In this article I will try to collect the statements and words of relevant relgious leaders regarding the current war in Ukraine. Please feel free to submit any statements you cannot find on here in the comments section, with links please. Any highlights in bold are my own, and intended to point out key passages. Over these two months the list has become very long, and unfortunately Blogger does not provide tools to make it more user-friendly. All statements are published in order of date, so a helpful tip can be to click on the link to the hierarch below the one you want to consult, and scroll upward.
Neste artigo vou juntar as palavras e declarações de líderes religiosos relevantes sobre a actual guerra na Ucrânia. Agradeço que submetam quaisquer declarações em falta nos comentários, com links, por favor. Quaisquer destaques nos textos são da minha responsabilidade, com o objectivo de sublinhar pontos chave. Todos os comentários de líderes internacionais serão postados em inglês. Para compreender melhor as dimensões religiosas deste conflito, leiam este artigo. Ao longo destes dois meses esta lista tornou-se muito extensa e infelizmente o Blogger não tem ferramentas que tornem a pesquisa mais fácil. Todas as declarações estão por ordem de data, por isso uma dica útil é, caso queiram ler as mais recentes declarações de um hierarca, clicarem no seguinte e andarem para cima.
Beloved and God protected Ukrainian people!
Once again, our homeland is in danger!
The treacherous enemy, despite his own obligations and assurances, breaking the basic norms of international law, as an unjust aggressor set foot on Ukrainian soil, bringing with him death and devastation.
Our Ukraine, which the world rightly called "bloody lands", which so many times was sprinkled with the blood of martyrs and fighters for the freedom and independence of its people, calls us today to stand up for our homeland, our dignity before God and humanity, our right to exist and the right to choose our future.
It is our inherent right and a sacred duty for everyone to protect their land and their people, their state and everything that is most dear to us: their family, their language and culture, their history and their spiritual world! We are peaceful people who love children of all nations with Christian love, regardless of origin or beliefs, national or religious affiliation. We do not encroach on someone else`s property and do not threaten anyone, but we do not have the right to give our own to anyone! At this historic moment, the voice of our conscience calls us all as one to stand up for the free, united and independent Ukrainian state!
The history of the last century teaches us that all those who started global wars were the ones who lost them, and the idolaters of war brought only destruction and decline to their own states and peoples. We believe that the Lord God is with us at this historic moment! He, in Whose hands lies the fate of the whole world and every person, in particular, is always on the side of the victim of unfair aggression, on the side of the suffering and enslaved. It is he who declares his Holy Name in the history of every nation, catches and throws down the powerful of this world by their own pride, the conquerors by the illusion of their omnipotence, the proud and bold by their own self-confidence. It is he who grants victory over evil and death. The victory of Ukraine will be a victory of God`s power over the baseness and insolence of man! This was always the case, so it is now and so it be!
Our Holy Martyr Church has always been with her people, it remains here for them and stands by! This Church, which has already known death and resurrection, as the Body of the Risen Christ over whom death has no power, was bestowed by the Lord to his people in the baptismal waters of the Dnieper. Since then, the history of our people and their Church, the history of their liberation struggle, the history of the embodiment of God`s word and the manifestation of his spirit of truth in our culture have been intertwined forever. And at this dramatic moment, our Church, as our Mother and Teacher, remains with its children to protect them and serve them in the name of God! God is our hope and from Him will be our victory!
Today we solemnly proclaim: "We will lay down our souls and bodies for our freedom!” Today, with one heart and mouth, we pray: "Great and one God, save Ukraine for us!’
Holy Righteous, Martyrs and Confessors of the Ukrainian land, pray and intercede for us before God!
The blessing of the Lord may be upon you!
Together we are a nation that builds and defends peace in Ukraine and the world, at the price of our own blood.
Truly the words of Christ are being fulfilled. “No one has greater love than this: that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” We see that not hatred, but love conquers. Love gives birth to heroes, but hatred to criminals.
That is why I encourage all of us: let us learn to love in this tragic time. Let us not be taken captive by hatred. Let us not use the language of hatred. The one who hates the enemy is already overcome by him. We will conquer with the power of love, for our homeland, for God, and for our neighbour.
Let us pray not only for peace in Ukraine, but let us pray for our enemies, for their conversion, for the conversion of Russia, as Our Lady of Fatima requested of us.
