State of uncertainty and a search for moral justification of the war among Russian Orthodox Christians – English versionJeanne Kormina & Sergei Shtyrkov
The leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as the leaders of other official religious organisations in the Russian Federation, since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in their public speeches constantly talk about peace, though in fact support the war. It could hardly be otherwise. Over the past twenty years there has been an instrumentalisation of the Church (and - more broadly - religion) by the state, and the Moscow Patriarchate itself has long lived as if the church is unable to continue its existence without an ideological and material support of the state. Besides, a political regime established in the country does not tolerate any public manifestations of dissentFor more on the resistance to war among the clergy and parishioners of the Moscow Patriarchate see Kathy Rousselet's article in this issue and an interview with three Christians conducted by Jeanne … Continue reading. What we discuss in this article does not concern this public aspect of church life. Following the traditions of our academic discipline, anthropology, we look at a more intimate, inner side of church life to see how religious people make the war comprehensible for themselves. This approach involves diving into the rather closed and culturally specific world of "ordinary" Orthodox believersSee Tocheva Detelina, Intimate Divisions: Street-Level Orthodoxy in Post-Soviet Russia, Berlin, LIT, 2017.. That said, we do not think that the official position of the Russian Orthodox Church is unimportant. For many participants and outside observers it is the only thing that matters because this determines how the broader public treat the Church and contemporary Orthodoxy in Russia.
When it comes to religion in Russia, an imagination pictures a country with a huge Orthodox majority. From a certain point of view, this is true. Indeed, many people in the country incorporate Orthodoxy into their basic cultural identity. At the same time, most of those included into this majority think of their Orthodoxy as more of a “vicarious religion”, that is, something conceptually important but not used very often in their everyday life and therefore handed over for safekeeping to religious professionals who “do” religion in places where ordinary people do not need to come frequentlySee Davie Grace, “Vicarious Religion: a Methodological Challenge”, in Nancy Ammerman (ed.), Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, New York, Oxford University Press, 2007.. There are very few "churchgoing" people, that is, those who devote a significant portion of their time and other resources to religious life and in turn depend on religious structures in their daily routine. These people inhabit a special and separated world of religious professionals and regular parishioners. Of course, there are some Orthodox believers who do not feel themselves socially isolated. They see in the regular church life an evidence of their intellectual independence, social respectability, connection to a rich cultural heritage - that is, to some larger world. But many 'church-going' Orthodox believers in Russia, as well as religious people living in other secular countries, in most situations feel like a minority that has chosen a particular path for itself. Depending on the situation, this sense of being different can also lead to feelings of superiority or, conversely, social marginality or even stigmatisation. However, this is an inevitable consequence of the fact that such people come to church in search of a place where they are not dependent on a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. People who manage to find their place in church continue to live simultaneously in two worlds, the mundane earthly and the spiritual heavenly. The latter kind of affiliation implies, to use the lofty language of ecclesiology, citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. Speaking in the earthly language of the social sciences, it transfers the individual into a particular mode of existence in late modern secular society, which is felt to be safer and more predictable, whose stability is ensured by tradition and guaranteed by agents beyond the power of earthly concerns and secular rulers.
People of faith are used to living both in church and in the world, and have a good sense of the boundary between the two. Of course, they realise that it is virtually impossible to live outside the “world”. And they are accustomed to the fact that church officials regularly enter into communication with the secular world on behalf of all believers. From these contacts, the Orthodox expect different things: while some take cooperation between the church and the civil authorities as a natural state of affairs others expect (usually in vain) that church officials will be able to formulate an independent policy line for Orthodoxy in the secular world, which will involve, among other things, the Church's ability to criticize the actions of secular authorities. In any case, such interaction is seen as a technical condition for the existence of the Church in a secular world. Certain church professionals are empowered to deal with those matters which are usually of little concern to the rest who are busy saving their souls or worrying about how to postpone the coming of the end of the world. Of course, we cannot say that the lives of these people are outside the field of politics, but they form a special, Orthodox field of political praxis. Here the well-being of the nation is ensured not by the skillful internal or external policies of its government, but by the prayers of the spiritual elders or the readiness of the mass of believers to do penance for the sins of Soviet times, such as the murder of the Last Tsar’s family that occurred a hundred years agoKathy Rousselet, “Constructing Moralities around the Tsarist Family”, in Jarrett Zigon, Multiple Moralities and Religions in Post-Soviet Russia, Berghahn Books, 2011..
The invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops, which began on 24 February, dramatically and, as it seemed at the time, forever shattered this state of affairs. The Church and all believers plunged into the thick of secular political things. Secular politics began to have a direct bearing on the spiritual life of every Christian and demanded a rapid interpretation of events in this vein. Everyone understood that something very important had happened which made the former life in two parallel worlds impossible. Some of the Orthodox Christians welcomed the outbreak of war as a direct sign of a change in the relationship between secular and spiritual authorities, between in-churched Orthodox Christians and their spiritually ignorant and lazy compatriots steeped in conformism and consumption. While cheering the outbreak of war, such Orthodox, especially political conservatives, rejoiced at the fact that the leaders of Russian society, as they then thought, had entered into a sharp confrontation with the “bezdukhovny (lacking spirituality) West”, and thus recognized the primacy of pragmatics of saving the soul over secular pragmatics - maintaining the peaceful existence of the state and creating conditions for the acquisition of material well-being by its citizens.
It seemed to these church members that the fact that the war had begun meant that the Orthodox Christians were finally being seen as the salt of the nation, preserving a notion of real values in the face of the rapid secularisation of Russian society. There was an unconcealed triumph in the sermons of some bishops and priests, in conversations on social networking sites and in thematic groups on messengersSee: Sergei Shtyrkov, “Ressentiment, War, and the Anthropologist’s Silence”, Cultural Anthropology, Hot Spots, Fieldsights, 2022, March 28 … Continue reading. Simply put, these believers began to get the impression that Russia was getting a chance to become an Orthodox state, or was becoming one before their eyes. This anticipation of a coming “triumph of Orthodoxy” was to a large extent fuelled by the longstanding strong militaristic sentiments of some clergy and parishionersSee Boris Knorre and Alexei Zygmont, “’Militant Piety' in 21st-Century Orthodox Christianity: Return to Classical Traditions or Formation of a New Theology of War?”, Religions, 2020, … Continue reading, based on a sincere conviction that "the collective West" sees the foundation of Russia's political and spiritual power in Orthodoxy and is therefore trying to destroy it. The direct confrontation with the West should have made Russian society finally realize what the American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski knew long ago, when he allegedly said that "After the collapse of communism, our greatest enemy is Russian Orthodoxy.These words are most probably a pseudo-epigrapha. Nevertheless, they have entered the discourse of orthodox political science so firmly that they have been cited as an obvious and well-known fact by … Continue reading”
Part of the faithful perceived the invasion of Ukraine in the opposite way. They realised that in this situation the Church should distance itself as much as possible from the crimes committed by the state, and that those Church officials who had previously been responsible for these connections should curtail their political activities. Patriarch Kirill was expected by many to condemn the military actions and thus declare the independence of the Church from the secular authorities and assert its moral authority. However, Patriarch Kirill, as it is known, took a different position. The reaction to his pro-war rhetoric were collective actions by laymen and priests, such as the Appeal of the Clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church for Reconciliation and Ending the War, signed by almost three hundred clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchatehttps://www.pravmir.ru/svyashhenniki-russkoj-pravoslavnoj-czerkvi-my-prizyvaem-k-nemedlennomu-prekrashheniyu-ognya/. Some of such dissenters went abroad.
