North Central College in the News

North Central College’s religious studies professor quoted in National Catholic Reporter

Mar 27, 2023

Perry Hamalis shared insights on what Catholic and Orthodox churches have to say about the Ukraine War

The one-year anniversary of the Ukraine War has already come and gone, but as military efforts continue overseas, many have been left discussing the overall impact the war has on today’s society. Specifically, the religious implications.

In December, Perry Hamalis, Cecelia Schneller Mueller Professor of Religion at North Central College, was quoted in the National Catholic Reporter, where he shared commentary regarding what Catholic and Orthodox churches have to say about the war unfolding in Ukraine.

"From an Orthodox Christian perspective, every act of killing is an act of fratricide, thus every war is a fratricidal war. The additional fact, in the case of Ukraine, that Russia and Ukraine are nations whose citizens overwhelmingly self-identify as Christians, only amplifies the fratricidal nature of this horrific war," Hamalis explained. "The recent Russian-born Orthodox saint, St. Sophrony (Sakharov) the Athonite, writes, 'wars are sin par excellence' and he reiterates a broader teaching within Orthodox ethics, 'Life in the world is based on force, on violence. The Christian has the opposite aim. Force does not belong to eternal life. No act imposed by force can save us.' "

"Orthodox are much more skeptical of the ways that a 'theory' of just war can easily become either a way for states to propagandistically justify unjust wars or, perhaps more importantly, a way for soldiers to deceive themselves about the effects of war upon their hearts and minds," Hamalis continued. "Since, for the Orthodox, even a war that meets all the 'just war criteria' and that is fought according to just war principles does moral and spiritual damage to all who are involved."

Click here to read the full story in the National Catholic Reporter.

Perry Hamalis headshot