Calendars, Prayerbooks, and Chatgroups from the Russian-Ukrainian War

Nadieszda Kizenko is a professor of history at University at Albany–SUNY.

At first glance, a Russian-language prayerbook titled Mothers, Wives, Sisters, Let Us Pray for Our Warriors seems to be nothing special. It’s small. It’s made of paper. It’s cheap. Much of what’s inside has appeared in other places and other prayerbooks. And yet it represents a useful framework for looking at how the Russian Orthodox Church is attempting to engage women of faith in the current war against Ukraine. Reading this book prompts the question: what does it mean to have a book scripted by Church authorities for private prayer on a political issue?

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The Russia-Ukraine War and Religion: One Year after the Beginning of the Invasion

In March 2022, after Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine had begun, we published a series exploring the role of religion in the war. In that series, we argued that the religious component of the conflict has manifested itself in a variety of aspects: from religious justification and rhetoric employed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the perception of the war by Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches, to threats to religious freedom in territories under Russian control.

Commemorating the first-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, we provide an update on these topics.

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Both Symptom and Cause: Four Problems in Eastern Orthodoxy Reflected in the Ukraine War

Jerry G. Pankhurst is professor emeritus of sociology and of Russian and Central Eurasian studies at Wittenberg University.

From its first phase starting in the Euromaidan protests and the “Revolution of Dignity” of 2014 to the present calamitous phase, the war in Ukraine has precipitated a deep review of the state of Eastern Orthodoxy among theologians and among secular scholars who understand the societal impact of religion as well as the personal influence of one’s own faith.

In one sense, the war in Ukraine is a symptom of problems endemic to Eastern Orthodoxy; in some measure, the war is only possible against the backdrop of these broader problems. On the other hand, given the free actions of Russian Patriarch Kirill and others in leadership in the Russian Orthodox Church, the war is also a cause of the current manifestation of these problems across the Orthodox world.

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