Yet the majority of believers in those days became just Russian citizens who were horrified at what was happening to their relatives, friends and acquaintances in Ukraine and watched in a daze as pro-Kremlin propagandists threatened the world with tactical nuclear weapons - the end of the world, which does not involve either the millennial reign of Christ or the coming of the Antichrist. The state of these people could be most accurately described as confusion, denoted in Church parlance as “smushchenie”: they found it difficult to understand how to make sense of what was happening in terms of both secular political thinking and everyday practical theologyhttps://www.pravmir.ru/svyashhenniki-russkoj-pravoslavnoj-czerkvi-my-prizyvaem-k-nemedlennomu-prekrashheniyu-ognya/.
Time passed and the acute reaction of the first weeks of the war gradually softened. The war was going on and, after the initial shock, priests and laity were surprised to find that they were getting used to the new routine. Some of the priests who had left country returned to continue their pastoral work, other, having lost their illusions about Russia becoming an Orthodox state, stopped praising the political wisdom and spiritual maturity of the Russian leadership, and stopped discussing secular political issues totally. One way or another, however, everyone began to live in a new reality, of which the war was an important part. At the level of parish life and extra-parish initiatives (fraternities, sororities, various Orthodox clubs and networking groups), many believers became involved in helping Russian troops, civilians in the occupied territories, and Ukrainian refugees affected by the war. Quite remarkably, participants in this volunteer work say (and seem to sincerely believe) that they are not helping a state waging war against a neighbouring state, but people who have unwittingly found themselves in an extremely difficult situation. These unwilling victims of circumstances even include volunteer soldiers - people who went to fight in Ukraine of their own accord. Many believe that these soldiers were forced to take up this kind of work because there was simply no other job options in their region. In other words, most church people, like many other Russian citizens, have mastered a special way of explaining to themselves and others their behaviour in this situation: they do not support the war, the Russian troops or the government, but “our guys”. At the same time, the question of why this war is going on and what its meaning is, has rarely been uttered aloud yet remains important, painful and unexplained to many.
Orthodox preachers and bloggers expressed this traumatic experience in their social media posts and public speeches. One of them is metropolitan Ioann (Popov) of Belgorod and Stary Oskol whose city of residence (Belgorod) is just 1.5 hours by car from Ukrainian Kharkiv. Since the beginning of the war Belgorod oblast’ has been a frontline area receiving huge numbers of war refugees from the eastern regions of Ukraine and put wounded soldiers and civilians in local hospitals.
In a situation of war, the priest should pray for peace, that is enough. No one understands what is going on, and when you don't understand, you have to pray that the Lord God will make everyone understand, love will prevail and peace will be restored. My job is to pray for the Lord to give us understandingTelegram channel “Nikolai Babkin”, t.me/nickolaybabkin/3296. 26.02.2022..
Metropolitan Pitirim (Tvorogov) of Skopinsk and Shatsk (Ryazan’ oblast’) conveyed this state of uncertainty in a sermon on the same subject a year after the war began in following way:
When this special operation started, many people did not understand what had started. And spiritual people did not understand what had started. It started very rapidly, unexpectedly, when they said there would be no war, when they promised there would be no war and suddenly the scourge caught up with us. Not only us, but also Ukrainehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery (the town of Skopin, Ryasan’ oblast’). 25.02.2023..
As the war continued and became a factor of everyday life, it was losing a clear ethical dimension. Under these circumstances believers began to realise that both praising the war and condemning it was becoming inappropriate and senseless. One had to go on living and supporting “ours” as one should in common life. References to Putin and images of the Russian flag disappeared from announcements on social networks for the collection of humanitarian aid for this or that group of servicemen. They were replaced by simple narratives about the hard and dreadful frontline routine.
