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The tradition of Orthodox theology regarding issues of war and peace developed parallel to that of the Western Church, and its exponents came to many of the same conclusions. Like Catholicism, the Eastern Church has both a just war (justifiable war in Orthodox parlance) and a substantive peace tradition.

Tradition of Justifiable War

One must remember from the outset that Orthodox justifiable war tradition emerges from context of the Byzantine Empire—the eastern portion of the Roman Empire that remained an independent entity until 1453. The Byzantine Empire was officially a Christian state after the Church’s establishment by Theodosius the Great in 380. The Byzantine Empire continued the Roman Empire’s martial tradition and was in a state of war for most of its existence, most often defending itself ...

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