Patriarch Kirill: Russia needs nuclear weapons

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Friday that Russia needed nuclear weapons.

Speaking in the Volga Region town of Sarov, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said that while the Church was in favor of “a world without weapons,” Russia required nuclear arms to ensure that it was able to “remain a sovereign state.”

Sarov is the center of Russia’s nuclear weapon industry and closed to foreigners.

Speaking before several thousand young people, the patriarch said “the reason for war is sin and evil in man’s heart,” and that peace can only be guaranteed by “fighting against sin.”

“You can have excellently developed systems of international law, international organizations, but fall into the abyss of war,” he added.

This is not the first time the Orthodox Church has shown its support for weapons of mass destruction. In 2007, a prayer service was held in central Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Russia’s nuclear complex.


  1. George Patsourakos says

    It’s too bad that Patriarch Kirill supports nuclear weapons for Russia. A church hierarch should never be in support of nuclear weapons.

  2. Daniel Crandall says

    There is something unsettling about the Patriarch’s statement. It strikes an odd chord to see a leader in the Orthodox Church extolling nuclear weapons. I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if Metropolitan Philip came out with a statement the role of nuclear weapons in maintaining the United States as a sovereign nation. My personal political proclivities might welcome such a statement; however, the part of me that longs for God, the part of me that is fed and nurtured by the church, is not comfortable with it, at all.

    Weapons, in and of themselves are morally neutral. They can be used for good or evil. When the church comes out in favor of a particular weapon it seems to give it a moral patina it does not deserve. If the priest at my church told me that I should have a gun, I would not be long for that church.

  3. I was thinking much the same thing as Daniel, wondering how I would feel if some future Patriarch of the US came out in support of maintaining or expanding our nuclear arsenal.

    On the one hand, his observations seem pretty sound and well-reasoned to me. On the other hand, his office represents an Eschatological kingdom. My unease arise, I guess, from the sense that comments on a countries defense posture, however legitimate, can be seen to align him more with the City of Man than the City of God – and a very particular City at that. (This sort of plays into the Catholic critique that the Orthodox tend to be toadies of Secular powers.) Hard to imagine the Ambassador of God’s kingdom getting entangled- as St. Paul says (2 Tim 2:4) – in another countries business unless and until it touches on the kingdom. He can certainly articulate the principles and precepts of the Kingdom that could guide the judgment of Russia’s leaders, but – beyond that – it’s his opinion. I guess I would prefer Bishops and Patriarchs to stay firmly within the tradition, articulate foundational precepts and perspectives, and leave the application to the experts in their specific fields – whether it is national defense, finance or ecology.

  4. Or we could just chalk it up to His Holiness’ opinion and remind ourselves that part of man’s freedom lies in the ambiguity of many of life’s situations and contexts. Let’s pray for him and also note that he correctly speaks of war as evil, the product of sin.

    In spite of revealing to mankind the immense power of the atom, and in spite of their international proliferation, the Lord has thus far extremely limited the use of nuclear weapons and by them– ironically– to compel nations to come together and search for ways of peace.

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