This normalisation of the perception of war is not necessarily connected with its justification. Father Leonid (name changed), a young priest in one of the southern dioceses of the Russian Federation, who is warmly loved by his parishioners, is also in charge of the military units located in his town. Father Leonid did not support the war, and the public speeches of the Patriarch cause him a deep sense of shame for the Church. He does not hide his sentiments from his fellow priests, and when the local bishop, who had heard of the priest's attitudes to the war, offered to send him to the front as a regimental priest, Father Leonid refused. In doing so, he referred to some circumstance, the formality of which was clear to all. By this act he gained in the eyes of the other priests of the diocese a reputation as a courageous troublemaker. Meanwhile, his routine duties all that time were (and still are) seeing off the mobilized and military units to Ukraine, saying prayers and speeches at the burial ceremonies of the dead soldiers and consoling their loved ones. Here is an excerpt from his anonymised internet diary, showing his complex and changing state as a Christian and a citizen:
Dispatches of the mobilised soldiers. There were several of them, and each had a different contingent and atmosphere. I said a few words (which I didn't always believe myself in) and served prayers of blessing for the fighting. I sprinkled blessed water on the guys, hugged the drunkards (there weren't many) and those I knew personally, cried with relatives. I understood a simple thing: in any situation I cared about my fellow countrymen more than any other people on the Earth. My duty is to give them hope and pray for them, though Christianity has nothing to do with it. I am ready to take a seat on the bench at The Hague Tribunal in case of need. I'll know exactly why. But I will hardly regret what I have done.
Consider one more diary entry of him:
I'm giving a funeral to our boys, the airmen of the aviation regiments entrusted to my care. Someone's coffin is closed, someone's melted by enemy fire. I try to see them off to their graves, I see tears on faces, I hear farewell speeches of their comrades-in-arms and cries of their wives and children. I understand that I cannot heal them - I have to take the blow with them. I realized that I felt pity for nobody else except my own dead and those for whom the main thing - joy, love, hope - was taken away with them. This is wrong, but the heart cannot command it. War does not purify the soul - it simply makes it deaf to the suffering of those on the other side. Perhaps this is its main moral evilBoth diaries entries were posted on the priest's anonymised telegram channel. We do not provide a link to the channel for the safety of its author..
The problem of the moral responsibility of Russians for the outbreak and continuation of the war and, on the other hand, the already mentioned question of the meaning of these tragic events continue to worry believers. They themselves usually either not dare or do not know how to articulate their thoughts on this subject, but in the sermons of well-known clergymen, videos of which are actively shared by believers in social networks, this is one of the main topics. These recordings gather the most views in special Orthodox groups on the popular platforms WhatsApp, vkontakte and youtube. It is important to note that Patriarch Kirill's addresses are much less popular among the faithful than those of many other Orthodox preachers and bloggers. What sense are preachers trying to find in these events? How do they suggest their listeners to frame the war theologically? What “spiritual meanings” of the war do they discover?
Consider how Metropolitan Pitirim, already quoted, answers these questions. He is the Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, the main Orthodox educational institution in Russia, where he also teaches homiletics - the art of preaching. He can be considered quite a characteristic representative of the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, which tirelessly stresses the importance of “family values” and prays for the victory of the Russian army. He clearly demonstrated his position by taking part in trips to the Luhansk region, where he conducted services for the Russian army and at the hospitals to mercenaries of private military company Wagner. Interestingly, although recordings of his speeches are widely circulated on Orthodox internet platforms, his live sermons are usually delivered to a very small audience - the parishioners of the church in a small town in the Ryazan region where he is the rector. As a disciplined hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, in explaining the nature of the war, Metropolitan Pitirim often says that on the territory of Ukraine there is a struggle between good and evil, with the embodiment of the Devil being not the “Nazi” Ukraine, but the “collective West”, whose corrupt nature he and his associates designate through the West's alleged total commitment to the Sodom sinSee Kathy Rousselet, La Saint Russie contre l’Occident, Salvator, 2022.. To denote evil, Pitirim, like many, uses the eschatological image of the Harlot of Babylon, who now triumphs, “gorging on the blood of saints” - that is, people who are dying in this warhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9ChZJhXEk&t=134s Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) on the Sunday of the Dread Judgment. 19.02. 2023.. Increasingly, however, other motifs take up place in his sermons.
