The Hill's Pope blasts Russia’s ‘infantile’ war says:

Francis has to date avoided referring to Russia or Putin by name. But Saturday’s personalization of the powerful figure responsible marked a new level of outrage for the pope.

“Once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interest, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that will either be shared or not be at all,” he said.

The Vatican tends to not call out aggressors in hopes of keeping open options for dialogue. The Vatican, which in recent years has forged unprecedented new relations with the Putin-allied Russian Orthodox Church, had offered itself as a potential mediator but to date has been largely left on the diplomatic sidelines.

Francis told reporters en route to Malta that a possible visit to Kyiv was “on the table,” but no dates have been set or trip confirmed. The mayor of the Ukrainian capital had invited Francis to come as a messenger of peace along with other religious figures.

I originally wanted to ask if the Russian Orthodox Church has articulated any anti-war message with regard to the Russo-Ukrainian War since it started in 2014, but it is possible that one can guess an approximate answer from The Hill's use of "Putin-allied Russian Orthodox Church".

Nonetheless I would like to ask:

Question: How politically aligned with Moscow has the Russian Orthodox Church's position on the Russo-Ukrainian War been since it started in 2014?

One extreme would be that they are completely aligned and no light can be seen between the two, the other extreme might be for example more like that of the Pope that the substantial loss of life and destruction of a country can not be justified.

What do the facts tell us?

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    Patriarch Kirill is a close supporter of Putin. The LA Times and others have covered his recent statements about the invasion of Ukraine.
    – Brian Z
    Apr 2, 2022 at 20:39
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    There are differences between the Orthodox Christianity and the Catholicism - the two currents historically formed as a split over the Church influence over the state: in Catholicism Pope was a superior moral authority to Kings, single for all the Catholics. On the other hand Orthodox patriarchs were typically of national level and subject to the local ruler (e.g., Czar in Russia). Putin is not a part of the church hierarchy as the Czar was, but opposing him would be very much out of tradition - from the Orthodox viewpoint, it is simply not the Church's business to lecture to politicians. Apr 4, 2022 at 8:01

2 Answers 2


Patriarch Kiril referred to the war in Ukraine as a "metaphysical" struggle against a godless international order. That sounds like a strong support, doesn't it?

On the other hand some other priests and deacons disagree with the patriarch.

We respect the God-given freedom of man, and we believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice on their own, not at gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East

Still, the official stance of Russian Orthodox Church is the patriarch's one, this is not a democracy.

This was about 2022 war. As for annexation of Crimea Patriach Kirill has adopted a neutral stance

Members of our Church in Ukraine hold different political views and beliefs and are standing today on the different sides of the barricade. The Church does not take sides in the political struggle. Its task is to take care of all those who have been exposed to violence


In 2014, the largest church in Ukraine was УПЦ (МП), that is Ukrainian Orthdox Church of Moscow Patriarchate. Since their Ukrainian branch was a sizable share of their whole operation, the Moscow Patriarchate was actually reluctant to do anything which would look unfriendly to Ukrainian state, which was tricky given the whole Crimea and Donbass affair.

They did not move Crimea over from Ukrainian to Russian church - I think it remains a part of Ukrainian church to this day, with the same Ukrainian top clergy who ran it before 2014.

Russian Orthdox Church was also reluctant to support pro-Russian rebels in Donbass, to the extent that Strelkov had to ask the overseas branch of Russian Orthdox Church to bless his military banners. Overseas branch of Russian Orthdox Church, called РПЦ(з) is still fairly autonomous since the times when Soviet rule tried to eradricate Russian Orthdox Church after the revolution.

In spite of that, Ukraine still did not consider УПЦ (МП) loyal enough, and under both Poroshenko and Zenelsky the Ukrainian state would repeatedly try to hinder УПЦ (МП) in favour of other, smaller Ukrainian churches. This follows the same pattern of Russian, post-USSR institutions having significant predisposition towards Ukraine which is slowly drained following diplomatic crises between Russia and Ukraine.

  • 4
    Some references would be useful to improve this answer, even to Russian or Ukrainian-language sources.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 2, 2022 at 22:57
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… primarily
    – alamar
    Apr 3, 2022 at 17:58
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    This answer says more about the Ukrainian orthodox church than about the Russian orthodox church, but I think the question was more about the Russian part of the orthodox church.
    – Trilarion
    Apr 3, 2022 at 20:40
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    Ukrainian Orthdox Church of Moscow Patriarchate is a subdivision of Russian Orthdox Church.
    – alamar
    Apr 3, 2022 at 20:51
  • I still found your answer informative with regards to the Russian Orthodox Church, thanks!
    – uhoh
    Apr 4, 2022 at 8:03

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