“Greater Love Hath No Man Than This . . .”

“…than to lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”

So what exactly did His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all-Russia mean when he said that Russian soldiers who die in battle have their sins absolved?

I’ll be honest with you, between Gail and Misha, I can’t really improve on their commentary as to what Patriarch Kirill said.  Their reasoning, as far as I’m concerned, is flawless; their insights superb.  I can think of no better exegesis as to what Scripture teaches when it comes to war and peace.  

But wait, didn’t Jesus also say “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God (Matt 5:9)?”

Yes, He did.  Christ was talking about those who are proactive, who purposely go into conflict and try to smooth things over.  To make peace; peace between brothers, between husband and wife, between families and yes, between nations. 

He did not praise aggressors; in fact, He did just the opposite.  Nor did He praise those who cause provocations or those who subvert negotiations.  

On that basis alone, we in the collective West bear the lion’s share of the responsibility here.

A peacemaker is one who assuages anger.  If, however, he fails, then it is up to the warrior to make things right.  And yes, it is up to the warrior to protect those who are beset upon.

The longer this war lasts, the more we know about the instigators, and the more I am convinced that the Russian Federation is doing what it can to rectify the grave injustices that the Kievan regime has inflicted upon its own citizens

Some misguided people think the war broke out seven months ago, in February.  This is incorrect; the war began in 2014, when a legally elected president was overthrown by a coup d’etat orchestrated (sadly) by the United States.

This is immoral on its face.

Since then, the regime in Kiev has killed close to 15,000 civilians in the eastern parts of their own nation, whose only crime is that they speak Russian. 

How would we Americans feel if an extremist regime had overthrown our duly-elected president and sent an army to New Mexico to kill those who spoke Spanish? 

Or if the Canadian army invaded Quebec and targeted the French-speaking Quebecois? 

I think we would all be horrified.  Indeed, the entire world would be horrified and justifiably so.

Rogue elements within the State Department overthrew the Ukrainian government.  This is a fact.  And it was the U.S. who gave the green light to fascistic elements within the Ukrainian armed forces to control the government.  

It was also the State Department who encouraged the Ecumenical Patriarchate to illegally, uncanonically, and injuriously interfere in the life of an autonomous archdiocese.  Indeed, violence broke out immediately within Ukraine between those who were part of the canonical Church and those who allied themselves with the false one.

All together, these were egregious actions.  And given what has transpired since then, unforgivable. 

That said, it was seven months ago, when active hostilities broke out.  In the interim, the Russian government –along with France and Germany–did what they could to restrain the parties with the Minsk Accords.  When it became obvious that the Poroshenko government had no intention of honoring those accords, the Russians continued to restrain themselves, even as more people were being murdered in the Donbass. 

To be sure, Poroshenko proved to be so massively unpopular that he was unceremoniously unseated by a Jewish comedian, Volodomyr Zelensky, who promised to work for peace and said wonderful things about his countrymen in the East.  He ran as the peace candidate; his first language was Russian, and it looked like the Ukrainians overwhelmingly supported him. 

He won by 73% of the vote.

Unfortunately, as president, he proved to be feckless and in the face of  extremist elements, unable to control his government. The Pravy Sektor, Svoboda and other neo-nazi groups ruled the streets and openly mocked him.  Given their extreme Russophobia and their dominance in the army, it was hard to stop them from “poking the bear.”

And they were given the green light to do so by our own State Department.

Don’t believe me?  Then watch this video clip.  It’s from 2017:

Blessed are the peacemakers (not these guys). 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the West has been planning this war for quite a while now.  Perhaps it was to be Hillary’s WWIII one-two punch to rid the planet of people through a plague and a war.  (Hey, anything’s possible I’d say.)

So now the story comes out.  We egged this war on.  All the RAND Corporation did was provide us with a blueprint. 

It didn’t have to happen.  The Russian terms were hardly bellicose.  All they asked was for four things:

  1.  That Ukraine remain neutral,
  2.  That no NATO missiles were to be staged on their soil,
  3.  That the citizens of the Donbass be allowed more autonomy, and
  4.  That the Russian language be respected.

These hardly qualify as red lines, nor were they the grounds for future military conflict.  In fact, they were eminently reasonable.

So unobjectionable were these conditions that Zelensky was ready to agree to them in April, when Turkey was hosting peace talks in Istanbul.  Unfortunately, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Great Britain flew into Kiev and forbad Zelensky from acceding.  (I guess this means that BoJo doesn’t qualify for being a peacemaker either.)  

