Russian Orthodox church wants priests to stop blessing nuclear weapons that can inflict indiscriminate loss of life. According to media reports, the Russian Orthodox church is discussing new guidelines that would require priests in the country to refrain from blessing weapons of mass destruction.
Russian priests have long appeared sprinkling holy water on submarines, ballistic missiles, Soyuz space rockets and other pieces of hardware as part of rituals to bless them, which now the orthodox church wants to stop.
As per reports, the Orthodox Church in Russia has developed closer ties with the ministry of defence in the last two decades of President Vladimir Putin's reign. Media reports also suggest that Putin has aligned himself with the Orthodox Church. According to reports, Russian armed forces are building one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world at a military-themed park outside Moscow. The church will serve as the symbol of close defence-church ties in the country.
"The blessing of military weapons is not reflected in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and does not correspond to the content of the Rite," the document, on the Moscow patriarchate’s website, said.
The document further stated that the blessing or sanctifying of weapons must be excluded from pastoral practice as it is against the basic fundamentals of the church. According to media reports, the proposal will be discussed until June 1 and the public is also invited to take part in the debate.
The Russian Orthodox Church, also known as the Moscow Patriarchate is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Russian Orthodox Church currently claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia. Although the claim is disputed in Estonia, Moldova, and Ukraine as they have their own parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions.