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“Resistance to the ideology of the Russkiy mir is the matter for the future of the Church of Christ in the modern world,” the Head of the UGCC

March 17, 2023, 10:11 415

The religious and political ideology of the Russkiy mir is a product of the “fusion” of the altar and the throne — the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin. The Moscow Patriarchate, which blesses Russian soldiers for the war in Ukraine and justifies aggression on religious grounds, is a challenge to all of Christianity today. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC, said this in a conversation with Polish journalist Krzysztof Tomasik for the book “God Has Not Forsaken Ukraine.”

“Resistance to the ideology of the Russkiy mir is the matter for the future of the Church of Christ in the modern world,” the Head of the UGCC
Фото: AP Photo / Rodrigo Abd

“What we are witnessing now is an unprecedented mutation of the so-called political theology, which has certain grounds in the history of Russian Orthodoxy, when the Church has been developing in conformity with the state for centuries. In this case, we are dealing with a hazardous mutation of an ancient principle embodied in the two-headed eagle, the symbol of Russia,” said the Head of the UGCC.

What is the danger of today’s newest mutation of the imperial ideology of Russkiy mir?

“First of all, this is a completely non-Christian ideological mutation. To understand its danger, I propose to compare the ideology of the Russkiy mir and the justification of the war in Ukraine based on it with the ideology of the ‘Islamic state.’ You can see that these two ideologies are no different, except that in the ideology of ISIS, Islam was used to justify the goal precisely because it instrumentalized Islam as a religion. Regarding the Russkiy mir, we have the same instrumentalization of Christianity,” explains His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

He delineates: “Firstly, we are talking about the justification of violence by the Russian Orthodox Church — reasoning from a religious point of view. Both ideologies, the Islamic State and the Russkiy mir justify violence as such: according to them, violence can be a means to complete specific goals. But this has absolutely nothing in common with either Islam or Christianity!

Secondly, it is the presentation of the West as a collective enemy in the form of the Western world and Western culture, which embodies all imaginable and unimaginable sins. That is, the stated goal of this violence is to fight the Antichrist, the collective West, and its alleged immorality. Thus, we have a mutation and a transition from the religious to the political level.

Thirdly, these are entirely suicidal mutations because they promise absolute life after death to those falling under this banner. And we heard from Patriarch Kirill that whoever dies in this war in Ukraine will be forgiven of all sins. No Christian Church knows such a theory of forgiveness of sins.

Last but not least: an absolutely apocalyptic vision of the world, namely, the claim that we live in the end times. These ideologies are equally apocalyptic in the Islamic State and the Russkiy mir. That is, we are talking about a truly dreadful idea.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav claims that the ideology of the Russkiy mir is a threat to the entire Christian world, just as the doctrine of the Islamic State was a threat to Islam in its time. In particular, it threatens the moral and religious authority of the Christian Church: “Just like the ideology of the Islamic State, which was a great disaster for Islam, the doctrine of the Russkiy mir is a terrible disaster for Christianity, regardless of denomination or church. Why? Because it destroys the very core of the Christian faith — the Gospel, which is the preaching of God, who is Love. This ideology proclaims an utterly different god, who is not a god. Fortunately, the Islamic world has an immune response and has managed to resist the political instrumentalization of faith.

Does modern Christianity have such immunological resistance to the Russkiy mir virus? I have no answer. I would very much like to see such immunity. Because if Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, who today sympathize with Putin as the “last defender of traditional values,” succumb to this virus, we will face enormous de-Christianization and atheization. I’m not talking about secularization because it has already come, but atheization. After all, the Church will completely lose any moral credibility, not to mention religious one. The humanity of the third millennium will reject a church that ties its destiny to some purely secular, human political ideology.

Therefore, I believe that the resistance to the ideology of the Russkiy mir is a matter of the future of the Church of Christ in the modern world. But, of course, we believe that the words of Christ will be fulfilled: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” And also: “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” The Islamic world was able to reject the ideology of the Islamic State. In that case, the Christian world can abandon the doctrine of the Russkiy mir, which the Orthodox world has already started to form.

The Catholic Church has not yet spoken out because it believes this is an internal problem of Orthodoxy. But I reckon that sooner or later, this will affect all churches that define themselves as Christian. It is a decisive moment, a demonic temptation for the Church in the third millennium. And I hope we, as faithful disciples of Christ, can resist it with dignity.”

The UGCC Department for Information

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