Putin’s ‘Holy War’ Is Terrorizing Ukraine
As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is defending the military operation to Ukrainian children.
In a meeting with children from Donetsk and Luhansk last year, he emphasized that Donbas is an inseparable part of Russia and called on the youth of Donbas to continue the “heroic tradition” of defending their homeland. Kirill clearly supports the Russian regime and identifies entirely with Putin’s political elite. Yet this should not come as a surprise. Putin has called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century,” and Kirill was a kgb agent in Soviet times.
Rumors of Kirill’s involvement with the kgb have circulated for decades. But Swiss police have now uncovered documents proving Kirill’s association with the Soviet national security agency. Two Swiss newspapers reported on February 5 that police have verified that Kirill was a member of the kgb in the 1970s, living in Geneva, Switzerland. Citing Swiss federal archives, the police said Kirill’s mission was to influence the World Council of Churches to denounce the United States and its allies and to moderate its criticisms of the lack of religious freedom in the Soviet Union.
This link to Kirill’s Soviet past puts his recent comments about Donbas in context. Under Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union tried to completely blot out the Russian Orthodox Church. But an important policy shift occurred under Joseph Stalin. In Stalin’s mind, the All-Union Communist Party had cemented its control over Russia to such a point that Russian Orthodoxy no longer posed an existential threat to the state. In 1943, he created a new institutional framework for the Russian Orthodox Church to operate under Communist control. Stalin wanted to annex much of Eastern Europe after the war and knew that he could use the Russian Orthodox Church to bind historically Orthodox regions—like the Balkans, Belarus and Ukraine—to his empire. In western Ukraine, the Soviets forced Greek Catholic churches to merge with the Russian Orthodox Church and deported those who refused to Siberian gulags.
Many Russian Orthodox priests joined the kgb during these years and worked to bind Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union. In fact, by the time the Soviet Union collapsed, 20 percent of its surviving Orthodox churches were in western Ukraine. This distribution of churches shows that the Soviets primarily viewed the Russian Orthodox Church as a weapon to be used against East European Catholics while they continued to encourage atheism in Soviet Russia. So when Kirill encourages the youth of Donbas to continue the “heroic tradition” of defending their homeland, he is continuing Stalin’s policy of using the Russian Orthodox Church to fight against Catholicism by keeping Ukraine in the Russian fold.
Texas-based think tank Stratfor revealed over a decade ago that Putin is using the evangelization efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church to consolidate Russian control over Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia. And internal documentation from the Russian military show that Stratfor is right. Every Russian military officer above the rank of colonel is required to read a 1997 book by neofascist political scientist Aleksandr Dugin titled The Foundations of Geopolitics. Dugin glorifies both Russia’s czarist and Stalinist past and espouses a new ideology he calls National Bolshevism. This ideology fuses Russian nationalism, Bolshevik socialism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity with a touch of mysticism. It also argues that the Russian government should annex Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine, and all other nations with an Eastern Orthodox majority. So Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is not simply an effort to defend some pro-Russia citizens in Crimea and Donbas, it is an attempt to create an Eastern Orthodox empire stretching across northern Eurasia.
Patriarch Kirill supports Putin’s foreign policy because it would eventually make him the religious head of this Eastern Orthodox empire. In numerous speeches, Kirill has called the Putin era a “miracle from God” while condemning Western nations of being in league with the antichrist. Kirill and Dugin have also likened Putin to the restrainer who holds back the “mystery of iniquity” prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. They view Putin’s war in Ukraine as a “holy war” meant to defend Russian society and Orthodox Christianity from godless Western secularism.
Many commentators are drawing parallels between Putin’s Russia and the Soviet Union, and some are even drawing parallels between the European Union and Nazi Germany. Yet as disturbing as these parallels are to consider, one may have to look further back in history to see what will really transpire. Neither Joseph Stalin nor Adolf Hitler were devout Christians. Stalin was an atheist, while Hitler dabbled in various mystical ideological systems. But Stalin allied himself with the Russian Orthodox Church like Hitler allied himself with the Roman Catholic Church because both men knew that their empires had deep cultural and religious roots. Russia has historically been an Eastern Orthodox state, just like Germany has historically been a Roman Catholic state. So, these two religions bind together two different world empires.
The late Herbert W. Armstrong warned that the European Union would morph into a seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire when a German strongman uses the Roman Catholic religion to bind 10 European nations together. And now we see Putin using a similar strategy. He has partnered with a Russian Orthodox patriarch with a kgb past to convince Central Asian and East European nations to join him in a crusade against the antichrist. Of course, not all Eastern Orthodox churches look to Moscow for leadership. Some Orthodox churches (especially ones in the Balkans and the Middle East) are trying to cozy up to the Vatican. But the bishop of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow are emerging as the two most influential Christian religious leaders.
This ecclesiastical development is setting the stage for two influential political leaders: the Holy Roman emperor and the prince of Russia. The Holy Roman emperor is not on the stage yet. But Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has identified Vladimir Putin as the prince of Russia, mentioned in numerous end-time Bible prophecies.
Ezekiel 38:1-2 read, “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him’” (New King James Version).
“Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus,” Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’ “Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who is this ‘prince’ of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of all three names shows that this is an individual ruler of all the peoples of Russia, from the west to the east. The reference to the cities of Moscow and Tobolsk helps us see how vast Russian territory is in these latter days. This giant swath of land indicates the prince will probably conquer more nations of the former Soviet Union. When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the prince of Rosh.”
Putin has already conquered Belarus and Central Asia diplomatically. Now he is trying to conquer Ukraine militarily. He is partnering with a particular church to help cement his control over these regions. Yet Bible prophecy also indicates that he will come into conflict with another empire and another church. Expect a great clash in the near future.