It is no longer time to remain silent within the ranks of the Russian Orthodox Church, but to give explicit and unreserved support to Vladimir Putin and Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. For the past two weeks, several Russian bishops have taken the floor to approve the military offensive in Ukraine ordered by the Russian president. This is a new fact, because during the first five weeks of military operations, Kirill, despite fully supporting the head of state, was the only one who officially spoke. As early as February 24, the patriarch had religiously supported the invasion of Ukraine, an operation that, according to him, a “Metaphysics” and which is delivered against “Forces of Evil” hostile to the unity of the Russian people and the Church.
“It seems that we are dealing with a major mobilization of the Russian episcopate, which supports the rhetoric of Vladimir Putin and also leads to an outcry to protect Patriarch Kirill.”, explains Antoine Nivière, professor at the University of Lorraine, specialist in Russian cultural and religious history. The researcher connects this wave of opinions with the “General takeover of the company” operated by the Russian authorities. He noted that since the beginning of April, several clear positions have been taken by religious leaders, as reported by Russian websites. One such frankincense is, unsurprisingly, Tikhon Chevkunov.
The metropolitan of Pskov, an ultranationalist who is said to be very close to Vladimir Putin and the Russian secret service FSB, questioned the faithful of his diocese on April 8: “Why did our President make such a decision with such grave consequences? (…) Based on the experience of my conversations with him, I can say that he would not have initiated it if he had not considered that there are reasons of vital importance, an imminent danger to the Russian people, which make this operation necessary . (…) If he had not done it now, but later, Russia would have been attacked, with the risk of having millions of casualties (…) Let’s recall the beginning of the Great Patriotic War [la seconde guerre mondiale] 1941 and the terrible casualties we had then. »
Bishop Sava, at the top of the central administration of the Moscow Patriarchate, objected to the idea that there would be pro and anti-war. “There is no such thing as a war party and a peace party, he told Russia’s Interfax news agency on April 7. There is no one who does not want to live in peace. » But he added: “Do we need peace at the cost of Russia’s death, trampling on our ideals and ultimately ‘peaceful’ annihilation? of the Russian people? »
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