Neutrality is not wishful thinking either.  It would have been eminently realistic as far as Russia was concerned.  Consider, for example the case of Finland:  throughout the entirety of the Cold War, the Finns adhered to absolute neutrality, not casting their lot with either NATO or the Warsaw Pact.  The Russians never threatened or molested them in any way whatsoever.  For centuries, the Swiss have similarly observed an active neutrality, even during both of the World Wars. 

The Atlanticists have done everything since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 to provoke the Russian bear.  Even when President Gorbachev allowed East Germany to unite with the West, President Clinton broke his promise and allowed NATO to push its borders further to the East.

And Russia, prostrate before the West back in the 1990s, looked ready to collapse.  As per the febrile imaginings of Russophobes such as Zbiegniew Brzezinsky, Russia was to be broken into five regions, better to be exploited by the West.  Ukraine was to be the final staging ground for this awful nightmare. 

If this doesn’t describe an “existential threat” to the Russian nation, then nothing does.

And so, at the beginning of this year, the Russians were faced with two possibilities:  (1) allow the West to gobble up Ukraine and use it for further military actions against it, or (2) defend itself from additional Western aggression.

Putin, being an ardent nationalist, chose option #2.  

So, yes, the present war is not one of aggression on Russia’s part but of survival.  And thus, any Russian citizen who is fighting in this war is engaged in a military action designed to preserve his nation, a nation which also happens to be an Orthodox Christian one.  The Old Testament is full of such actions.  The Orthodox roster of saints likewise includes warrior-saints.  Regrettable to be sure, but also necessary. 

I certainly wouldn’t fault anyone in Russia for fighting this war and God is a lot more forgiving than me.  Maybe Kirill said what he said and meant it.  For whatever else the Russians are doing, they are certainly laying down their lives to preserve their ethnic brothers in the Donbass. 

As to who gets into heaven, I cannot say.  Perhaps Kirill was being generous.  God is known to be generous, too, as none of us are made-for-heaven material.

Patriarch Bartholomew, on the other hand, remains mute in the midst of a war he helped to create.  (Not exactly a Boris Johnson-level kibbitzer but certainly not a peacemaker either.)  For good or ill, Kirill has replaced him in the spotlight when it comes to this conflict, for which he is probably grateful.  After all, if the planet plunges into a depression thanks to the skyrocketing cost of fossil fuels, then carbon emissions will be significantly decreased.   

Otherwise, he doesn’t seem particularly invested the great moral issues of the day.  


  1. I agree. Yes, I agree with the facts and statements made in this article. We are watching the $31 trillion in debt Empire’s last stand. Might I add that Paul Craig Roberts stated today:

    The complete and total failure of Washington to create an ally and business partner out of a willing Russia is the worst diplomatic failure in world history. The Jewish neoconservatives demanded hegemony at Russia’s expense. The US military/industrial complex demanded Russia as an enemy to justify its power and budget. The State Department needed a Russian threat to Europe in order to keep normal relationships between Europe and Russia from loosening Washington’s hold on its European empire. An American President who intended to normalize relations with Russia was driven out of office.

    • Concerned Orthodox Christian says

      American failure to treat Russia as a friend in the ’90s and ’00s was a major mistake on our part that did a lot to feed the estrangement we now see. We had an opportunity to make an ally, but we let it pass.

      • Antiochene Son says

        It has long been said that we are now in a tri-polar world: US, China, and Russia. It was inevitable that two of them would ally against the third.

        One of the few things GW Bush did right was foster a good relationship with Putin in the midst of China’s meteoric rise. That should have been continued. But Obama soured it, no doubt at the behest of Deep State Boomers who couldn’t let the Cold War go—despite Obama going after Romney for that very outlook in the campain. The fake Russiagate scandal prevented Trump from making amends (though he should have worked harder at it; Pat Buchanan was right in saying Trump’s instincts were right but he hand’t the discipline to see it through), and Biden has sealed the new status quo of China-Russia vs US.

        • “It was inevitable that two of them
          would ally against the third.”

          It was not inevitable until that third power
          threatened the first two at the same time.

      • It is the US’s insistence on spreading Western liberalism that is the problem. It is an evil ideology, unlike traditional Orthodoxy. That is the essential moral difference that gives Russia the moral high ground. All else is really commentary.

        The conflict, for example, with Serbia had nothing to do with alleged atrocities. The US demonizes all its enemies, mostly in defamation. That conflict in the 1990’s was about the Serbian resistance to Western cultural and economic imperialism. The same is the case with the present conflict. It is a “religious war”, a battle between light and darkness, each side seeing each other in Manichaeans terms, only one rightly so.

