A Theological Case for Ukraine’s European Integration: Deconstructing the Myth of “Holy Russia” vs. “Decadent Europe”


  • Joshua Searle Spurgeon’s College, United Kingdom




"holy Russia", christian nationalism, liberalism


Since 24th February 2022, Russia’s so-called “special military operation” has evolved into a campaign of mass extermination and demoralisation of the Ukrainian civilian population. Despite the barbarism of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several prominent Christian leaders have sought to justify the barbaric invasion by appealing to notions such as “Christian values” and “Christian civilisation.” According to this narrative, Putin’s Russia represents “traditional Christianity”, which is in opposition to the decadent forces of secular modernity, represented by the nations of Europe and North America. This exclusive narrative depicts Europe as a hostile Other, representing liberalism, superficiality and depravity, that is set against the supposedly profound “Russian values” of family, tradition and respect for authority. This perspective also presupposes that “innocent sinless Russia” is engaged in an apocalyptic struggle against the “sinful immoral West” on behalf of Christianity. This dubious claim is repeated by Russian politicians and church leaders and amplified by Russian propaganda networks. Ominously, the baseless notion of “special Slavic spirituality” is prevalent not only among Orthodox Christians, but also among some post-Soviet protestants. The aim of this article is to deconstruct this myth in both a positive and negative sense.


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How to Cite

Searle, Joshua. 2023. “A Theological Case for Ukraine’s European Integration: Deconstructing the Myth of “Holy Russia” Vs. ‘Decadent Europe’”. Theological Reflections: Eastern European Journal of Theology 20 (2):15-30. https://doi.org/10.29357/2789-1577.2022.20.2.1.