Russian Church creates “Orthodox battalions” for war in Ukraine

October 20,2023 2569
Russian Church creates “Orthodox battalions” for war in Ukraine

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is creating its own private military companies on the territory of Russia. The groups are recruiting and preparing believers for the war against Ukraine. The process is taking place at the behest of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Security Service reported.

“It has been documented that one such private military company called St. Andrew’s Cross operates based on the Kronstadt Naval Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Within the walls of the religious institution, its representatives are recruiting parishioners for further inclusion in the composition of the occupying groups of the Russian Federation, which are involved in the front line,” the SSU said.

During the selection of potential “candidates”, preference is given to men who have already served in the ranks of Russian military units and have combat “experience.”

“After enlisting the mercenaries in the ranks of the Moscow Church private military companies, they undergo a course of military-tactical and fire training under the guidance of instructors from the Russian special services,” the SSU explained.

The Russians train mercenaries exclusively within the cathedral’s walls and on special training grounds to hide combat training. Representatives of Russian financial and industrial groups finance the creation of private military companies. The money goes to the accounts of the Russian Orthodox Church in the form of charitable contributions and donations for the “construction” of churches.

Currently, the Security Service of Ukraine is working to establish all the circumstances of the exposed crimes and bring the culprits to justice.

The Russian Church supports Russia’s war against Ukraine. Last year, Moscow Patriarch Kirill told believers that death in the war against Ukraine “washes away all sins.”

Apart from that, the Security Service of Ukraine initiated 68 criminal proceedings against representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia. Among the suspects are 14 metropolitans. Among the crimes exposed are 20 facts of treason, collaborationism, and aiding and abetting the aggressor country.

Cover: Maxim Shemetov / Reuters