        Unless the good and the right are completely of recent vintage as a result of the rise of Progressive Liberalism, then the Russians are right and the US is dead wrong.

    • Can you provide a link to the Paul Craig Roberts statement?

  2. Concerned Orthodox Christian says

    Accuracy is important in these things, so that we can all evaluate things as objectively as possible.

    With that in mind, it’s important to realize that it isn’t true that the Ukrainian government killed 14,000+ civilians in the Donbass over the past eight years. That number, 14,000, includes military deaths and includes people killed by both sides, not just by the Ukrainian side. In terms of civilian deaths over that time, there were around three and a half thousand.

    It’s also not the case that the deaths were uniformly spread out over those eight years, as a kind of unrelenting assault. The vast majority of those deaths were towards the beginning of the conflict. In 2021, for example, civilian deaths were in the mid 20s.

    By comparison, when Chechnya wanted independence (by point of comparison since both situations involve governments trying to prevent regions from breaking away after the central government has been replaced), Russian troops killed between 30,000-80,000 civilians, depending on who you believe, but in any case, at least an order of magnitude more civilians than were killed by both sides in the Donbass.

    That doesn’t make what Ukraine did in the Donbass right, but it does mean that Russia’s claim to the moral high ground is a lot more grey.

    • While I agree with your statement regarding the moral high ground, I would not see Chechnya and Donbas as comparable incidents. The stakes and responses are very different.

      First, the stakes. Considering Russia has been and still is a multi-ethnic nation, the issue of independence for some ethnic groups is a dangerous topic for that nation as it currently stands. After all, if the Chechens get their way, then why not the other groups? I would cause a collapse and split that I see as similar to the Ottoman Empire or Austria-Hungary in some regards. Ukraine, as far as I can tell, is not in danger of this.

      Then there’s the response from the victims. I have not heard of the people of Donbas committing acts of terrorism on those who support/ connected to the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, in Chechnya/Russia, many still remember the Beslan massacre.

    • Do you have any non-Ukrainian, non-US sources for these assertions? If not, why should we not dismiss them given their history of lies?

    • That is why I say I read widely, believe nothing and wait to see what actually happens. From my armchair position there’s just no way to amass and judge all the information out there. I do lean certain directions and form my own private opinions, but they are cautious and conditional, ready to change with new information.

      But one thing I know: I don’t trust our own Western leaders or media, you’d be a fool to do that.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Concerned, I see your point. Wars are messy things and the aggression against civilians in the Donbass stands on its own. I did not say anything about the frequency of deaths but only that these deaths occurred.

      • As far as I can tell, know one knows. You have Ukrainian assertions of a total of 14,000 killed on both sides in the Donbas but there is no corroboration. Tass merely quotes that Ukraine reported this number.

        What we do know is that the OSCE, hardly a neutral organization, found the lion’s share of the shelling in the lead up to the current SMO coming from the Ukrainian side. The civilians in the Donbas one can presume are mostly Russian speakers. So, really, I’m not willing to echo Uki numbers.

  3. George Michalopulos says

    A brilliant insight by Patriarch Kirill:


    • That is the sort of thing I sincerely hope is true, given the serious decline of Christianity in the West. I don’t actually know if it is (like, is this just a KGB operation telling us what we want to hear?), am waiting to see how things play out. But I’ll gladly welcome a serious Christian presence in the world regardless of where it’s coming from.

    • I am a Patriarch Kirill fan. He’s far from perfect and his ecumenical overtures are disappointing, but overall I find him to be a solid Orthodox patriarch. I read the book Patriarch Kirill in His Own Words, published by Saint Vladimir’s Press and found it to be full of impressive insights and food for thought.

      One of the best things that has come out of recent events is seeing the more liberal-leaning Saint Vladimir’s people (which isn’t all of them) squirming very uncomfortably about this publication (in which the good Patriarch is lauded in the foreword, etc.) and the Patriarch Kirill Foundation for Biblical Studies, which was established at the seminary only a few months before the special operation started.

      Somewhere like Jordanville probably just laughs at this and continues flying the Russian flag.

      • George Michalopulos says

        I completely agree with you, Basil.

        One of the uncomfortable moments of this video presentation, is how SVS is prominently displayed, at least as far as some of the jokers are concerned. I can assure you that these guys are retreads from decades past. Thanks to the stellar work of Fr Chad Hatfield (current president of SVS), all vestiges of liberalism have finally been eradicated from SVS.

