat to everyone in the region.

Russian Patriarch Kirill reduced it further, summing it up in one sentence. Residents of Donbass “are forced to accept gay parades”, Kirill said at a mass earlier this month.

Candles burn during a Russian Orthodox service at Christ the Redeemer Parish.
(Uli Deck/photo alliance via Getty Images)

“I’m quite skeptical of the so-called ‘metaphysical battle’ or war of values, especially when entire cities are razed to the ground in this war. What values ​​can justify this? a Russian Orthodox priest in Italy named Vladimir Zelinsky told Fox News.

The patriarch may have condemned the Western way of life, but he did not express regret for the bloodshed – the fate of millions of refugees fleeing their homes, the deaths of thousands in a month.

It is a silence that many say is deafening.

“He never said anything about the military operation, but he always prays for peace. We cannot make him a politician,” Vavilova said.

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But Kirill is political, seen as giving Russian President Putin spiritual cover, if not inspiration, for this war.

According to Father Vladimir, the patriarch “is fully integrated into the authoritarian state. Not only his opinions but also his position, his way of life, even his life itself ultimately depend on a (spiritually) insane dictator”.

The Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(Christopher Occhicone/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

But the war and the position of the patriarch seem to be turning against her in the country where the so-called struggle for traditional values ​​has turned into a bloody battlefield. According to reports, fifty communities that responded to Kirill in Ukraine have recently switched sides. They joined the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Russian President Putin wears his faith on his sleeve.

When asked how intense piety could reconcile a bloody war, Vavilova said she couldn’t answer Putin’s name. But she says she has already advocated for what is happening in Ukraine.

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Father Vladimir, meanwhile, questions Putin’s faith.

“He presents himself as a believer. That’s all,” said Father Vladimir. “Being Orthodox is part of his social roles. In the current context, it is useful for him to be perceived as a very pious person. »

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Russo-Ukrainian war: where does the Russian Church stand? – News 24 | News in France and abroad


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