The Church sees no contradiction between the commandment, “Thou shalt not murder”, and the old Russian tradition of blessing weapons and naming weapons and military aircraft after saints. Fr Mikhail Prokopenko, the secretary of the communications service of the MP Department of External Church Relations, was quoted as saying by the newspaper Express, “However, when it blesses weapons and names military jets or warships after saints, the Church also prays ‘for the peace of the whole world’ every day, so that there’d be no reason to use them”.
He pointed up that the commandment, “Thou shalt not murder”, was well-known to the Israelites of the Biblical age, yet they fought holy wars for the Promised Land, and “King David, who also knew it, led holy wars with God’s blessing, as well as our pious ancestors did, who fought wars to protect our Motherland from invaders. I wouldn’t divide weapons into offensive and defensive types. Any army that prepares only for defensive actions will suffer defeat. For instance, what was the Soviet bombing of Berlin in August 1941? Was it aggression or was it defending the Motherland from the enemy? What about ballistic missiles? Are they weapons of aggression or means of deterrence?” He reminded us that during the VOV there was a tank column named after St Dmitri Donskoi, a hero of the Battle of Kulikovo, and an air squadron named after St Aleksandr Nevsky.
Fr Mikhail noted, “The tanks and aircraft were bought with funds collected by the Church and they were built by Orthodox believers. No one can hypocritically oppose naming these units after holy saints, because their purpose was to protect the Motherland from its enemies. This is in direct observation of God’s commandment concerning the love we should show for our neighbours”. He quoted the words of Christ, There is no greater love than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends. Fr Mikhail expressed his regret that “the world lies in evil, so, frequently, there are situations where the only way to repel wickedness is through the use of weapons”.
24 November 2008
Yes, sir, boys and girls… it’s Big Green Weenie Award time again! The Interfax English translator left out the entire third paragraph. The last sentence truly makes the piece, so, there is no excuse for such laziness and sloth. Let’s not forget… often, Russians have taken up arms not only in defence of the Motherland, but, in defence of Christ’s Faith at the same time. St Aleksandr Nevsky faced Teutonic Knights who wished to destroy Orthodoxy and replace it with Catholicism. In 1612, the Poles attempted to destroy our culture and ram Uniatism down our throats. I should mention that the good fathers of the Sergievskaya-Troitsa Lavra helped man the walls during the 16-month siege of the monastery by the Polish aggressors. If our ancestors had not taken up arms, we would be Catholics today. We owe their memory a debt we can never repay. Our Orthodox Faith exists because they faced the foe and beat him back. Glory to their memory!