Over the past three weeks, we have watched Vladimir Putin’s megalomaniacal attempt to expand his repressive empire by invading one of the world’s newest democracies, Ukraine. His victims are mostly unarmed, non-combatant civilians, including children and elderly people. We’re visited daily by terrified, separated, displaced, wounded, and murdered Ukrainians on our screens and newspapers, inviting us into their unspeakable agonies—all these relentless traumas inflicted by the hand of a tyrant who claims to be a Christian.
As if his massive crime against humanity were not horrendous enough, Putin finds himself encouraged and empowered by perpetrators wielding a different kind of power. Patriarch Kirill, a first among equals leading the Russian Orthodox Church, believes himself to be a servant of Jesus Christ who speaks for God and the Church. For Putin, Kirill’s presence provides more than support – it blesses it as a divine sanction. The Patriarch has pronounced Putin’s leadership as “a miracle of God” and has baptized Putin’s evil crusade of violence.
Kirill decries modern Ukraine as an instrument of decadent European secularism, calling Putin’s war a consequence of Ukraine’s embrace of “gay pride parades.” Furthermore, the subjugation of breakaway Ukrainian Orthodox believers and the country’s large population of Protestants, including many Evangelicals, reinforces Kirill’s notion that his church is mother to all Christians, and they owe him their allegiance. Putin’s war is Kirill’s war – a reprehensible campaign of oppression and destruction being waged across Ukraine.
“With a reminder that authentic Christian faith must resist nationalistic temptations, the signers asked Kiril ‘to prayerfully reconsider the support you have given to this war because of the horrendous human suffering it has unleashed.'”
“The conflict in Ukraine is all about religion and what kind of Orthodoxy will shape Eastern Europe and other Orthodox communities around the world (especially in Africa)…This is a crusade, recapturing the Holy Land of Russian Orthodoxy, and defeating the westernized (and decadent) heretics who do not bend the knee to Moscow’s spiritual authority.”
Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer
Dr. Pavel Cerny speaks with Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck about why he believes the World Council of Churches should remove Patriarch Kirill and the other members of the patriarchate for violating the moral and spiritual obligations to do good to all people. In this crucial conversation, hear about how the Russian Orthodox supreme head has enabled Putin’s aggression against Ukraine by styling the military campaign as a religious crusade.