“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu – The Art of War
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, gave a sermon in Moscow on Sunday, March 6, 2022, where he justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sermon is in Russian, but the English translation has been provided by Bitter Winter, a magazine dedicated to liberty around the world.
In essence, Patriarch Kirill justified Putin’s invasion because Ukraine had forced Gay Pride Parades on the Russian Orthodox people who live in the Donbas Region, the far southeastern portion of Ukraine that borders Russia. Even the Moscow Times picked up on Patriarch Kirill’s rationale for war.
In the classic book, The Art of War, Sun Tzu states that you must know your enemy, for if not, every victory gained will be followed by a defeat. The enemy (Russia) has combined church and state.
THE DANGER OF COMBINING CHURCH AND STATE
Our Founding Fathers understood the danger of having a state church like Russia’s Orthodox Church, King Geoge’s Church of England, or Nazi Germany’s Lutheran Church. They created a new government “conceived in liberty.” They based it on the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, not a particular Christian denomination or even Christianity in general. Jesus Christ is not mentioned one time in the Founding documents.
In America, the Rule of Law is built on the principle of the common good, whereby “you do what you said you would do, and you do not encroach on another person or their property.”
This is why the Church of Jesus Christ which is eternal, should be very careful merging state and church. For example, would you place a Nazi flag in your auditorium during your German worship services in the 1940s? Every church had to do so – by law. Would you place a Russian flag in your auditorium today as you led your Russian evangelical service in Russia? By law, you must.
Christians must understand that the Church has its functions and the national government has its functions. The absolute best political leaders are those who have faith in God and understand that we all will one day answer to Him, but they also believe it is unwise to fuse the church and the state.
The problem with conservatives is that they want the Church to do what the national government should be doing (punish evildoers, lock up the lawless, and close borders/doors). The Laws of the Church, however, are far narrower than the Laws of Nature. For example, Russian Patriarch Kirill is correct when he calls homosexuality a sin. But he is incorrect when he advocates war to protect Russian people from Gay Pride Parades (see his message below). His belief is Christian, but his behavior (punishment of the evil-doer) is governmental. The Patriarch has merged church and state, and Putin loves it, for it justifies his war.
Liberals are just as bad! They want the government to do what the church should be doing (open borders/doors, give food and shelter to the poor, turn the other cheek when attacked, forgive the guilty, etc.). They, too, have merged church/state, except their god is government, their scripture is so-called science (which in their mind never changes), and they love everyone except those who call them out for violating the Constitution of the United States by creating a god of their imagination and turning their government into their god.
The way forward for the United States is to go back to the Consitution and the principles of our Founding Fathers. But why are so many Americans seeking to de-establish the Constitution, de-construct the government (police, the courts, etc.), and destroy America’s heritage?
It seems a one-world order is afoot.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Patriarch Kirill and Russian President Putin believe they have God on their side. Whether they do is not the issue in this state of war. It’s the fact that they BELIEVE that they have God on their side that makes this war dangerous for the West.
The largest Gay Pride Parade in history occurred in Ukraine in 2019. Ukraine sought to have a Gay Pride Parade during 2022 in the Donbest region. The Russian government and the Russian Church united in their justification of an invasion of Ukraine because of the takeover of a one-world order based on a pagan belief system. Whether you understand their rationale or not – much less agree with it – there are lessons for us all when we seek to know the enemy’s thought processes.
Below is Patriarch Kirill’s full message in English, delivered on Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Moscow.
“In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
I heartily congratulate all of you, my dear authorities, fathers, brothers and sisters, on this Sunday, on Forgiveness Sunday, on the last Sunday before the start of the Holy Forty Days, the Great Lent!
The Great Lent is called by many ascetics the spiritual spring. It coincides with the physical spring and at the same time is perceived by the consciousness of the Church as a spiritual spring. What is spring? Spring is the rebirth of life, it is renewal, it is new strength. We know that it is in the spring that a powerful juice breaks through to a height of ten, twenty, one hundred meters, reviving the trees. This is truly an amazing miracle of God, a miracle of life. Spring is the rebirth of life; it is a great symbol of life. And therefore, it is not at all accidental that the main spring holiday is the Easter of the Lord, which is also a sign, a symbol of eternal life. And we believe that this is so, which means that the entire Christian faith that we share with you is a faith that affirms life, which is against death, against destruction, which affirms the need to follow Divine laws, in order to live, in order not to perish either in this world or in the world to come.
But we know that this spring has been overshadowed by grave events related to the deterioration of the political situation in the Donbass, almost the beginning of hostilities. I would like to say something on this subject.
For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in the Donbass. And in the Donbass there is rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power. Today there is a test for the loyalty to this new world order, a kind of pass to that “happy” world, the world of excess consumption, the world of false “freedom.” Do you know what this test is? The test is very simple and at the same time terrible—it is the Gay Pride parade. The demands on many to hold a gay parade are a test of their loyalty to the new world order; and we know that if people or countries reject these demands, then they do not enter into that world order, they become strangers to it.
But we know what this sin is, which is promoted through the so-called Prides. This is a sin that is condemned by the Word of God, both the Old and the New Testament. Moreover, the Lord, condemning sin, does not condemn the sinner. He only calls him to repentance, but not to ensure that through a sinful person and his behavior, sin becomes a life standard, a variation of human behavior regarded as respected and acceptable.
