The role of religion in the war against Ukraine

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The role of religion in the war against Ukraine

The EARS dashboard shows key developments in the field of religion and society. Let’s have a look at how the war shaped the dashboard in 2022.

The EARS dashboard is a collection of summaries from European news articles on religion and society. By using the various tools the dashboard offers, like word clouds and timelines, we can gain new insights into the role religion plays in today’s societies.

The dashboard allows users to select timeframes, topics, global developments, countries, and entities of interest. In this article, we will choose a custom timeframe covering all of 2022. By doing so, we can use the tools and graphs in the dashboard to define key developments in the field of religion and society in 2022.

The selection of this timeframe results in 2,589 articles. These articles from all over Europe have been summarised in English, making them accessible to a broad audience.

The war against Ukraine made visible

The ‘Countries’ tab on the dashboard allows us to see which countries were covered most in the summaries. This concerns both the publication countries of the original articles and any referenced countries in these articles.

The image below, taken from the dashboard, shows which countries were covered most. It is clearly visible that both Russia and Ukraine have been mentioned a lot in the European news. Russia appeared in 601 summaries and Ukraine in 589.

This is not a surprise, given the many religious elements of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Earlier EARS articles have considered the role of Russian Orthodox Churches in the war, as well as the accountability of religious leaders. We have also analysed why the World Council of Churches was unlikely to expel the Russian Orthodox Church. On top of that, our articles considered the ethics of weapons, and the role of European churches in welcoming refugees.

How leadership and tension are always trending

In the ‘Timelines’ tab, we can see which topics were mentioned most often in the summaries on the dashboard. The topics of religious institutions, leadership, tension, identity, ethics, and traditions were most popular in 2022. From those, especially leadership and tension appeared in a large share of article summaries every month.

Again, many of the summaries tagged with these two keywords considered the war. For example, articles described how European leaders were praying for peace.[1] Other articles considered the Orthodox Church’s role in the war,[2] or calls from Pope Francis for solidarity with the Ukrainian people.[3]

Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, and Patriarch Kirill

Similar to the trending topics, the ‘Timelines’ tab also allows us to see trending institutions and individuals. It is not surprising that many of these directly relate to the war. Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill have played important roles in Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. This was illustrated by a large number of summaries in the dashboard from across Europe, including from Finland,[4] Poland,[5] and Greece.[6] Also the Russian Orthodox Church can be directly related to the war.

Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church consistently play an important role on the EARS dashboard. The pope regularly appears in the news on religion due to his key position in the Catholic faith. Back in 2020, EARS already published an article on his calls for action on many global issues. Also in 2022, Pope Francis voiced his opinion on a variety of topics, including the war against Ukraine,[7] [8] [9] [10] economic inequality,[11] [12] and abuse in the Church.[13] [14]

‘Ukraine’ was used the most

The word cloud generated on the dashboard supports the findings from the countries and timelines. The word ‘Ukraine’ was used the most in the summaries. Also ‘Pope Francis’, ‘Church’, and ‘Russian’ appear relatively often.

How our trending topics overlap

The five main trending topics shown in the timelines are also visualised in the Venn diagram. This enables us to see how the topics overlap. For example, we can see that both tension and leadership overlap with all of the other topics in the diagram. On the other hand, ethics mainly overlaps with leadership and tension, and does not overlap with religious institutions and identity. We can use the insights from this diagram to ask important questions. For example, the dashboard can provide answers to the question of how ethical religious leadership is. Alternatively, one could focus on the role religious institutions play in increasing or decreasing tension.

Learn more on the EARS dashboard

The EARS dashboard allows you to gain insights into a large number of topics. It is a free tool that allows you to make connections like those described above, and to find out about relationships between interesting subjects across Europe. Please visit the dashboard to learn more.

Anne Kamsteeg-Clerx

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[1] Gebed voor vrede in Oekraïne van Europese kerkleiders | Kerknet

[2] Ook de orthodoxe kerk speelt een rol in de oorlog in Oekraïne

[3] Paus vraagt solidariteit met bevolking van Oekraïne | Kerknet

[4] Venäjän ortodoksikirkon patriarkka Kirill onnitteli Putinia ”isänmaan puolustamisesta” – tutkijan mukaan patriarkka myötäilee Putinin puhetapaa – Kirkko ja kaupunki

[5] Tuż przed inwazją na Ukrainę patriarcha Moskwy mówił rosyjskim żołnierzom, że wybrali słuszną drogę –

[6] Πατριάρχης Μόσχας: Για τον πόλεμο στην Ουκρανία φταίνε τα … gay parades! – Orthodox Times

[7] Zichtbaar aangedane paus bidt voor Oekraïne: ‘Met Gods hulp is vrede mogelijk’ – Katholiek Nieuwsblad

[8] Paus vraagt solidariteit met bevolking van Oekraïne | Kerknet

[9] Папа приветствовал Варфоломея I: вместе ради мира в Украине – РИСУ

[10] Paus Franciscus vernietigend kritisch voor Russische oorlog | Kerknet

[11] El Papa pide a los empresarios españoles “transformar el rostro de la economía” para que esté atenta a la ética y a los pobres

[12] François: “Il y a assez de nourriture dans le monde pour que personne ne dorme le ventre vide!” – Le site de l’Eglise Catholique en Belgique

[13] El Papa, a la víctima del ‘caso Gaztelueta’: “Te pido perdón en nombre de la Iglesia”

[14] Papa: Oprostite zbog crkvenog seksualnog zlostavljanja djece u Kanadi. Nikad više –