Cover Osteuropa 2-4/2014

In Osteuropa 2-4/2014

Religion, Dynasty, and the First World War
The Russian Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy

Martin Schulze Wessel

Deutsche Fassung


In the Russian Empire and the Habsburg Empire, religion and politics were closely linked. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church were state churches. They bestowed sacred orders on the worldly rulers. In the First World War, they worked within the military by delivering war sermons and providing spiritual guidance. However, confessional wartime rhetoric was directed against segments of the empire’s own population and led to a decline in the church’s authority. Within the Habsburg Empire, military clergy were not celebrated as heroes. The Catholic Church also refrained from formulating political-religious war aims. For the Catholic Church, equating of political associations and religious associations was in the First World War no longer a plausible option, while the Russian Orthodox Church followed precisely this understanding.

(Osteuropa 2-4/2014, pp. 247–262)