If humanity starts believing that sin is not a violation of God’s law, if humanity agrees that sin is one of the options for human behavior, then human civilization will end there. And Gay Pride parades are designed to demonstrate that sin is one of the legitimate variations of human behavior. That is why in order to enter the club of those “free” countries, it is necessary to hold a Gay Pride parade. Not to make a political statement “we are with you,” not to sign any agreements, but to hold a Gay Pride parade. And we know how people resist these demands and how this resistance is suppressed by force. This means that we are talking about imposing by force a sin condemned by God’s law, and therefore, to impose on people by brutal force the denial of God and His truth.
Therefore, what is happening today in the sphere of international relations has not only political significance. We are talking about something different and much more important than politics. We are talking about human salvation, about where humanity will end up, on which side of God the Savior, who comes into the world as its Judge and Creator, on the right or on the left, we will be. Today, out of weakness, stupidity, ignorance, and most often out of unwillingness to resist, many go there, to the left side. And all that is connected with the justification of sin, condemned by the Bible, is today a test for our faithfulness to the Lord, for our ability to confess faith in our Savior.
Everything that I say has not just some theoretical meaning and not only a spiritual meaning. Around this topic today there is a real war. Who is attacking Ukraine today, where the suppression and extermination of people in the Donbass has been going on for eight years? Eight years of suffering and the whole world is silent: what does that mean? But we know that our brothers and sisters are really suffering; moreover, they may suffer for their loyalty to our Church.
And so today, on Forgiveness Sunday, on the one hand, as your shepherd, I call on everyone to forgive sins and insults, including where it is very difficult to do this, where people are at war with each other. But forgiveness without justice is capitulation and weakness. Therefore, forgiveness must be accompanied by the indispensable preservation of the right to stand on the right side of the world, on the side of God’s truth, on the side of the Divine Commandments, on the side of what the Light of Christ, His Word, His Gospel, His greatest covenants given to the human race, reveal to us.
All of the above indicates that we have entered into a struggle that has not a physical, but a metaphysical significance. I know how, unfortunately, Orthodox people, believers, choosing the path of least resistance in this war, do not reflect on everything that we are thinking about today, but just follow the path that the powers that be show them. We do not condemn anyone, we do not invite anyone to come to the cross, we just say to ourselves: we will be faithful to the word of God, we will be faithful to His law, we will be faithful to the law of love and justice, and if we see violations of this law, we will never be tolerant with those who destroy this law, blurring the line between holiness and sin, and even more so with those who promote sin as an example or as one of the models of human behavior.
Today, our brothers in the Donbass, Orthodox people, are undoubtedly suffering, and we cannot but be with them, first of all in prayer. It is necessary to pray that the Lord would help them to preserve the Orthodox faith, not to succumb to the temptation of this world. At the same time, we must pray that peace will come as soon as possible, that the blood of our brothers and sisters will stop flowing, that the Lord will incline His mercy to the long-suffering Donbass land, which has been bearing this mournful stamp for eight years, generated by human sin and hatred.
Entering the field of Great Lent, let us try to forgive everyone. What is forgiveness? If you ask for forgiveness from a person who has broken the law or done something evil and unfair to you, you thereby do not justify his behavior, but simply stop hating this person. He ceases to be your enemy, which means that by your forgiveness you deliver him to the judgment of God. This is the true meaning of forgiving each other our sins and mistakes. We forgive, we renounce hatred and vindictiveness, but we cannot there, in the face of heaven, accept what is not true; therefore, by our forgiveness, we commit our offenders into the hands of God, so that both God’s judgment and God’s mercy may be administered on them. So that our Christian attitude towards human sins, delusions and insults will not be the cause of their death, but the just judgment of God would be carried out on everyone, including those who take upon themselves the heaviest responsibility, widening the chasm between brethren, filling it with hatred, malice, and death.
May the merciful Lord execute His righteous judgment on all of us. And so that as a result of this judgment we do not stand on the left side of the Savior who came into the world, we must repent of our own sins. Approach your life with a very deep and impartial analysis, ask yourself what is good and what is bad, by no means excusing ourselves by saying, “I had a fight with this or that because they were wrong.” That is a false argument, that is the wrong approach. We must always ask before God: Lord, what did I do wrong? And if God helps us to realize our own unrighteousness, then repent of that unrighteousness.
It is today, on Forgiveness Sunday, that we must accomplish this feat of self-denial and move away from our own sins and our unrighteousness, the feat of surrendering ourselves into the hands of God; and the most important feat is the forgiveness of those who offended us.
May the Lord help us all to pass through the days of the Holy Forty Days so as to worthily enter into the joy of the Bright Resurrection of Christ. And let us pray that all those who are fighting today, who are shedding blood, who are suffering, will also enter into this joy of the Resurrection in peace and tranquility. Because what joy will there be if some are in the world, while others are in the power of evil and in the sorrow of internecine warfare?
May the Lord help us all in this way, and not otherwise, to enter the days of Holy Great Lent, to save our souls and contribute to the multiplication of goodness in our sinful and often terribly misguided world, so that the truth of God may reign and dominate and lead the human race. Amen.”