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Understanding Putin's Unholy 'Holy War' Against Ukraine

Randy Mancini 2 Apr 13

ABOVE:  Religion News Service writer Jack Jenkins appeared on the Wednesday edition of CBN News' Faith Nation to talk more about the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.  Faith Nation is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel.

An unholy alliance is attempting to portray Vladimir Putin's military action in Ukraine as a holy war for Russia.

As the bloody invasion of Ukraine rages on, we now know Putin is partnering with the Russian church to justify the campaign as a "holy war." 

The decade-long effort to wrap Putin's ideology for Russia into the theology of the Russian Orthodox Church culminated with the patriarch of the church in Russia issuing a statement praising military service and congratulating Putin.

It happened just hours before the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. 

The story of "how one priest turned Putin's invasion into a holy war," is outlined in a recent article in The Rolling Stone. 

Religion News Service writer Jack Jenkins described the partnership between Putin and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, along with their effort to rationalize an unjust war. 

"This dates back around 10 years ago at the beginning of Putin's third term," Jenkins noted. "Patriarch Kirill began working in tandem with Putin and kind of having the Russian Orthodox Church operate as a form of soft power for Putin in the region. It helped him kind of influence different parts, particularly countries that were part of a former Soviet block. 

He continued, "What that meant over time is that Kirill started preaching an ideology, this idea of a Russian world, this sort of trans-national Russian sphere of civilization that included Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and other parts of Eastern Europe. The idea where Moscow was the political center, Kyiv was the spiritual heart and Kirill was of course the chief religious leader. He preached this in various ways throughout the past 10 years. 

"By the time we fast forward to just a few weeks ago, right before the invasion, you had Putin saying that Ukraine is an inalienable part of what he referred to as our spiritual space in Russia," Jenkins explained. "This sort of idea that Kyiv and Ukraine belong to Russia in a sort of spiritual sense so Kirill has been lending credence to that from a very large pulpit for some time."

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