Recently, the article “Special Operation in the Light of Christian Teachings on War and Peace” was published on the Russian church portal Pravoslavie.ru. The purpose of this publication is to justify Russian aggression using theological reasoning. However, after reading the text, it becomes obvious that the set goal has not been achieved, and that the piece itself is a mere compilation of Russian propaganda, diluted with quotes from the Holy Scriptures, works of the holy fathers, church and secular documents.
The author of this portion of propaganda in a religious wrapper is a professor and Doctor of Theology, a lecturer at the Moscow Theological Academy, deputy head of the Moscow Church Court Archpriest Vladyslav Tsypin. Tsypin is the author of many works on Church history and canon law. By the way, they were widely circulated and used in spiritual educational institutions of Ukraine. And Tsypin himself seemed to enjoy authority in the scientific and theological community.
However, after receiving the Tomos of autocephaly by the OCU, the range of Tsypin’s research shifted dramatically. Since then, he’s been writing only in the appropriate style approved by the ROC. And all his publications now highlight only the position of the Moscow Patriarchate, which gives every reason to assume that all his works are commissioned. Their main goal is to use Tsypin’s “authority” to justify any lawlessness on the part of Moscow’s church.
Now Tsypin is not limited only to religious topics, but has expanded his activities, presumably, working on the order of Russian pro-government circles. However, with such activities, he completely destroys his authority as a theologian and researcher, and actually turns into a bland religious propagandist. The above-mentioned article is another confirmation of this.
After reading it, one gets the impression that it was not written by a theologian or even a priest, but by a typical Russian old man who only watches the Solovyov-Skabeeva-Kisilyov broadcasts 24/7. After all, the entire article, from start to end, is permeated with narratives constantly voiced by the said Russian propagandists.
Thus, in particular, at the beginning of the article, Tsypin notes that with Russia’s war against Ukraine, “the post-Christian West seeks to bring Russia to its knees.” The words of the well-remembered Russian oppositionist Valeria Novodvorskaya immediately come to mind: “The West is trying to bring Russia to its knees. It keeps trying and trying, while the latter just keeps lying there.” However, there is not a word in the publication about the troubles and problems in Russia. On the contrary, Russia is portrayed as a defender of goodness and Christian values.
Next, the “professor” regrets the collapse of the Soviet Union, which gave America world dominance, and which, according to him, was lost due to the “restoration of Russian statehood in most of the historical territory of our country.” This, in his opinion, is what prompted the USA to resume the “cold war against Russia”, “which is being waged with particular ferocity, on a slippery slope with a hot war” on the territory of Ukraine.
(Agree, it looks ironic when a priest, theologian and professor laments the collapse of an atheistic country that waged a conscious struggle with the Russian Orthodox Church! And all this happened before his eyes. However, he is sincerely sorry for the collapse of a great country, which he mentions several times in the article.)
The ongoing war itself is being waged at the expense of Galicians and “Little Russians”. It is noteworthy that the text never mentions the Ukrainian people, but only the “Little Russians” and Galicians. Ukraine itself is referred to as a “separatist entity in the space of a single Russian world.” According to Tsypin, the Ukrainian language is only a “Little Russian or Galician dialect” of the Russian language.
The author is not ashamed to mention the “Russian world”, to which Crimea showed its belonging, which, according to him, “returned to its native harbor”. An attempt to defend this “original belonging” in Odesa resulted in the deaths of dozens of “peacefully protesters”. And as it follows from the entire text, for Tsypin, all of Ukraine is only a part of this “Russian world.”
The use of numerous offensive nicknames in the text, which Russian propaganda gave to Ukrainian politicians and statesmen, significantly lowers the level of both the article and its author. Thus, in particular, when recalling the events of the Revolution of Dignity, Tsypin mentions the “bloody pastor” and the “candy king.” The author calls the Revolution itself a “coup d’état of the “Nazi style”” and the protesters a “rabid mob.”
The Doctor of Theology did not forget about the “Nazis”, the issue so “loved” by Russian propaganda. It is they, in his opinion, who constitute the core of Russia’s enemy, which professes “racial Satanism.” “The instigators of the war with Russia are the militant Uniates of Galicia – traitors to Orthodoxy – and schismatics from the OCU, as well as “Europeans” – idolaters of rainbow-painted Western values,” the professor believes.
From the theological point of view, the article only contains quotations from the Holy Scriptures. However, most of them can be used against Russian aggression. As a whole, the article is more political than theological. Its presentation does not meet scientific standards, after all. It also sometimes loses its logical thread. In particular, the events of independent Ukraine are randomly intertwined with the time of Hetman Ivan Mazepa and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Perhaps, with such historical parallels, the author sought to add more piquancy to the text, but only once again showed his incompetence.
Summarizing all of the above, we should note that this article is yet another attempt to justify Russian aggression, to give it a sacred meaning, which is what the Russian church has been doing since the full-scale invasion. However, the oped did not make headlines because in fact it is a simple delusion of an old man in a cassock who’s watched too much Russian propaganda.