Tag

Fr. Philip LeMasters

Orthodox Perspectives on Peace, War and Violence

[abstract: Recent international conferences on Orthodox peace ethics held in Bucharest (Romania), Leros (Greece) and Saidnaya (Syria) drew participants from around the world and provided unique opportunities for Orthodox scholars to reflect on common themes such as peacemaking, the definition of “just peace” and the moral and spiritual challenges posed by warfare and the use of violence in a variety of contexts. Though the consultations revealed diversity on many dimensions of the application of Orthodox tradition, a point of consensus was that Eastern Christianity interprets issues of war and peace in distinctive ways that do not align perfectly with the dominant categories of Christianity in the West. The experience and teaching of Orthodox Christianity do not fit neatly within the familiar categories of pacifism, just war theory and holy war. Instead, they provide pastoral resources for the pursuit of a dynamic praxis of peace, the manifestation of which takes various forms in light of the set of circumstances that the Orthodox community faces.1 This article will describe the distinctive characteristics of Orthodox moral theology's understanding of peace, war and violence in the context of the church's theology, canon law and liturgical life.]