Is Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine nonetheless a Religious Wrestle? – Bezaleel World Ministries

As February twenty fourth approaches, conversations regarding the place of religion in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine proceed. Proper right here, Lucian N. Leustean analyses the vital factor milestones which have shaped religious mobilisation towards the continued battle.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stays a non secular battle and requires now not handiest political and military options however moreover a non secular decision.

In an op-ed revealed on 3 March 2022, I wrote that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February may also be described as the first religious battle inside the 21st century. So, to what extent is the continued struggle nonetheless a non secular battle and what are the teachings for the religious and political communities 11 months later?

Russia and Ukraine are predominantly Japanese Orthodox Christian worldwide areas, with 3 church buildings actively involved inside the struggle, significantly the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate (which separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990 and stays the most important religious neighborhood in Ukraine) and an unbiased (autocephalous) Ukrainian Orthodox Church (recognised by means of the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate handiest in 2019).

In chronological order, the following events had been milestones in shaping religious mobilisation towards the continued battle:

This itemizing is non-exhaustive and does now not include the struggling and trauma caused by means of the battle to the lives of so many people. Change of parishes between the two Ukrainian church buildings, changes in religious jurisdiction, the work of military chaplains on all sides of the struggle, the bombing of church buildings and religious web sites, and the humanitarian actions of religious communities towards refugees and displaced individuals are most likely probably the most missing examples from the whole picture.

What are the teachings for determining the religious measurement of the continued battle? 3 key points stand out:

First, religion has been an inexorably vigorous part of the battle and its security strategies in advancing political power. The longer the battle continues the additional superior the religious mobilisation will become. In Russia, Patriarch Kirill’s statements handiest toughen the militarisation of Russian society in strengthen of the battle, a discourse adopted by means of Putin’s inside circle and the security tools. In Ukraine, inside the legislative technique of implementing religious freedom and ‘religious independence’ from Russia, political authorities need strengthen from world organisations to ensure that religion isn’t used as a tool leading to extra military escalation.

2nd, the politicisation of religion has demonstrated that the shifting frontline between Russian and Ukrainian troops may also be noticed as a non secular border. Military chaplains combating alongside Russian troops don’t hesitate to clarify the struggle as a veritable ‘religious battle’. Ukrainian troops protect now not handiest their nation nevertheless your entire secular West and the liberal Japanese Orthodox worldwide while the Russians battle for the security of standard Orthodox Christianity.

third, political creativeness and determining a diplomatic and military methodology to ending the struggle must take the multifaceted place of religion into consideration. Religious worldwide relations, informal faith-based networks of nationwide and world dialogue, religious symbolism, and religious aura might present results the place political and military avenues will not be in a position to take motion.

The social and political mobilisation of religious communities in Russia and Ukraine will handiest proceed to intensify inside the months ahead and may keep key to determining what motivates people and states.

Religion, in its institutionalised form and as a lived neighborhood, can construct up struggle nevertheless can also provide the method of discovering peaceful solutions.

This op-ed was once supported by means of the author’s participation as Senior Fellow inside the ‘Orthodoxy and Human Rights’ enterprise, backed by means of Fordham Faculty’s Orthodox Christian Analysis Coronary heart, and generously funded by means of the Henry Luce Foundation and Administration 100.

Discover: This piece provides the views of the author, and now not the location of the LSE Religion and Worldwide Society weblog, nor of the London Faculty of Economics.

Image by means of Viktor Hesse on Unsplash

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