Interior of Main Military Cathedral in Russia.
“The Patriarch said that these days the historical fate of the Russian people is being decided….”
In early April, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) publicly expressed strong support for the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. During a service atthe main military temple in Kubinka, “the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called on the military to be faithful to the oath, to defend their fatherland at all costs,” according to the excerpt from the somewhat independent source Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The Patriarch echoed the Kremlin’s narrative regarding which country is the chief enemy today, proclaiming that “most countries of the world are under the colossal influence of one force, which today, unfortunately, has become the opposing force of our people.” He concluded his sermon by stressing that “we must be very strong. When I say ‘we,’ I mean primarily the Armed Forces… All our people today should… understand that a special time has come, on which the historical fate of our people may depend.”
When the ROC consecrated the main military cathedral two years ago, many observers remarked that the church was instilling a religious component into the Kremlin’s patriotic ideology (see “Russian Religious Patriotism,” OE Watch, July 2020). The Kremlin leadership, along with a pliant ROC, understand that Russian soldiers may be reluctant to defend a corrupt political system, but they might be willing to fight and die for their religion.
Andrei Melnikov, “Патриарх Кирилл возложил на армию ответственность за судьбу русского народа (Patriarch Kirill made the army responsible for the fate of the Russian people),” Nezavisimaya Gazeta (somewhat independent Russian news source), 3 April 2022. https://www.ng.ru/faith/2022-04-03/2_8407_relig.html
Patriarch Kirill celebrated the Sunday liturgy and delivered a sermon in the main church of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church called on the military to be faithful to the oath, to defend their fatherland at all costs. The Patriarch said that these days the historical fate of the Russian people is being decided….
…His sermon was sustained in the spirit of previous speeches on the situation in Ukraine. According to the patriarch, some powerful forces are playing off the fraternal peoples, and between Russia and the West there is, as he used to call it, a “metaphysical war.” Moreover, this time the mobilization call sounded even more clearly.
“Serving in the Armed Forces is a real feat,” said the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. It requires readiness from everyone who has taken the oath to defend their homeland, not sparing their lives. Therefore, today our special prayer is for the Armed Forces, for our soldiers, with whom the hope for security, for freedom, for the true independence of our country is associated. “Most of the countries of the world are under the colossal influence of one force, which today, unfortunately, has become the opposing force of our people,” he explained. “Because there is great strength, and we must be very strong. When I say ‘we’, I mean the Armed Forces in the first place. But not only. All our people today should, as it were, wake up, start up, understand that a special time has come, on which the historical fate of our people may depend.”
Image: Interior of Main Military Cathedral in Russia.
Source: Sergey Sebelev via Wikimedia, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patriot_Military_Temple_Risen_Christ.jpg
Attribution: CCA-SA 4.0 Intl