(Russian Orthodox Cross)
While churches in the West usually oppose any kind of war, leaders in the Russian Orthodox Church not only support Putin’s intervention in Syria but look upon it as a ‘Holy War’ to save the Middle Eastern Christians which make up 10% of the population in Syria. Here’s the story from the Christian Science Monitor:
For many in the West, the idea that a church would take an overtly hawkish stance in the conflict in Syria is an utterly foreign concept.
But then, the Russian Orthodox Church is not of the West, says Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the church’s most recognizable spokesperson, in his spartan downtown Moscow office.
"The idea that church and state should be alienated from each other is not a characteristic of Orthodox civilization," insists the wispy-bearded senior cleric, whose eyes almost seem to burn. "It’s a characteristic of the West." …
The Orthodox Church, which has deep historical connections with the dwindling Christian communities of the Middle East, was deeply alarmed by mass flight of Iraq’s Christians following the US invasion of that country. When the conflict in Syria began almost five years ago, the church began lobbying the Kremlin to take a strong stand in defense of Syrian Christians, who are about 10 percent of the population. Experts say the church’s insistence certainly played a role in President Vladimir Putin’s decision to intervene directly in the conflict.
Response: I was not surprised when I read this article since I have been following Russian Orthodox Church websites for several years now. Most Christians in the West and particularly in America have very little understanding of how much the Russian Orthodox Church leaders actually support Russian President Vladimir Putin and visa versa.
Under Putin the church has regained most of the buildings and properties that were taken away under the Communist regime. Also under President Putin the influence of church on state laws and moral/cultural issues has increased exponentially. The church is squarely behind Russia’s continued support for traditional marriage in opposition to same-sex marriage and the regularization of rights for homosexuals. Putin is often seen in the company of church leaders when he comes out in support of moral issues and laws for the Russian people.
In the case of the military, Putin has increased the number of chaplains and the access of the Russian Church to the armed forces. He also supported the creation of hundreds of portable worship centers that are able to follow the troops into action.
When is comes to Syria, one of the stated reasons for Russia getting involved is to not only war against ‘terrorism’ but to save and help the Middle Eastern Christians that have suffered greatly under the onslaught of ISIS. At least the Russian Church is trying to give support the persecuted Christians.
Meanwhile, Western churches have done very little to help Christians in the Middle east including Syria and Iraq. Then there is the Obama administration which seems to be more concerned with helping Muslim refugees. In fact nearly all of the refugees coming into our country are Muslims while the persecuted thousands of Middle Eastern Christians continue to be ignored or worse. In the case of 27 Iraqi Chaldean Christians who did make it illegally into the country, the administration is trying to get them deported even though they have a large support base in San Diego area.
I really doubt that Putin is a good ‘Christian’ even though he is presented as such in Russian Church websites and has actually helped the church. Nevertheless, the way the Western media characterizes him may also be somewhat distorted. However, some of Putin’s actions in his support of Iran and Syria has me concerned and actually watching for possible indications of an Ezekiel 38-39 scenario against Israel. One wonders what position the Russian Orthodox Church would take in the midst of that kind of war? *Top