Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christian Science Monitor — Is Russia's intervention in Syria a 'holy war'? Russian Orthodox Church: 'yes'

For many in the West, the idea that a church would take an overtly hawkish stance in the conflict in Syria is an utterly foreign concept.
But then, the Russian Orthodox Church is not of the West, says Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the church's most recognizable spokesperson, in his spartan downtown Moscow office.
"The idea that church and state should be alienated from each other is not a characteristic of Orthodox civilization," insists the wispy-bearded senior cleric, whose eyes almost seem to burn. "It's a characteristic of the West."…
The Orthodox Church, which has deep historical connections with the dwindling Christian communities of the Middle East, was deeply alarmed by mass flight of Iraq's Christians following the US invasion of that country. When the conflict in Syria began almost five years ago, the church began lobbying the Kremlin to take a strong stand in defense of Syrian Christians, who are about 10 percent of the population. Experts say the church's insistence certainly played a role in President Vladimir Putin's decision to intervene directly in the conflict...
Christian Science Monitor
Fred Weir, correspondent

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