Many Western Christians, Orthodox and heterodox alike, are condemning Putin, Patriarch Kirill, and the Russian Orthodox Church over the War in Ukraine. Almost invariably, the most strident condemnations come from those who are furthest left both politically and religiously. In terms of impacting Russian behavior, this is a complete waste of time. Not one Russian leader cares what leftist Westerners think.
Putin is conducting full-spectrum economic warfare on the West by cozying up to China and India while trying to break the US Dollar. So far, he and his economic team are having some success. The Russian Ruble is already back above its pre-sanction value. Putin’s more popular with the Russian people than he was before the sanctions. Approval of Putin’s actions increased from 69 percent in January to 83 percent in March. The West is facing food shortages and economic recession, while Putin’s Russia is busy building a new financial world order. Putin does not care what self-important Westerners say about him.
Patriarch Kirill has a vast flock, second in world Christianity only to that of the Roman Pope. 71% of 145 million Russians identify as Russian Orthodox. Patriarch Kirill has the funding he needs domestically. The Russian government is building churches faster than the Russian Orthodox Church can provide priests to serve them. Contrast his situation to that of Patriarch Bartholomew in Constantinople. Patriarch Bartholomew relies on Western support just to survive in a hostile, Muslim nation. His flock is almost completely in the West (mostly the US). The Greek Orthodox community in Turkey numbers only a few thousand. Patriarch Bartholomew works for the US State Department, rich Greek Americans, and the Turkish government – not necessarily always in that order. Patriarch Bartholomew cares a lot about what Westerners think. He has no choice. Patriarch Kirill could not care less, nor is there any objective reason he should. Patriarch Kirill routinely leads vast processions through the streets of Russia. Patriarch Bartholomew, who practically every Western media outlet dubs the “spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians”, has trouble filling a decent-sized auditorium when he makes an appearance in the US.
So if our Western progressives are not speaking out to have impact on the Russians, because none of them care – why are they doing it? Much of it is standard leftist virtual signaling, of course. After all, Ukraine is the “current thing” so all the right people must effusively voice all the right opinions.
However, Western “Orthodox” progressives are up to something extra special. They are attempting to use the war to further their long-term goal of silencing authentic Orthodoxy in the West. The war has given them an opening, so they think, to discredit the Russian Orthodox Church, and by extension, traditional Orthodox Christians in Western nations. Progressives are making the most of their opportunity by misrepresenting the true situation in Ukraine, and the Russian Orthodox Church’s response. Below we discuss five of the most damnable lies put forward in support of the attempted progressive “Orthodox” revolution in the West.
1. Supporting Democracy is Orthodox Dogma, But Only the “Right” Kind
The leftist, globalist “Christian” view of democracy is summed up below from the Greek Archdiocese of America (under Patriarch Bartholomew) in their “Social Ethos” document:
In many countries in the world today, civil order, freedom, human rights, and democracy are realities in which citizens may trust; and, to a very real degree, these societies accord persons the fundamental dignity of the liberty to seek and pursue the good ends they desire for themselves, their families, and their communities. This is a very rare blessing indeed, viewed in relation to the entire course of human history, and it would be irrational and uncharitable of Christians not to feel a genuine gratitude for the special democratic genius of the modern age. Orthodox Christians who enjoy the great advantages of living in such countries should not take such values for granted, but should instead actively support them, and work for the preservation and extension of democratic institutions and customs within the legal, cultural, and economic frameworks of their respective societies.
Democracy is a governing system that was unknown to the Church for most of her history. Orthodox Church history is replete with missiological, architectural, artistic, spiritual, literary and even social triumphs that took place under monarchies and various other kinds of authoritarian regimes, sometimes even under conditions of persecution. Thus, it is strange for Orthodox theologians to raise “democracy” to almost dogmatic status in an official document like this. Strange that is, until you read the whole thing and realize that the worldview presented therein owes more to modern Globalist, Neoliberal ideology than to Holy Orthodoxy. It is now incumbent, for some reason, upon Orthodox Christians to “work for the preservation and extension of democratic institutions and customs”, even if this means supporting Ukrainian Nazis in a war against Russia that could end up getting all us nuked.
“Orthodox” progressives continuously tell us that we must support democratic Ukraine against evil, autocratic Russia. One example is from this article celebrating the end of so-called “conservative ecumenism” on Public Orthodoxy. The writer expressly calls Ukraine a democracy while denigrating anyone not on-board with taking sides against a nuclear power as (essentially) an official bad person:
These days, when nobody in the U.S. but the Madison Cawthorns and Marjorie Taylor Greens of the world have not taken the side of Ukrainian Western-oriented democracy against Russian autocracy, Dreher and other unreconstructed critics of Western liberalism like Patrick Deneen have been walking back their views, yet not without still taking their usual swipes at liberalism’s depredations as they go.
There are many problems with claiming we have a moral duty to militarily support Ukraine, or any other nation, just because it is a democracy. However, there are two which deserve special attention.
First problem, Ukraine is not a democracy. Ukraine is a corrupt kleptocracy run by horrible men with no regard for human rights or even human life. Here are multiple reasons why: