Orthodox believers in Finland reject concept of "Russian world" as heresy

22-03-2022

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Photo Wikimedia Commons, Kristoffer Östman

The Finnish Orthodox Church has facilitated a condemnation of the idea of a “Russian world”, which is the basis of the ideology behind the Russo-Ukrainian war. “We reject the heresy of the “Russian world” and the shameful actions of the Russian administration to start a war against Ukraine.”

The Finnish Orthodox Church, which belongs to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, published the Finnish declaration on its website on March 15. Since then, hundreds of theologians have signed it, Kotima reports. Earlier, numerous theologians and other Christians signed an English version of the petition.

According to the declaration, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is based on “a particular type of orthodox religious fundamentalism, called Russkiy mir (Russian world). In short, that doctrine amounts to the idea that there is a supranational Russian civilisation called Holy Russia. It includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and sometimes also Moldova and Kazakhstan. This Russian world would have one common political centre (Moscow), a common spiritual centre (Kiev), a shared church (Russian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate). Often, the Russian world is seen as fighting against a degenerate West.

“If we consider these false principles valid, then the Orthodox Church will cease to be the Church of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle, the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, the Ecumenical Church, and the Church Fathers”, the declaration writes.

It calls the Russian world doctrine a heresy and condemns the actions of the Russian government. According to the declaration, these are “fundamentally non-orthodox, non-Christian and against mankind, against people who are “justified, enlightened and baptised in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”

The Orthodox Church is a minority religion in Finland, with about 58,000 members.

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