What does the Crimean conflict between Russian and Ukraine have to do with faith? More than the news headlines might indicate. Besides the fact that the new Ukrainian president is a Baptist pastor, Christian history in this struggle dates back to the 19th century.

Philip Jenkins breaks down the 160 year Christian history behind what is happening in Ukraine for Christianity Today. Jenkins sees the Crimean War of 1853-1856 as a pivotal moment in the religious affairs of Europe.

He says that understanding the role of faith in the history of the region is essential to understanding the conflict and the possibility of violence and war. "Without knowing that religious element, moreover—without a sense of its Christian background—we will miss major themes in modern global affairs, in the Middle East and beyond." This war " … grew out of the situation of Christians under Muslim rule in the Middle East, and specifically the control of Jerusalem's holy places."

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