Are you wondering whether you read that right: Putin’s theology?
In response to articles suggesting that Putin’s geopolitical land-grab is not rational some have pointed out that we may be blinkered in our assessment. We view his behaviour in terms of our own understanding – materialistic, political and secular.
Despite our history we tend not to consider theological aspects of any situation or event. Predominantly our society is sceptical of God having anything to do with events, past, current or future.
However when we consider the position, past and present, of the Orthodox Church in Russia we begin to glimpse an influence unfamiliar to many westerners.
Thanks to the Orthodox Church the entity that was Russia was known as Holy Russia or Holy Mother Russia. The land was sacred, the people who lived there were sacred and the faith was sacred. The three: the land, the people, the faith, were linked through a mystical union – a concept alien and even repugnant to most westerners. The very land of Holy Russia was an icon of the presence of God.
To many Russian Orthodox Christians this iconic land is the KIngdom of Heaven.
It is also known as the eternal tsardom of God in heaven and earth. Holy Russia is the holy place where the one true religion is practised. Therefore her leaders have a duty before God to preserve and protect Holy Mother Russia. The tsars were ordained by God for this purpose. The tsars are no more, but it seems that Putin’s theology has led him to take on their mantle.
We are told he has been reading Russian history which may have led him to realize that in AD980 Holy Russia was made up of what we know today as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. The Russian Orthodox Church still claims jurisdiction over Ukrainian territory and declines to recognize the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as an independent Church.
In most Western Christian Churches the Kingdom of Heaven is no longer associated with physical land or geographical areas. For us the Kingdom of Heaven is within each person and seen in relationships and the way we live our lives.