Tag: Moscow Patriarchate

The Moscow Patriarchate and the “Struggle for War”
Religion and Conflict

The Moscow Patriarchate and the “Struggle for War”

On March 27, 2024, an extraordinary session of the World Russian People’s Council (WRPC) was held in Moscow. Patriarch Kirill personally presided over the congress. The main event of the Congress was the approval of the Edict (in Russian: Nakaz) of the XXV World Russian People’s Council, “The Present and Future of the Russian World.”…

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When Theology Fuels the War
Religion and Conflict

When Theology Fuels the War False Prophecy and State Policy in “The Present and Future of the Russian World” Document

On March 27, the World Russian People’s Council (WRPC), headed by Patriarch Kirill (Gundiaev), met at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow to ratify its programmatic document, “The Present and Future of the Russian World.” The document opens with a section on the Russian war in Ukraine, followed by a section on the…

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By Silence God is Betrayed…Again
Religion and Conflict

By Silence God is Betrayed…Again

On May 11th, 2023, Moscow priest John Koval was defrocked by the ecclesiastical court after being suspended by Patriarch Kirill in February of the same year. His offense was replacing the word “victory” with “peace” in the “Prayer for Holy Rus’” mandated by the Patriarchate of Moscow to be included in all litanies. The “offensive”…

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Why Have You Forgotten the Truth of God?
Documents, Ethics, Religion and Conflict

Why Have You Forgotten the Truth of God? An open letter to the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church

  Your Eminences! My letter is addressed to the Orthodox bishops in Russia. I have intentionally not collected signatures or involved any Church structures or public organizations, because I am addressing not the episcopal body, not the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchy, but each of you personally. My letter’s addressee is an Orthodox Christian who…

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War and Eschatology
Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Conflict

War and Eschatology

Any conflict, especially a military conflict, needs a clear rationale for why it occurs. Usually, this question should be answered by official representatives of the state. However, the situation in Russia after the beginning of the armed conflict with Ukraine is gradually beginning to be explained in religious terms. This language has moved beyond the…

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Kremlin Notes in the Patriarch’s Christmas Appeal
Religion and Conflict, Religion and Politics

Kremlin Notes in the Patriarch’s Christmas Appeal

This year, on Christmas Eve, Patriarch Kirill wrote the shortest text in the fourteen years of his patriarchate: the appeal for a Christmas truce. This document might well have become a masterpiece of the anti-war, peacemaking stance of the Russian Orthodox Church. However, it turned out quite differently. The appeal for a ceasefire is yet…

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Six Months Later: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church Still at the Crossroads
Inter-Orthodox Relations

Six Months Later: The Ukrainian Orthodox Church Still at the Crossroads

In late May 2022, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) held a local council to announce independence from the Moscow Patriarchate. But six months since, it is still being determined what that independence means. Metropolitan Onufriy of Kyiv commemorates heads of other churches in the way only primates of autocephalous churches do. Still, it doesn’t seem…

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Four Months Later:  The Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s New Modus Vivendi
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity

Four Months Later:  The Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s New Modus Vivendi

Four months ago, a UOC (Ukrainian Orthodox Church) Council in the Feofaniya monastery in Kyiv introduced fundamental changes into the Church’s statutes. That Council has already become a historic event—with possible implications for world Orthodoxy. But properly understanding the logic of its decisions means understanding what happened in the UOC after the Russian army’s full-scale…

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Patriarch Kirill’s Crusade
Religion and Conflict

Patriarch Kirill’s Crusade

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски In 1095, Pope Urban II told a large gathering of knights in Southern France that it was their responsibility to avenge the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land (he did not mention that the conquest had occurred nearly 500 years earlier). Urban’s sermon led to…

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Better the Godless East than the Immoral West
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Politics, Uncategorized

Better the Godless East than the Immoral West Great Power Logic and the Approach of the Russian Orthodox Church towards China

български | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, experts have been scrupulously analyzing the Russian Orthodox Church’s (ROC) reaction to the conflict. Its support for the Kremlin triggered comments about the Church being a state-controlled ideology entrepreneur which has confused Christian values with imperial geopolitics. Indeed, the inclination towards…

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The Orthodox Church in Ukraine: War and “Another Autocephaly”
Inter-Orthodox Relations

The Orthodox Church in Ukraine: War and “Another Autocephaly”

War changes many things, primarily people’s minds, but also the usual flow of time. What takes years or even decades in peacetime takes a few months, or sometimes even days, during war.  On May 27, the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), the highest governing body of the church, after much debate, expressed its…

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Is There Still a Consensus in the Orthodox Church?
Global Orthodoxy, Inter-Orthodox Relations

Is There Still a Consensus in the Orthodox Church?

Image: Wikimedia Commons After the communications breakdown between the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP) over the status of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the issue of consensus in the Orthodox Church was of utmost importance. Moscow and Constantinople were questioned on whether they share the same ecclesiology, but the issue of…

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Have We Hit Rock Bottom?
Public Life

Have We Hit Rock Bottom? Reflections of a Not-So-Innocent Bystander

There are very few occasions in our lives—critical, pivotal events—that are truly life-shattering. We Orthodox describe them as kairos moments. World War II was one of these. In my lifetime, there was 9/11. Institutions and individuals are defined by such moments. We might recall how the Roman Catholic Church failed to stand up to Mussolini…

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Open Appeal of the Priests of the UOC-MP to the Primates of Local Orthodox Churches
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Conflict

Open Appeal of the Priests of the UOC-MP to the Primates of Local Orthodox Churches

After Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the question of the further existence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate became critical. Patriarch Kirill did not condemn the aggression and did not call the aggressor by name. He did not express any condolences to the families of the dead Ukrainians. Most of…

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Russian World or Holy World War?
Religion and Conflict

Russian World or Holy World War? The Real Ideology of the Invasion of Ukraine

Kremlinology is back in a big way. Thinkers and pundits of every stripe, throughout the world, are once again seeking to uncover the secret motives and exotic ideologies of the Russian political elite. Only this time around, unlike in the days of Soviet atheism, the smoke signals coming from the Kremlin are increasingly linked with…

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A Church at War: Heresies, History, and a Russian Orthodoxy Otherwise
Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Politics

A Church at War: Heresies, History, and a Russian Orthodoxy Otherwise

Much of the criticism currently directed at the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine is organized around the idea that the Moscow Patriarchate is ideologically compromised and theologically unsound. With few exceptions, scholars, journalists, and opinion writers condemn leaders of the Russian Church as apologists for the Kremlin’s “Russian…

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The UOC-MP at the Crossroads
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity

The UOC-MP at the Crossroads

Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has caught the attention of the public for multiple reasons. The humanitarian catastrophe, the sheer horror of ceaseless shelling, the shooting of protesters in the streets, the attacks on nuclear plants, the threats to assassinate President Zelensky and other leaders, and the war on democracy. One of the underreported consequences…

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Will There Be a Confessing Church in the ROC?
Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Politics

Will There Be a Confessing Church in the ROC?

Русский For centuries, the Orthodox Church has taken the side of its state leadership in times of war, and the further it departed from the pacifism of the first centuries of Christianity, the more militant the rhetoric of the Church became. But the tragic events of the twentieth century posed questions for the Church to…

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Woman of Peace, Temple of War
Culture and Arts, Religion and Politics

Woman of Peace, Temple of War

The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces was sprinkled with holy water by Patriarch Kirill in 2020, but that does not mean it is holy. It has forsaken the elegant curves of a traditional Russian dome to deliberately resemble nuclear missiles (which Russian priests have cheerily blessed). The classic two-dimensional apse mosaic of Christ…

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The Liturgical Consent to War
Religion and Conflict

The Liturgical Consent to War

In a famous scene from A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More defended his silence on the Act of Supremacy by citing a maxim of the law, “Qui tacet consentire videtur” (Silence betokens consent). His argument was that by saying nothing, the court must assume he agreed with the Act regardless of whatever his private…