        It wasn’t easy but he did it.

  4. A superb analysis, George, to which I would only add
    a recommendation of Boris Malagurski’s trilogy of films:

    The Weight of Chains | Težina lanaca (2010)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waEYQ46gH08 [02:01:49]
    The Weight of Chains 2 | Težina lanaca 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNNG_mn_9DU [02:03:48]
    The Weight of Chains 3 | Težina lanaca 3 (2019)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjNvBrj1f78 [02:03:08]

    These deal with the US/UK/NATO destruction of Yugoslavia
    (and then Serbia) following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    This is what they have in mind for Russia if Putin fails;
    which, pray God, he will not!

  5. I couldn’t agree more with your stance! I wonder how long it will take for some to the question how the US manages to never be the aggressor in its narrative for all its wars.

  6. I’m an Orthodox Christian. Given the lies and blasphemies of the fake Patriarch Kirill, the Christ-hater and apostate, I do not want to go to Heaven with these vile Russian pseudo-orthodox soldiers and clergy like Kirill. I am going to seek to lose my soul and end up in Hell.

    • George Michalopulos says

      OK, it’s a deal!

      • Another Concerned Christian says

        “For whatever else the Russians are doing, they are certainly laying down their lives to preserve their ethnic brothers in the Donbass. ”

        How Naive is this statement ?
        we are seeing missile strikes in civilian areas, nationwide invasion of Ukraine, not “freeing Donbas.” in addition, you are seeing genocide in mauripol, Ukrianians being “relocated”, will you surely turn a blind eye to such things?
        The only justification if Kirils statement is the russian soldiers are so blind to the political agenda that their hands are clean of the evil motives of Putin.

        • George Michalopulos says

          ACOC, what exactly has the Kievan regime been doing in the Donbass been doing right now? Ukrainian civilians in the Donbass are being killed daily, not by Russians but by Kiev.

        • It really should be obvious that Russia is going out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. They blitzed Ukraine with over 100 cruise missiles this week and MSM complained that less than 20 civilians died!

          I guess you still believe that Bucha was real, though.

          • Basil,

            Yes, exactly. Either the Russians are terrible military strategists and terrible warriors (not true), or, since February, they have been purposefully going out of their way to avoid/minimize civilian casualties.

            The western propagandists spurt the former (the Russians suck at war), which anyone who is not delusional and who knows history knows is not true (St Alexander Nevsky comes to mind). Sadly, it seems that many Americans want to believe that the Russians suck at war and that the LGBT-infiltrated western militaries will easily defeat them. What’s the old adage, we hear and believe what we want to hear and believe.

            Given what’s been done to them, their territory, and to the Russian people living in eastern/southern Ukraine since 2014, I am astounded at the patience of the Russian government.

            You think if Russia or China had invaded Mexico in 2014 to create their own “sphere of influence” in Mexico so close to the United States border that we’d have been as patient as Russia has been for the past 8 years? No way.

        • Given the constant, unyielding barrage of lies emanating from the Deep State since Trump came down the escalator, an increase from the steady stream emanating before, is it not naive to believe anything the MSM or even Fox (Tucker excepted) says about Russia and the Ukraine affair? We are being lied to constantly and comprehensively from every direction other than the alternative media. It’s completely Orwellian and so it does not surprise me that some still maintain some faith in what they experience through the Western media if it reinforces their political prejudices. But it is completely delusional projection.

          Russia has permanently annexed about fifteen percent of the Ukraine in an operation which has studiously avoided civilian casualties and widespread damage to infrastructure. Now the infrastructure restraints have been removed but they are still avoiding (though not completely/perfectly) civilian casualties. The barrages of recent days are an indication that Russia will likely overrun the entire country. Why else strike throughout the country in this way?

          Russia needs to consolidate in Novorossiya and blitz the rest of the country, killing or exiling Ze and his entire government and replacing them with dependable satellites.

          Russians are looking forward to seeing the destruction of those statues of Bandera in the western Ukraine.

          • This is a nice little chronicle of the lies from the Saker.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              Unbelievable! The CDC is saying the vaccines “. . . no longer stop transmission,” as if they ever did, and the Lancet is using this to prop up the need for even more restrictions to address future pandemics without mentioning the elephant in the room: COVID is not and never was a serious health risk. The vaccines of course are. No one has come out and said that yet. https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2822%2901585-9

              According to the Lancet, the cautionary tale here is not about the vaccines, but that we didn’t implement all these other measures that are ALSO worthless, giving the powers-that-be even more authority in the future to make equally bad recommendations.

