October 04, 2022

Fighting for God and Putin


Fighting for God and Putin
Putin attending church, pensively. Kremlin.ru

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, said during a sermon on September 25 that dying in Ukraine "washes away all sin."

Patriarch Kirill assured patriotic Russians that their sacrifice was a "heroic deed" and that the conflict is part of Russia's sacred duty.

While the idea is theologically ludicrous, one can't exactly say it's unorthodox: Kirill and the ROC have consistently fallen in line behind the Kremlin, supporting Putin even when the going has gotten tough.

Nor is the idea new to Kirill. One of the dubious ways that the heinous Crusades (religious and ethnic wars of the 11th to 13th centuries) were justified (because war = killing and killing = sinful) was as an act of penitence: "a way to make amends to God for sins one had committed, so that an individual could achieve salvation."

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Griffin Edwards

Griffin Edwards is Russian Life's managing digital editor, and is based in Eugene, OR. He holds an MA from Indiana University's Russian and East European Institute, where he received the Daniel Armstrong Prize for his thesis essay on neomedievalism in the ideology of Putinism (It's more interesting than it sounds). His adventures in Russia include witnessing modern theater in Moscow for St. Olaf College's undergraduate research program; experiencing the joys of an all-male winter banya in Valdai; and having the honor of collecting fares for a Peterhof-bound marshrutka. He has written in the past for the Independent Voter Network in San Diego, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and D.C.'s Lugar Center.
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