Why did Patriarch Kirill declare ‘holy war’ against the West

SBU charges Russian Patriarch Kirill with spreading propaganda and supporting invasion
SBU charges Russian Patriarch Kirill with spreading propaganda and supporting invasion

After the World Russian People’s Council meeting on March 27, the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) declared that Russia’s war against Ukraine is “holy” and the “special military operation” is “protecting the world from the West, which has fallen to Satanism”

We see how Russia is steadily moving towards totalitarianism. [Russian dictator Vladimir] Putin, as they say, is doing his own thing. You can only rule over people who are terrified of you — that’s his maxim and goal. He’s achieving the effect of fear, including in a religious context.

Historically, there have been many cases of Christian churches declaring holy wars. Not only Orthodox, but also the Catholic Church. The Crusades were just that. Although there is no cannoning concept of a holy war, having secured the support of divine forces, as they believe, they can “perform miracles.” Now Moscow is demonstrating these miracles to us, declaring its “national liberation struggle of the Russian people” to be a “holy war.”

Read also: Russian Orthodox Church forces parishioners to pray to ‘Saint Putin’ on giant screen - video

The concept of a holy war is also widely used by radicals, in Islamist radicals. And we know of several political movements that declare jihad as a holy war, regardless of their actual political or territorial goals. Here, this slogan is also used on the Russian Empire’s banners to capture additional territories and additional resources. And if someone doesn’t agree to stand under the banner of this holy war, they will simply be destroyed, as the Russians are doing now in occupied [Ukrainian] territories.

There is absolutely nothing new for historians of religion and military historians in general. This has already happened many times. Our task now is simply to clarify what the Russians have in mind.

Because let’s remember, during WWII, i.e. during the Great Patriotic War, the war against fascism was declared holy. Remember both the anthem, and the appeals, and the banners that appeared. Did they raise the spirit of the Soviet people? Yes, they did. Now, for the high ideals, the purity of the Christian faith, they’ll write that you’re not going to kill your brothers in faith or destroying a sovereign state, but you’re going to fight against universal evil, which is now designated to be embodied in Ukraine, and, of course, against the collective West.

This would be, in fact, the end of Western European civilization

Therefore, we expect this proclamation by [ROC head] Patriarch Kirill [of Moscow] will be aimed at mobilizing the Russian society. There are many idiots, but there are even more who want to make money, but under which slogans? Just listen – “you’re standing in defense of God’s cause,” “you’re fighting against universal evil.” What’s this, if not virtue, holy light, and “divine blessing.”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) has distanced itself from the proclamation. They passed a special resolution, dissociating themselves from this ROC order. They declared they don’t support the ideology of the Russian world and don’t want to take part in the formation of any geopolitical and “geospiritual” structures. And the UOC-MP positions itself as a defender of Ukraine’s national interests. Now let’s see. Perhaps this is, as they say, such a natural move, or perhaps an artificial one, to remove the accusations from themselves, or perhaps to slow down the process that is currently underway in the Ukrainian parliament, which is considering a nation-wide ban on UOC-MP.

How Patriarch Kirill’s statement will affect ROC sympathizers in other local churches. I’m waiting for the text of this order to reach not only other Orthodox churches, but also the Holy See, and perhaps some Protestant denominations. Not to mention people who have no doubts about the “greatness” of Russian culture, or Muslims. Because I can’t recall a document as aggressive, xenophobic, chauvinistic, and ultra-conservative as this one. Here you read every line and wonder how such a document could appear in the 21st century. I look through the traditions of the 18th century, even earlier, the 17th and 16th, and the image of Ivan the Terrible [Tsar of all Russia Ivan IV] rises in my mind. A little more and Russia will introduce oprichnina [mass repression of Russian nobles, including public executions and confiscation of their land and property].

This document requires an appropriate response. By the way, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, when it responded to the proclamation, addresses the representatives of the world religious community. It appeals to the World Council of Churches or the Conference of European Churches to condemn this ideology and these narratives, which are outlined in the letter by Patriarch Kirill. But it has long been said that it’s necessary to bring to responsibility for the Russian world itself, for this concept, theory, and most importantly for the implementation of this Russian world not only secularly, condemning it at the level of the United Nations or the Council of Europe, but also at the church level. And the churches have appropriate mechanisms they could use. They could declare Patriarch Kirill a heretic. And he’ll go down in history with bearing this brand, like many other heretics in the past. As we know, some were even subjected to anathema.

With this letter, Kirill knocked on the door of every European country, particularly every church, especially the Orthodox ones. If what he laid out there is implemented, believe me, dark times will come, which I don’t know if our civilization will be able to overcome. This would be, in fact, the end of Western European civilization, which is based on the ideals of equality, democracy, human rights, and liberty. Because here, except for these three, as they consider, sub-ethnic groups, including Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Russians, I don’t see any rights, any status for other peoples. And what the Kremlin is doing now with the persecution of Tajiks is a colossal challenge to the entire Muslim community of Russia.

Read also: SBU charges Russia’s Patriarch Kirill with violating Ukraine's territorial integrity and justifying aggression

In short, we should think how to oppose these ideas. Because they’ll now be actively promoted on various platforms and at various levels. And the Russian plebs, this mass of people who are hungry and have no prospects, will best accept the ideas voiced by Kirill. Because people who have brains left Russia long ago, while those who have brains but cannot leave remain silent.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine