A painting of the Nagasaki Martyrs by Cuzco School | Photo by Jim McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons
Part XXII: The Ukraine Crisis
History may repeat itself, and the Ukraine Crisis can become a modern-day version of the Seven Years’ War. But churches can help in shortening It.
The Russian invasion may not end immediately, even if the Kremlin will sue for peace. Why? Because the Russian bosses and their cronies will not give up their liberty — primarily if the people of Russia will stage a popular revolt and depose the present government. The Russian oligarchs and their Kremlin cronies will probably flee to a vassal (or allied) nation and continue the war, even by guerrilla warfare, inside Russia and Ukraine. They will presumably imitate the White Russians that carried on the fight after their emperor was captured and executed by the Bolsheviks in 1919.
According to reference materials, the Seven Years’ War resulted from an attempt by the Austrian Habsburgs to win back the province of Silesia, which had been taken from them by Frederick the Great of Prussia. Overseas-colonial struggles between Great Britain and France to control North America and India were also a cause of the war.
Google further says that the Seven Years’ War was a global conflict from 1756 until 1763. It pitted a coalition of Great Britain and its allies against an alliance of France and its partners. The war escalated from a regional conflict between Great Britain and France in North America, known today as the “French-and-Indian War.”
The History.com website says that the “Seven Years’ War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured Britain’s colonial and maritime supremacy and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots.” Please read a more comprehensive report on the Seven Years’ War,
But how can churches help in ending, or at least shortening the Ukraine Crisis? Here’s how: the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) can proclaim as “Venerable” or “Holy” all the Ukrainian Christians (both in military uniform or civilians) that die. Yes, all the victims were killed by the Russians and their foreign mercenaries — either in combat with or the almost indiscriminate carpet bombing by the Russian military in their invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian or volunteers that are not Christians can posthumously be “baptized” and honored as Christians — if their family approves of the honor.
Almost all of the victims of Russian cruelty can be categorized as “martyrs” for defending their motherland of Ukraine and their faith as a citizen of a Christian nation.
The Twenty Six Martyrs of Nagasaki can be used as examples. The martyrs were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597, in Nagasaki, Japan. Their martyrdom is especially significant in the history of the Catholic Church in Japan and the Philippines. A Filipino church lay worker, Lorenzo Ruiz, accompanied the three Spanish friar-missionaries assigned initially in the Philippines, then a Spanish colony. Almost all of them, including Lorenzo, were eventually proclaimed saints by the Vatican. Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila is the first Filipino Catholic saint.
“The Twenty-Six Martyrs of Nagasaki can be used as examples. The martyrs were a group of Catholics who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597, in Nagasaki, Japan. Their martyrdom is especially significant in the history of the Catholic Church in Japan and the Philippines.”
In official RCC procedures, there are three steps to sainthood: a candidate becomes “Venerable,” then “Blessed,” and then “Saint.” The BBC.com has a remarkable article about the process of being declared a Catholic saint.
There is no formal canonization process in the Orthodox Church. People of the Orthodox faith firmly believe God creates saints, not the church. A person recognized by a branch of the Orthodox Church as “holy” can receive prayers from people who ask the “saint” to intervene for them in heaven. Please read the process of canonization in the Orthodox Church at this link.
Google says that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate)-MP is one of the two-major Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical bodies in modern Ukraine, alongside the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
But if the Vatican and the OCU both declare the Christians that were “martyred” by the Russians as either “Venerable” or “Holy,” then the Christian world can rejoice that the souls of the deceased Ukrainians and volunteer-Christian soldiers, and civilian victims, are most-probably in heaven. Or at least in purgatory. Christians can also deduce that the soul of any Russian soldier, conscript, or mercenary that participates in the invasion and the killing of Ukrainians and foreigners on Ukrainian soil will not go to heaven. Ergo, one will presume the souls of these Russian troops and hired killers dying to go straight to hell.
When I took a 2-year Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC) at the Feati University in Manila in the 1960s, I learned a critical aspect of a military strategy called “psychological warfare” (psych war). What better “psych war” can be used than if a Ukrainian citizen or a volunteer dies in combat or a civilian perishes as a result of collateral damage – the deceased becomes “venerable” or “holy” and their souls go to heaven. Conversely, can anybody think of a worse “psych war” warning that the souls of Russian soldiers or mercenaries killed in Ukraine (and the members of the Russian-government cabal that ordered the invasion and indiscriminate murders) will go straight to hell? Yes, even if they survive the war and die of natural causes.
“Then Ukraine may be known in world history as the nation of saints and holy people. Like those shown by the martyrs of Nagasaki, it takes courage to choose bravery and face death instead of abandoning their faith in Christianity.”
This column bets that an overwhelming number of Russian conscripts (that are Orthodox Christians) will desert their Russian-Army units if they become aware that if they die in combat or not, their souls are hell-bound.
There are approximately just more than 10,000 saints in the RCC. Perhaps at the end of this presumably long Russian-Ukraine War, the OCU will have hundreds of thousands of “holy” faithful members. Then Ukraine may be known in world history as the nation of saints and holy people. Like those shown by the martyrs of Nagasaki, it takes courage to choose bravery and face death instead of abandoning their faith in Christianity. And becoming slaves of the godless Russian minority. Right now, even if they are not yet declared “Venerable or Holy,” tens of thousands of Ukrainians are absolutely Martyrs. Yes. God bless them and Ukraine.