Dmitry Popov 1
  • 1 Omsk Academy of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation, Komarova str. 7, Omsk, Russian Federation 644092

Katechon: On the Political and Theological Foundations of International Justice

2023, vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 13–25 [issue contents]
The paper examines the problems of international justice in its relation to one of the most significant concepts of Christian theology — the katechon. The main hypothesis of the article is that the katechon in international relations manifests itself as a balancing effect of a specific spatial order, expressed in the containment/transgression of forces aimed at the demarcation of “red lines”, and contributes to the displacement of the horizon for catastrophic events. In order to substantiate this hypothesis, a link has been drawn between the concept of “red lines” and the historically established international legal borders separating spheres of influence in world affairs and invariably expressing the idea of a threshold that separates order from chaos, whose transgression is perceived as a collapse of the established equilibrium. The “red lines” are related to the idea of international justice in three ways: as fixed legal boundaries (the nomos of the Earth); as a balance of forces and capabilities determined by the parties; and as rules for transgressing boundaries, which lead to the notion of just war. The analysis of the reasons for a just war leads to a katechonic threshold that can be crossed in the perspective of the loss of ideas of a “just enemy”, a just cause of war, a just war on both sides and the reduction of a law of war to an act of aggression, to a reactive response to crimes against humanity and the identification of the aggressor as a criminal. This model of just war entails the demonization of the enemy and translates the conflict into the Armageddon paradigm, which makes it possible to establish an essential link between the issues of war, international justice and katechon. The katechon, studied in the article on the basis of theological interpretations as an Empire (in particular, a Christian empire), righteousness, the power of divine grace, as well as the need to preach the Gospel around the world, appears in the political-theological paradigm as a factor restraining the forces of destruction. The restraint of the pure will to destroy allows us to see that the katechon fulfils not only an agonistic but also a liturgical function, the purpose of which is to maintain a continuous link between the content of culture, which is centered on the idea of humanity, and the actions of the actors in international relations. It is the preservation of humanity, based on the highest cultural values, that is the final “red line”, thanks to the inviolability of which international justice is preserved and the coming of the Judgment Day is restrained.
Citation: Popov D. (2023) Katechon: On the Political and Theological Foundations of International Justice [Katechon: On the Political and Theological Foundations of International Justice]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 22, no 4, pp. 13-25
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