Most clerics prefer to view and describe this war as an event related not to political life, but to the moral state of the entire world, Ukraine, but above all Russia. Consistently avoiding political interpretations of the war, they, for example, rarely mention the name of President Putin or other leaders of the Russian state, even to offer them praise. In this way, the church speakers differ sharply from the secular commentators of the “special military operation”, no matter what position they take. In their sermons, the war appears as a kind of natural disaster, permitted by God in order to enable people to mend their ways. Questions of justice of war are not raised by them in principle. No effort is even made to present the war as just for Russia. Both Russians and Ukrainians are presented in their speeches as victims of circumstances, and the war itself is described not only as a tragedy, but also as perhaps the last opportunity for people to return to God. On the contrary, a peaceful and prosperous life is presented in such discourses as a time of spiritual disadvantage and complete, and therefore particularly dangerous, indifference to spiritual matters.
Metropolitan Pitirim speaks about the war in such a way that in his speeches the gloomy eschatology is replaced by a kind of missionary optimism:
Why did this war start? Why did we live to see this tragic time? Because without it everything would have died, and all of you would have died, and we would have died. The whole Russia, the whole Ukraine were going to be ruined, were going to hell. And we, the clergy, we didn't know... two years ago I believe... Looking at our youth, I confessed that we could do nothing, that we had lost the youth, we had already lost it without return and if something does not happen now, if there is no radical change in the history of our country, then almost all the youth will (spiritually) diehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery. 25.02.2023..
Pitirim and his associates pin their main hope for the mass return of the people of Russia to the fold of Orthodoxy on the fact that the experience gained in the war will be a guarantee of their spiritual renewal for the war veterans. One can see this in the accounts of miracles that Pitirim inserts into his sermons, the same way as preachers in various parts of the Christian world have done for centuries. These accounts of miraculous divine interventions into peoples’ lives are meant to edify his hearers, to serve as moral models for them and as proof of God's participation in the current events. Remarkably, metropolitan Pitirim never recounts the miraculous victories of Russian arms, which would be expected of him as a true militaristic patriot. Rather, his stories discuss the moral transformation of people who find themselves on the brink of life and death and who not only preserve their earthly life in the military operation, but also see the light of eternal life. We will cite three such stories below.
The first miracle, in which a non-believer or unbeliever is helped by an unknown or unrecognized saint who prays to him in a critical situation, is typical of the Christian narrative tradition. The hero of the story turns to this saint because of the extremely difficult circumstances of the war, being on the edge of death. The choice of the addressee of prayer appears, at first glance, to be accidental, but, as it should be in such stories, providential.
One neo-pagan, rodnoverhttps://youtu.be/RzdzJ-W_Xvg A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim. 05.03.2023., found himself at the front in the Donbas, and he kept praying to his gods. Once he got into trouble, when death was everywhere, he was a squad leader, a commander, and he sees his soldiers dying. He prays to one pagan god, another pagan god, and the gods do not help. Then he cried out to some god and said: my gods do not help me, help me! And suddenly he ran into the house and saw the icon of Archangel Michael under his feet. He did not know who was depicted on the icon, someone with wings and sword. And he started praying to this God, who was depicted on this icon, he thought that was God. And suddenly everything stopped, his subordinates did not die, he survived, though he was wounded. He understood that this God helped him, became interested in Orthodox faith and returned to the Orthodox Church. That is how our men become believers there at the fronthttps://youtu.be/RzdzJ-W_Xvg A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim. 05.03.2023...
The second miracle, about the power of prayerSee: Sonja Luehrmann (ed.), Praying with the Senses: Contemporary Orthodox Christian Spirituality in Practice, Bloomington, Indiana University Press., is also quite typical, if not common, with the narrator himself stressing that there have been many cases like this one. It describes how a man is saved by his prayer: a piece of metal that should have killed him (a shrapnel or a bullet) gets stuck in the material medium of prayer, a prayer book, which the hero of the story always wears on his chest, and he remains unharmed.
