A blog on the U.S.-Russia relationship
The collective leadership of the ROC on nuclear weapons and their use/nonuse: In 2020, the ROC published a draft of regulations, “On Giving Orthodox Christians Blessing for Performance of Military Duty.” That initial 2020 draft banned “‘consecration’ of any kind of weapons, the use of which can lead to the death of an indefinite number of people, including weapons of indiscriminate action and weapons of mass destruction.” When commenting on the 2021 draft of the regulations, Archimandrite Philip Ryabykh confirmed that the draft still contained that ban. “Blessing of personal weapons is allowed, while other types of weapons are supposed to be sprinkled with holy water. Perhaps in the future there will be weapons even more terrible and destructive than nuclear weapons. That is why the members of the church assembly decided not to identify individual types of weapons,” said Ryabykh, who served as a representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to European organizations. However, commenting on the 2022 draft of the regulations, Archpriest Mikhail Vasiliev, who serves as the ROC’s representative to the Strategic Missile Forces, denied that the regulations, which will reportedly be reviewed by the church’s Holy Synod in either fall or winter 2022, would ban the consecration of weapons.