              They talk about the 17.2M deaths, without mentioning the one thing that Birx said that was true: ” . . . if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that as a COVID-19 death.” Doesn’t matter if the cause of death was something else entirely and the patient had no symptoms, it’s a “COVID” death if the test, which has a 98% false positive rate says so, even when the patient comes in with tire tracks all over him.

              Executive summary
              As of May 31, 2022, there were 6·9 million reported
              deaths and 17·2 million estimated deaths from
              COVID-19, as reported by the Institute for Health Metrics
              and Evaluation (IHME; throughout the report, we rely on
              IHME estimates of infections and deaths; note that the
              IHME gives an estimated range, and we refer to the
              mean estimate). This staggering death toll is both a
              profound tragedy and a massive global failure at multiple
              levels. Too many governments have failed to adhere to
              basic norms of institutional rationality and transparency,
              too many people—often influenced by misinformation—
              have disrespected and protested against basic public
              health precautions, and the world’s major powers have
              failed to collaborate to control the pandemic.
              The multiple failures of international cooperation
              include (1) the lack of timely notification of the initial
              outbreak of COVID-19; (2) costly delays in acknowledging
              the crucial airborne exposure pathway of SARS-CoV-2,
              the virus that causes COVID-19, and in implementing
              appropriate measures at national and global levels to slow
              the spread of the virus; (3) the lack of coordination among
              countries regarding suppression strategies; (4) the failure
              of governments to examine evidence and adopt best
              practices for controlling the pandemic and managing
              economic and social spillovers from other countries;
              (5) the shortfall of global funding for low-income and
              middle-income countries (LMICs), as classified by the
              World Bank; (6) the failure to ensure adequate global
              supplies and equitable distribution of key commodities—
              including protective gear, diagnostics, medicines, medical
              devices, and vaccines—especially for LMICs; (7) the lack
              of timely, accurate, and systematic data on infections,
              deaths, viral variants, health system responses, and
              indirect health consequences; (8) the poor enforcement
              of appropriate levels of biosafety regulations in the
              lead-up to the pandemic, raising the possibility of a
              laboratory-related outbreak; (9) the failure to combat
              systematic disinformation; and (10) the lack of global and
              national safety

    • Now, that’s what I call a special kind of Russophobia!

      I like how he admits that Patriarch Kirill is going to heaven.

    • Is it (perhaps) significant that you hail from Diokleia,
      the titular see of the late Metropolitan Kallistos Ware?

    • Deacon John says

      Mathew 7:1-5
      1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
      2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
      3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
      4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
      5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    • What?

    • That is a lot of hate, Holy Ghost. The beautiful thing is that beloved Patriarch Kyrill still loves you and prays for you.

  7. Excellent George!

    Malagursky is also well informed. For a while, it seemed like Trifkovic was one of the few who challenged the Western orthodoxy on the subject.

  8. m. Cornelia says

    Here is (yet more) information that you’re not getting in the Western media. It’s from the Telegram channel https://t.me/notes_veterans. This channel took a screen shot from the channel of a certain Zhorin from Azov, a member of the Kraken battalion. The Kraken battalion is Nazi, mainly active in the Kharkov region (where the majority speak Russian. Kharkov was always considered a Russian city), which does little fighting but acts as a punishment Polizei. This post features a video of dead bodies being thrown into a pit. The body rolling down in the video is a woman’s. The text reads: “This is the occupied Kupiansk, civilians. There will be retribution!” Later, after Veteran uploaded the video, Zhorin adds, “Video taken from the telephone of an occupier.” Veteran, however, saved the metadata from the first post: 9.10.2022 at 13:24. So, the video was taken today of people whom Kraken executed, and they are trying to make it look like the Russians did it, as in Bucha. People, please be aware that the Russians must not withdraw, or there will be a genocide, as is already happening. “Veteran” also posts a screenshot (with the name blotted out for the person’s safety), from September 24: “Guys from the battalion went right to the homes – briefly, Kraken is standing there with the Ukrainian army and mercenaries , they are bluntly shooting right by the cars if they find rubles or some canned meat, or anything Russian…”

    There are attacks on European infrastructure–Nordstream pipelines–and yesterday the Crimean bridge (thank God, damage is handleable). These people need to be stopped. Things like this won’t stay local. They will spread, if allowed. Pray! and don’t believe the US. media.