Why have some of the officials of the Orthodox Church expressed opposition to Russia’s invasion?

Several officials of the Orthodox Church have expressed their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With the noteworthy exception of the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, the military intervention has been rejected by the majority of people.

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, shown leading a service with at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul on March 6, has said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a ‘violation of human rights.’ (photo: YASIN AKGUL / AFP via Getty Images)

The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin for an “early cessation of the fratricidal conflict.” According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the greatest conventional military operation in Europe since World War II. With staunch defiance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has resisted Russian military intervention in his nation since 2014. As a result, the death toll has risen to tens of thousands, with 2.5 million people fleeing to neighboring nations like Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania.

Theodore II, the Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa, has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “drunk on power” and “the emperor of our times.” Patriarch Daniel of Romania, the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, has called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine. On February 24, Georgian Patriarch Illia II issued a dire warning about a “global calamity” and remembered Russia’s invasion of his nation in 2008. In early March, more than 275 Russian Orthodox priests and deacons from all across the globe signed an open letter. The Russian Orthodox Church has produced a series of remarks in which it expresses implicit support for the Ukrainian invasion while refraining from condemning the Russian government in any manner.

After giving an anti-war sermon in Moscow, Father Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was detained. He appealed for the restoration of peace and unity with Metropolitan Onufry in a sermon delivered on February 27. He did not mention the separatist Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which he described as “a schism.” Many of Putin’s justifications for invading Ukraine, particularly those related to NATO expansion, received backing from the Russian patriarch. According to reliable sources, Orthodox clergy and faithful in Ukraine have voiced their displeasure of Patriarch Kirill’s stance on the issue. Father Stefano Caprio said that the Ukrainian conflict generates a “deep divide” in the Orthodox Church in the United States.

Patriarch Kirill cannot break away from Putin because “he would bring the whole palace crashing down,” as he puts it. Some other autocephalous Orthodox churches, particularly those politically and ecclesiastically aligned with the patriarch, support the patriarch.

Reference
Kyiv Patriarch Rejects Property Seizures, Saying They’ll …. https://www.rferl.org/a/kyiv-patriarch-rejects-property-seizures-saying-they-ll-give-kremlin-pretext-for-incursions/29580539.html

Widespread Orthodox Church Backlash Unleashed Against Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine. https://www.ncregister.com/news/widespread-orthodox-church-backlash-unleashed-against-russia-s-aggression-in-ukraine?fbclid=IwAR3GpA1ftGo9LyZOllnPLt6aJ62Gez0LR6jeWNSo_nbmuSUq7vHmkcJNMMA

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