STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY: WIDER CHRISTIAN ACADEMIC COMMUNITY JOINS IN DENOUNCING “RUSSIAN WORLD” IDEOLOGY by Marietta van der Tol

For context see A Declaration on the “Russian World” (Russkii Mir) Teaching.

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Archimandrite Dr. Cyril Hovorun receives Statement of Solidarity
University Church, Oxford University

Last week, the Oxford conference “Christian Identity in National, Transnational, and Local Space” recreated the spirit of the ecumenical Oxford Life and Work conference of 1937. At that time, ecumenical voices sought to articulate Christian responses to the rise of Nazism and Soviet totalitarianism. The conference was one of the most important moments in the history of the World Council of Churches, and within Oxford, it inspired eminent scholars to continue conversations about Christianity, state, and society — also known as “The Moot” (1938-1944), under the leadership of J.H. Oldham. 

This past week, the Protestant Political Thought project (University of Oxford) convened scholars from across and beyond Christian traditions — including Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic — to discuss the danger associated with the political ideologization of the russkii mir (“Russian world”): the idea that there is a transnational and holy unity of the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian peoples. The ideology of the russkii mir declares a particular civilisation holy and identifies it with “the good” — and it casts its ideological and political others to be the evil forces, even in the language of the apocalypse. This ideology has its critics within the international Orthodox community, some of whom raised their voice in the Barmenesque declaration on the russkii mir teaching Read More


REALITY DISTORTIONS AND NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVES IN FICTION: A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING THE KREMLIN’S ALTERNATE NARRATIVE FOR UKRAINE by Alexandra de Moffarts

pjimage (15)In The Last Battle, the final volume in the fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, a wicked ape dresses a donkey in a lion skin in order to fabricate a fake of the Christ-figure, the lion Aslan. The ape thus creates an alternate narrative of Aslan’s actions and commandments, using it to gain power and material advantages. This manipulation triggers great disturbances which distress and confuse many innocents. Some of them, a group of dwarfs, bitterly decide to believe and trust nothing and no one. As a consequence, they become traitors of those trying to debunk the false pretensions of the ape; when they find themselves in the new Narnia (an image of the Kingdom), they are unable to perceive it. They imagine themselves in a dark stable, surrounded by foul things and malevolent people. Nothing can persuade them of the wonderful reality because they have spent so much time trying not to be “taken in” that they are unable to be “taken out” of their own alternate, cynical worldview.

But do the dwarfs bear the whole responsibility for this situation? Or was it the inventor of the fake Aslan? Were the confusion and bitterness resulting in the discovery of the forgery not the real reason for their incapacity to see the truth? Read More


OPF TO HOST WEBINAR THIS FRIDAY: CHRISTIAN WITNESS IN A TIME OF WAR

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shocked the world and rocked the Church, killing thousands, displacing millions, and threatening a new schism within Orthodoxy.

Sadly, many within the Russian Orthodox Church have come out in support of this unjust war, while most of the rest of the Orthodox world has condemned it. Nonetheless, there have been some voices for peace in the Russian Church, such as Sister Vassa Larin, who has spoken bravely against the war.  

We invite you to join us on April 8 at 13:30 UTC (9:30 EDT, 14:30 BST, 15:30 CEST) for a free live webinar with Sister Vassa Larin, Deacon Brandon Gallaher, and Sergei Chapnin for a discussion of what Christian witness looks like in a time of war. These three panelists have deep roots in the Russian Orthodox Church, and have all spoken clearly against this war. Join us to hear their perspectives on how Christians can and should respond to this invasion, even when the Church is not speaking clearly. You will have the opportunity to submit questions live to our panelists.

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ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH THANKS PRESIDENT OF POLAND FOR RESPONSE TO UKRAINIAN HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

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Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (L), President Andrzej Duda (C), First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda (R)

March 28, 2022

Your Excellency,

I am sincerely delighted to have the opportunity to meet You and the First Lady of Poland in person, almost a year after Your visit at the See of the Church of Constantinople in Phanar.

However, my visit here is neither any jubilant nor some festive occasion. My exclusive focus these days is to stand in solidarity and prayer with the millions of refugees who have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing unjustified and unjustifiable aggression as well as the horrendous and costly violence caused by Russia on their sovereign homeland of Ukraine. Read More