What is it about?

On March 13, 2022 (Sunday of Orthodoxy), Orthodox theologians and scholars from around the world issued an unprecedented theological declaration that draws on both the Barmen Declaration (1934) and the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and is directed against the ethnophyletist and nationalist “Russian world” ideology that serves as the religious underpinning for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This ideology, fundamentalist in character, was developed by Patriarch Kirill (Gundiaev) of Moscow and both Putin and Patriarch Kirill repeatedly reference it in their active support of the Russian invasion. Having briefly outlined the Russian world ideology, the Declaration identifies the ideology’s main propositions, which are declared “heretical” from an Orthodox theological perspective. By contrast, the Orthodox scholars systematically outline affirmations drawn from Scripture and the Holy Tradition of Orthodox Christianity. Finally, the declaration calls all to be mindful of the theological principles outlined in their decisions in church politics.

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Why is it important?

This text is the most important Christian theological response against the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and its religious ideological underpinning. It builds on the traditions of the Barmen Declaration as well as Orthodox spirituality in a unique Biblical-spiritual political theology denouncing a contemporary form of fascism in contemporary times.

Perspectives

This was an important theological witness to me that Orthodoxy at its root is against the collapse of faith and nation and that ultimately it finds its grounding in Scripture and the witnesses of the saints against war and ideology.

Brandon Gallaher
University of Exeter

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A Declaration on the “Russian World” (Russkii Mir) Teaching, Mission Studies, June 2022, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15733831-12341850.
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