Religious historian Diana Butler Bass, PhD in Religious Studies, Duke University (and see, also, below) is quoted by Prabhash K Dutta in an article in India Today - titled 'Is there a religious angle to the Invasion of Ukraine ?

In effect, the world is witnessing a new version of an old tale — the quest to recreate an imperial Christian state, a neo-medieval “Holy Roman Empire” — uniting political, economic, and spiritual power into an entity to control the earthly and heavenly destiny of European peoples.

The dream gripping some quarters of the West is for a coalition to unify religious conservatives into a kind of supra-national neo-Christendom. The theory is to create a partnership between American evangelicals, traditionalist Catholics in western countries, and Orthodox peoples under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church in a common front against three enemies — decadent secularism, a rising China, and Islam — for a glorious rebirth of moral purity and Christian culture.

This sounds to me to be a manifestation (I am not saying it is the absolute manifestation, just one manifestation) of the combination of two beasts, one that rises up out of the sea (of nations) an entity formed of overall humanity, and a second that rises up out of the earth, out of the earthiness of humanity in Adam, to constitute a system of both secular and religious administration that is in opposition to the body of the true church which seeks isolation from this 'civilisation' to be separated unto Christ, see Revelation 12 and 13.

Is Dr Bass correct in her view of current trends ?

And if she is correct, could this be a further development in what is prophesied by John ?

In 2015, Diana Butler Bass was one of the keynote speakers at the Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Salt Lake City. She has preached at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, the Washington National Cathedral, The Riverside Church in New York City, and many other churches in the United States and Canada. Wikipedia

  • I have flagged this question as opinion based.
    – Luke Hill
    Mar 3, 2022 at 18:35
  • 2
    As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I would say that is not a universal view within Orthodoxy. There is an element of truth to Russia seeing itself as the third Rome, though. For some historical context, see smile.amazon.com/Making-Holy-Russia-Nationalism-Revolution/dp/… and also smile.amazon.com/Holy-Rus-Rebirth-Orthodoxy-Russia/dp/…
    – Dan
    Mar 4, 2022 at 3:36
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    There is a religious angle to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but the roots go back a long time, and were most recently exacerbated with the grant of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Dec 2018/Jan 2019 by the Ecumenical Patriarch.
    – Dan
    Mar 4, 2022 at 3:46
  • @Dan Many thanks for your comments. If you would like to formulate an answer I would appreciate it and would certainly consider up-voting and accepting an answer of the calibre of your comments. Regards.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 4, 2022 at 9:47
  • Thanks, @NigelJ but for various reasons I don’t answer much on SE these days
    – Dan
    Mar 5, 2022 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


To give an answer delineating a distinctly religious angle to the current conflict, without injecting my personal opinion, let me use information from this source: Historian J. Eugene Clay (via The Conversation):

Two distinct church denominations claim to be the true Ukrainian Orthodox church.

The Ukrainian Orthodox church - Moscow Patriarchate is a branch of the Russian Orthodox church. Its Patriarch - Kirill of Moscow - has often spoken on the ties that link the people of Ukraine and Russia. Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine have the blessing of the Russian Orthodox church.

The Orthodox church of Ukraine - only formed in 2018 after decades of work towards a national church. It emphasises its independence from Russia. It was recognised as an equal member of the worldwide communion of Orthodox churches by Bartholomew I of Constantinople (he's the current 'spiritual leader' of Eastern Orthodoxy.)

The new, self-governing denomination is seen as a challenge to Moscow. The Moscow Patriarchate broke communion with Constantinople after Bartholomew recognised this new denomination. Putin has written that Russians and Ukrainians are one people and should be united by one church. He apparently claimed that the creation of the new Orthodox church of Ukraine was an attack on 'spiritual unity'.

Unsurprisingly, Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic leaders think in terms of the Russian Orthodox church being complicit in Putin's aggression towards Ukraine.

This was reported in the current March edition of "The Record", page 12, published by The Free Church of Scotland. This particular item is a journalistic report that does not take any sides nor does it offer any comment on biblical interpretations. Its "World News" pages bring to the attention of readers world-wide events that deal with religious developments (usually persecution of Christians) in various places, which events rarely get a mention on secular news outlets.

I have not studied what Dr Bass has said and would offer no comment on her interpretation, but the public does need to know of the religious intrigues going on now, whose roots go far back into history. The book of the Revelation given to the apostle John to record (at the end of the first century) warns of both a political system and a religious system (that seem to go hand-in-glove) showing the disasters that will befall both, for they are ungodly, and they actively persecute God's people.

Those prophecies clearly foretell 'plagues' being poured out from heaven on an increasingly evil word, but the nations suffering them do not repent: they curse God all the more-so. There is to be a final batch of plagues (seven of them), worse than anything before, and the Revelation lets us understand that at back of all the turmoil on earth are demonic expressions invisibly leading the nations on to an all-out war of rebellion against God. This will be the pen-ultimate event before the glorified Christ suddenly returns to usher in the Day of Judgment and Resurrection. But the people of God have nothing to fear because they have been identified (marked, spiritually) so that when the final harvest of the earth begins, they are in the first reaping (to eternal safety) which is instantly followed by the second reaping of the 'vine of the earth', for crushing. I'm just summarising bits of what the book of the Revelation says, knowing different groups have different interpretations of how (and when) that will all work out. As the question asks for comment on this prophecy given to John, my comment is this very brief summary above.

With regard to your main question, current religious desires for unity (and not necessarily confined to conservative religious groups either) are being seen now, as never before. But, given God's warnings in the Revelation, such unity will serve only to unite both religious and political elements against the people of God who refuse to be compromised into allegiance to worldly systems, for their allegiance is only to God and Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit guiding them to remain unspotted from this world.

  • Valuable insight into global trends. Appreciated. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 4, 2022 at 15:04

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