As the two-year anniversary of Putin’s ‘special operation’ in Ukraine approaches, we can be tempted to be discouraged and feel our prayers are not being heard.
Yury Sipko, who served in the past as head of the Russian Evangelical Baptist Union, has publicly prayed for the end of the invasion in Ukraine and called the war “a crime”. In the past, he criticised the laws restricting religious freedom.
Remember how 2020 was expected to be a watershed year? The hopes that Covid-19 would force lifestyle changes?
For Ukrainians, this is more than a minor issue of grammar. It involves the whole reason why Putin launched his misguided ‘special military operation’ in the first place.
The protests helped reverse a 'foreign agent' law that would have had a negative impact on churches, say evangelicals in the Eastern European country.
What role can faith communities in Europe today play in recovering foundations for sustainable, just and flourishing societies?
Especially in the Ukraine war with all its religious sub-themes, the churches should talk to each other and deal with the religious roots of this war.
Vladimir Putin justifies his war against Ukraine by claiming to protect Russia, at its historic borders. The question however is – what does he mean by 'historic'?
Ukrainian villagers were glad to get food but also prepared to stand in the snow and cold wind to listen to the team share the gospel.
The unholy alliance of the Russian church and state is a lesson for Christian nationalists everywhere.
Civil targets hit in the worst attack in months. Putin blames Ukraine for bridge explosion in Crimea as Belarus announces a joint military force. Christians in Kyiv react with Bible verses.
Patriarch Kirill defends Putin in what he calls a “fratricidal war”. Meanwhile, tens of thousands continue to leave Russia to avoid military mobilisation.
European leaders denounce “a parody of democracy”, NATO speaks of “dangerous escalation”, and the United Nations General Assembly seeks dialogue-based solutions.
Most Christian mission projects rely on Western support. As soon as a given nation or a critical part of a given society turns against the West, financial support will dry out or even criminalised.
Putin views his predecessor as the architect of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. He denied the former Soviet leader the national day of mourning and grand state funeral.
The Security Council of the Russian Federation uses the war to justify further restrictions of religious freedom whenever “religious dogmas are used for negative purposes”.
While the UK imposes sanctions on Patriarch Kirill for supporting the war in Ukraine, the World Council of Churches rejects a ban and hopes to see “dialogue and encounter”.
Today is Europe Day. For a generation, the ‘peace narrative’ meant little. For millions of new Europeans, war was not part of their story. Yet suddenly, all that changed in February.
The Russian Orthodox leader, Patriarch Kirill, defines Russki Mir as a “special civilization which needs to be preserved”. He has become the main promoter of this nationalist idea.
Brutal killings are denounced by the Ukrainian government and human rights organisations as Russia retires from occupied regions.
Ukrainian evangelicals between political and missional responsibilities.
Russian historian Andrey Zubov: “Putin says ‘Russia wants this’ or ‘Russia demands that’. No, it’s Putin and the Kremlin making demands — not Russia or Russians”.
Putin’s messianic pretensions as saviour of Russian civilisation have deep religious and historical roots. Yet our western secular world tends to filter out religion and pre-Enlightenment history as irrelevant.
Evangelicals in Kyiv call to trust in God and defend the country. Churches are offering shelter to refugees. Christian leaders in Moscow express their oposition to war. “Fear paralyses, prayer, trust in God, caring for your neighbor - gives strength”.
Putin sends troops into the Ukrainian territory after the Russian parliament recognises the ‘oblasts’ of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent territories. Europe responds with financial sanctions. Evangelicals pray for wisdom for the next days.