Pacifism is heresy, Russian Orthodox Church says


Eastern Europe


Burdin’s pacifism is incompatible with the teachings of the Orthodox Church, the Church states. Photo YouTube still

While the Russian Orthodox Church already supported the invasion of Ukraine, it now also opposes pacifism. The defence of that is heresy, according to them.

Pacifism is a heretic tradition and goes directly against the teachings of the Russian Orthodox Church. This is contained in documents sent in by the Church in preparation for a church court case against a priest who condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian medium RBC had access to this documentation.

In this case, the church court is considering statements by priest John Burdin, who is banned from presiding over services. Last year, Burdin had to appear before a civil court for allegedly discriminating against the Russian army. In that case, the priest was fined.

According to the Church’s documents, Burdin’s statements “clearly denigrate the activities of the highest church authorities” of the Russian Orthodox Church, “undermine the trust of believers”, and cause “harm to church unity.”

But not only that. Burdin’s supposed pacifism is incompatible with the teachings of the Orthodox Church, the Church states. “Pacifism in different eras of church history was present in heretical doctrines”, read the materials for the court session, which emphasise that throughout history, the Church has blessed warriors to defend the country.

At the same time, the text expresses the idea that Burdin’s pacifism is “one-sided” and “imaginary”, in which “his anti-Russian political position is clearly visible, perceived in our country as unacceptable” and radically at odds with the position of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In the civil case, Mr Burdin was fined in March 2022. This happened after he, being the rector of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in the village of Karabanovo near Kostroma, published a link to an anti-war petition on the parish website. In addition, he addressed his parishioners. “And I stressed to the parishioners that I am not going to pray either for the defeat of the Russian army or the victory of the Ukrainian army. It doesn’t matter to me whose blood is shed there. Ukrainians are dying, Russian soldiers are dying (...), a brother kills a brother, a Christian kills a Christian.”

Burdin has been banned from service since March 19, 2023. He connects this with an official request to allow him to move to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.


The New York Times recently featured Mr Burdin in a video on his dispute with the Russian Orthodox Church.



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