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Blessed are the Peacemakers: Thinking Historically About Russian Orthodox Soft Diplomacy
Church History, Religion and Politics

Blessed are the Peacemakers: Thinking Historically About Russian Orthodox Soft Diplomacy

If you stand before the iconostasis of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Manhattan, the representation church of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Orthodox Church in America, you will see an old and ornate cross perched behind the altar table. First placed there nearly 120 years ago, it is an artifact of another moment in…

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Help Ukraine by Recognizing the OCU’s Autocephaly
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity

Help Ukraine by Recognizing the OCU’s Autocephaly

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the West has displayed a significant level of unity and solidarity with Ukraine. Comprehensive sanctions against Russia’s leadership coupled with military support to the Ukrainians have been at the forefront of the Western response….

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Russian Orthodox Media Shows a House Divided Against Itself
Public Life

Russian Orthodox Media Shows a House Divided Against Itself

Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine threatens to become the worst humanitarian disaster in recent history. The Russian Orthodox Church, already embroiled in a protracted conflict in Ukraine over Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, is facing even greater struggles to maintain unity among its flock as this calamity…

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Patriarch Kirill and Vladimir Putin’s Two Wars
Ethics, Religion and Conflict

Patriarch Kirill and Vladimir Putin’s Two Wars

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски It’s hard to talk. It’s hard to think. It’s very hard to pray. It’s a shock. And it’s scary to realize that I was wrong not to believe there would be a war. No, I did not believe it at all. I thought that…

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Schism as a Stance of Nonexistence
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity

Schism as a Stance of Nonexistence The Moscow Patriarchate and New Lines in Orthodoxy

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски With its autonomous church in Ukraine, the Moscow Patriarchate could not accept the Patriarchate of Constantinople’s actions to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine (OCU) in 2018–2019. The Moscow Patriarchate severed its relationships with Constantinople and other primates who recognized the OCU…

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Russia’s “Scramble for Africa” and Its Church
Inter-Orthodox Relations, Orthodoxy and Modernity, Religion and Politics

Russia’s “Scramble for Africa” and Its Church The Geopolitical Perspective

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски On December 29, 2021, the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate decided to establish a Russian exarchate for the entire African continent. The exarchate is to consist of two dioceses: one for northern and one for southern Africa. The title of the bishop of…

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The Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Ecumenical Reception
Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Inter-Orthodox Relations

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Ecumenical Reception

български | ქართული | ελληνικά | Română | Русский | Српски The establishment of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) created division within the global Orthodox world. Yet, what has received less attention is the effect of the Ukrainian autocephaly on other Christian denominations and ecumenical institutions. Inevitably, and sometimes unwillingly, these churches were…

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Orthodoxy and the Rule of Law in Russia
Book Reviews, Religion and Politics

Orthodoxy and the Rule of Law in Russia

Scholarly study of the interaction of law and religion is well established in Europe and America, but it is not evenly distributed across the religious and ecclesiastical spectrum. There is a vast literature on some aspects of the subject, such as religion in the American constitutional order and law in the history of Roman Catholicism….

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Constitutional Amendments Bless the Russian Orthodox Church’s Growing Foreign Policy Role
Religion and Politics

Constitutional Amendments Bless the Russian Orthodox Church’s Growing Foreign Policy Role

Russia’s constitutional amendments of 2020 augur an ever-enlarging foreign policy role for the Russian Orthodox Church—Moscow Patriarchate (ROC). Constitutional entrenchment of the Kremlin’s selective understanding of state sovereignty and non-interference; a state-sanctioned vision of historical truth; the muscular protection of compatriot rights abroad; and the propagation of traditional values each tap into areas where the…

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Public Orthodoxy seeks to promote conversation by providing a forum for diverse perspectives on contemporary issues related to Orthodox Christianity. The positions expressed in the articles on this website are solely the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the Orthodox Christian Studies Center.

Attribution

Public Orthodoxy is a publication of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University