“I show the church a different face than Russia and Putin.” Reverend protests daily in Washington | iROZHLAS

Parts of the Orthodox Church are distancing themselves from its Russian branch, which supports the war in Ukraine. Patriarch Kirill is an ally of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church actively participates in his regime’s propaganda. Along with the split within Orthodoxy, which some experts say is unprecedented, members of other churches are also reacting to the situation. Among them is the Reverend Ethan Bishop-Henchman of Washington.




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Since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine, the Reverend Ethan Bishop-Henchman has been in Washington for a few hours a day to demonstrate quietly.

The Episcopal Deacon, an Anglican Protestant Church, stands in the street outside the Ukrainian Embassy and has a message of support for Ukraine or a text of the Archbishop’s Prayer for Peace and Justice on a large sign.

Hear the full report with the Reverend from Washington, who quietly protests every day

“I think it’s important that as an American I express my support for people who are fighting for freedom, democracy and an open society,” he told Radiožurnál.

“Ukrainians are not just fighting for themselves, but for everyone who is against aggression and authoritarianism. But I also think it is important that I am here as a member of the clergy. Church should stand up and show the world a different face, in opposition to Putin’s Russian Orthodox Church,” suggests Ethan.

He is bothered by the attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church and the way Russian President Putin abuses Christianity to support the war.


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“It weaponizes the church, and not only does it cover up violence and war. But also to further marginalize and oppress vulnerable groups like LGBTQ. “They’re so scared of an open society supporting these people” , said the Reverend.

“I am gay myself and here in the photo I have a parade of gays and lesbians in Kyiv from 2021. This has upset Putin and church leaders in Russia. So Putin is not only against freedom and democracy, but also against sexual minorities, which is why I consider it important to publicly support them as a Christian and a member of the clergy.”

To Ukrainian churches

Spiritual support for Ukrainians is also evident in American churches. Those run by the Ukrainian community organize collections and send money home to fight Russia.

Some people, who usually go to Sunday Mass elsewhere, have temporarily swapped their church for a Ukrainian to be with Ukrainian Americans at a difficult time, talk to them about how they feel and pray alongside them.


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“I have friends who, out of solidarity, went to church in a Ukrainian Catholic church. I express my solidarity by showing the public another face of the Church than Russia and Putin do,” says the deacon of the American Episcopal Church, who, as the only beacon, publicly demonstrates for several hours a day in favor of Ukraine and against the pro-rhetoric rhetoric of Russian Orthodoxy.

“I know a lot of Americans feel the same, people hug me here or wave to me from the car. Some even come to pray. Even at our masses, we always pray and honor Ukraine. At first, the people felt helpless and horrified, so now they are looking for any way to express their support,” he adds.

Jan Kaliba

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