War as Culture War

As most readers know, I am an Orthodox Christian. My deep concern over the relationship between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church is not that the ROC will exercise undue influence over the Russian state, but that the ROC will become Russian nationalism at prayer. I am extremely sympathetic to the ROC critique of the West, and see things like the opening of the new Russian Orthodox cathedral in Paris to be a blessing. On my next trip to Paris, after I make my pilgrimage to pray before the relics of St. Genevieve, the city’s patron, I will make a visit to this Russian cathedral, pray there, and give thanks to God for its witness in that magnificent Christian (or once-Christian) city. It is my prayer — really, it is — that the Russian cathedral will in some real sense bring believing Eastern and Western Christians closer together, and strengthen our common witness against the post-Christian West — such that one day, Europe may return to the widespread practice of the faith.

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