A Russian Orthodox Church commission on ecclesiastical law propose that clergy focus on blessing soldiers, as opposed to weapons.
“One can talk about the blessing of a warrior on military duty in defense of the fatherland,” explained Savva Tutunov, a Moscow Patriarchate bishop. “At the end of the corresponding ritual, the personal weapon is also blessed — precisely because it is connected to the individual person who is receiving the blessing. By the same reasoning, weapons of mass destruction should not be sanctified.” Not everybody agrees with the commission’s proposal, which Patriarch Kirill (the head of the Russian Orthodox Church) still has to approve. Vsevolod Chaplin, a former spokesman for the patriarch and influential priest, told news reporters that nuclear weapons were Russia’s “guardian angels” and imperative to maintain “Orthodox civilization.” “Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West,” stated Chaplin.
The ban would involve a signal shift in the church’s official policy concerning Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Whereas the global Orthodox Church has denounced mass destruction weapons, Patriarch Kirill has attributed Russia’s nuclear potentiality with “preventing World War III” and assuring Russia’s state autonomy. “The Russian Orthodox Church has systematically and openly supported the Kremlin’s foreign policy gambits involving nuclear weapons,” penned author Dmitry Adamsky in his latest published book, “Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy: Religion, Politics, and Strategy.” “At a time of economic austerity, it supports the Kremlin’s national security course and legitimizes budget allocations to the defense sector.” Putin has famously described nuclear weapons and Orthodox Christianity as “twin elements of Russia’s domestic and foreign security.”
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