One of the soldiers told me how he reads the Our Lady all the time. Constantly, when there is fighting and even when there is no fighting. And he said he was unaffected by bullets. He showed us the prayer book, a paper, thin prayer-book with the icon of the blessed Matrona of MoscowThe Blessed Matrona of Moscow is a very popular Russian saint, see: A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim in it. And he showed us this shrapnel, which was stuck in this prayer book. It penetrated halfway through it and got stuck in the prayer book, that is where the prayer of Our Lady, which we have just recited, is located. There was just a little dent left and the shrapnel didn't go any further. A real splinter of a shell in an ordinary paper, not even in a leather binding, but in an ordinary paper and thin prayer book got stuck. And that's the kind of miracles they have in therehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery. 25.02.2023..
In the third story, war purifies former criminals and make them saints. It argues that the wounded warriors radiate grace, like saints, and the fact of the miracle is certified by the narrator, who thus acts as an expert in determining the moral purity and holiness of people.
Here Pitirim refers to the Gospel story of the wise thief who was crucified with Jesus Christ, trusted in him and entered paradise with him. In explaining the story, the preacher emphasises that he places his hope in people like the heroes of his story who were maimed, but who had gained an amazing experience of faith in war. He hopes that when they return home, they will be able to serve as moral examples for young people, or even as preachers of the gospel message.
We visited hospitals in and around Luhansk. Most of the wounded vagnerovtsy (soldiers of the private military company “Wagner”) lie there - without arms, without legs, blinded, burned, bloody. After all, it is they who are suffering the most at the moment. Our group, a bishop and one or two or three priests, a deacon and a layman served liturgies, prayed for health, baptized, confessed, gave the communion, talked to them, comforted, handed out children's letters. We all left the hospitals smelling of tobacco, blood and medicines to the roots of our hair. But my soul was full of joy. My companions asked: “Your Eminence, why do we have such a feeling, a sense of grace, as if we were returning from Mount Athos, having communicated with the Athonite elders, and not from the smoky hospital wards where the wounded robbers lie?
I did not immediately find the answer. But on the way home I realised that we all saw heaven in the middle of hell - as in the eyes of saints - in the eyes of these wise thieves. And this is an important testimony about the vagnerovtsy, about whom all sorts of absurdities have been and will continue to be said. It is they who are now going to heaven from an earthly hell, while we are often in an earthly heaven, and we think and live in an earthly way. Very clearly and distinctly we understood one thing - such powerful grace, which we all felt among these wounded fighters, former robbers, cannot be poured out on “occupiers”, “terrorists”, “militants”, as they are called by hostile voices - such grace is among those who are with God, the Virgin Mary and all the saints here, in the midst of the earthly hell, have already justified, forgiven and glorified as in paradise!Telegram channel «Bishop Pitirim», https://telegra.ph/Uvazhaemaya-Elena-Viktorovna-ZHosul-02-20 20.02.2023."
Such accounts suggests that church representatives are beginning to consistently use the situation of war for missionary and other pastoral purposes. Just like their listeners and much of Russian society, they are used to living in a state of war. The sense of global catastrophe is gone, and believers have learned to re-exist in their familiar and comfortable two modes of existence. They try to minimize their presence in the world of current secular politics, populated by political leaders and filled with news from the front lines or information about the imposition of new sanctions. This is not to say that the Orthodox Church is not interested in political issues, but they see them from a very particular perspective. Clearly, some of the Orthodox opinion leaders hope that the military trials will make Russia, and perhaps the whole world, less secular. Some of them see in veterans of the private military company Wagner the knights of this new Orthodox crusade. For now, the main moral lesson in this view of current events is not that one should not invade the territory of independent states and bring destruction and suffering there, but that there are no atheists in the trenches under fire.
|↑1||For more on the resistance to war among the clergy and parishioners of the Moscow Patriarchate see Kathy Rousselet's article in this issue and an interview with three Christians conducted by Jeanne Kormina and Kathy Rousselet.|
|↑2||See Tocheva Detelina, Intimate Divisions: Street-Level Orthodoxy in Post-Soviet Russia, Berlin, LIT, 2017.|
|↑3||See Davie Grace, “Vicarious Religion: a Methodological Challenge”, in Nancy Ammerman (ed.), Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, New York, Oxford University Press, 2007.|
|↑4||Kathy Rousselet, “Constructing Moralities around the Tsarist Family”, in Jarrett Zigon, Multiple Moralities and Religions in Post-Soviet Russia, Berghahn Books, 2011.|
|↑5||See: Sergei Shtyrkov, “Ressentiment, War, and the Anthropologist’s Silence”, Cultural Anthropology, Hot Spots, Fieldsights, 2022, March 28 https://culanth.org/fieldsights/ressentiment-war-and-the-anthropologists-silence|
|↑6||See Boris Knorre and Alexei Zygmont, “’Militant Piety' in 21st-Century Orthodox Christianity: Return to Classical Traditions or Formation of a New Theology of War?”, Religions, 2020, vol. 11; Boris Knorre, “Masculine strategies in Russian Orthodoxy: From asceticism - to militarization”, in: Katharina Bluhm, Gertrud Pickan, Justina Stypinska and Agnieszka Wierzcholska (eds.), Gender and Power in Eastern Europe. Changing Concepts of Femininity and Masculinity in Power Relations. Springer, 2021.|
|↑7||These words are most probably a pseudo-epigrapha. Nevertheless, they have entered the discourse of orthodox political science so firmly that they have been cited as an obvious and well-known fact by some Russian social scientists. See: Кира В. Цеханская, “Глобализм и русская идея: к проблеме самоидентификации русского этноса”, Информационные войны, 2013, № 2(26), С. 88.|
|↑10||Telegram channel “Nikolai Babkin”, t.me/nickolaybabkin/3296. 26.02.2022.|
|↑11||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery (the town of Skopin, Ryasan’ oblast’). 25.02.2023.|
|↑12||Both diaries entries were posted on the priest's anonymised telegram channel. We do not provide a link to the channel for the safety of its author.|
|↑13||See Kathy Rousselet, La Saint Russie contre l’Occident, Salvator, 2022.|
|↑14||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed9ChZJhXEk&t=134s Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) on the Sunday of the Dread Judgment. 19.02. 2023.|
|↑15||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery. 25.02.2023.|
|↑16||https://youtu.be/RzdzJ-W_Xvg A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim. 05.03.2023.|
|↑17||https://youtu.be/RzdzJ-W_Xvg A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim. 05.03.2023..|
|↑18||See: Sonja Luehrmann (ed.), Praying with the Senses: Contemporary Orthodox Christian Spirituality in Practice, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.|
|↑19||The Blessed Matrona of Moscow is a very popular Russian saint, see: A frontline story of faith. Bishop Pitirim|
|↑20||https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fSk-f4LWU Sermon by Bishop Pitirim (Tvorogov) after a prayer service for warriors at the Holy Ghost Monastery. 25.02.2023.|
|↑21||Telegram channel «Bishop Pitirim», https://telegra.ph/Uvazhaemaya-Elena-Viktorovna-ZHosul-02-20 20.02.2023.|
Jeanne Kormina & Sergei Shtyrkov, "State of uncertainty and a search for moral justification of the war among Russian Orthodox Christians – English version". Bulletin de l'Observatoire international du religieux N°42 [en ligne], mai 2023. https://obsreligion.cnrs.fr/bulletin/state-of-uncertainty-and-a-search-for-moral-justification-of-the-war-among-russian-orthodox-christians-english-version/