Daily video message
To you, dear children, daughters and sons of our people, I say: we are waiting for you back home, when there will be a peaceful sky over Ukraine. Your mother Church will accompany you, help you where the hardships of war will take you.
I want to thank and bless the Ukrainian army, our soldiers, girls and boys who defend peace in Ukraine, thanks to whom today, on the ninth day of the war, we are still alive, thanks to which Ukraine wins, Ukraine stands, Ukraine fights.
Today we feel that Archangel Michael is fighting for Ukraine with the whole heavenly army. We are praying today: Archangel Michael and all the heavenly army, all the heavenly forces fight for Ukraine, overthrow the devil who attacks us, kills us, brings destruction and death.”
Daily video message
We pray for the enemies who came to our land to kill. We pray that the Lord God will stop their murderous hand. God bless Ukraine! God, save your children! God, forgive our sins and grant Ukraine victory!
This word about God's mercy, about God's movement towards man, sounds especially in our ears during the war. Because war is a time of cruelty. This is a time when charity seems empty. During the war, the word about hatred and anger is more understandable, that the enemy must be destroyed in order for him to leave our land. Indeed, when the enemy comes to kill us, there is no other way to stop him than to act with the same military force to repel the murderous hand of the assailant. But in this great tribulation, when God's mercy seems to be a distant or naive Christian belief, we now feel the full force of God's word, which "breaks" into the space of hatred and death, sown with sin.
Today we ask: God, have mercy on Ukraine! On the one hand, we are now asking the world to close the skies over us with deadly Russian missiles and bombs, but on the other hand, we, as Christians, must ask God to open the skies over Ukraine for God's mercy.
In order to win, you need to believe – we realize that. Because faith gives strength. We must believe in God, who is able to overcome our paralysis, which does not allow our body, in particular state or national, to act effectively and resist external aggression.
We need the closeness and mercy of the Lord God. God's mercy heals, and war is always wounds, mutilation, and suffering. That is why this Sunday the Church proclaims the good news that God is coming to us even as we experience pain, rift, and death. He sees our suffering and has mercy on us.
Today, every Ukrainian must accept God's mercy. Because we are now in danger of death. We do not know what will happen to us in a minute, what a deadly face of war we will see, even after leaving this temple. That is why it is so important, according to the traditional teaching of the Church, that we live in God's grace, be reconciled to God, have no grave sin on our conscience, and be ready to die at any moment. We must hurry to confession.
May God's mercy be the strength of Ukraine. May God's mercy, which unites us with God, give us the inner living, healthy strength to overcome. May God's mercy heal the wounds of Ukraine inflicted on us today by the enemy. Let these words: "I say to you: Arise, take up your bed and go to your home" (Mark 2:11) – be the words of God that will give us the victory of Ukraine: take yours, get up and be at home, in your homeland, God to you, this Ukrainian land!
Daily video message
In the temporarily occupied territories real crimes against humanity are being committed. We receive daily news about humanitarian catastrophes, murders, looting, rape. But even there, in the south of Ukraine, peaceful people are protesting against the occupying power – people are protesting against rapists and murderers. People show that Kherson and other occupied cities are Ukraine. They want to live in an independent Ukrainian free state.
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Today, I especially want to address Ukraine and the world, all statesmen of the world’s nations, to the leaders of religious communities, churches, denominations. The greatest pain of Ukraine is the city of Mariupol.
Remember, a few weeks ago we said that we were struck by these mass graves of civilians, which we saw for the first time since World War II and Stalin’s repressions. So, today I want to tell you that the city of Mariupol is covered with the lifeless bodies of hundreds, thousands of people who have no one to bury them.
So today I want to raise my voice in the name of this heroic, dying city: Let us save it! Let us defend life! Today, this city needs humanitarian corridors. It needs even the international community to help break through the siege and bring humanitarian goods, which we have, to those who are slowly dying of hunger today.
Last week, these people survived on snow that was melting and could thereby have drinking water. Today there is no more snow in Mariupol. Let us save this City of Mary! Let us do everything to save this city, which really is today a place of clash of good and evil, a place where the fate of Ukraine, Europe, and the world is decided.
Sermon during prayer service
Ukraine's victory is the victory of good over evil, the power of God over the cruelty and lust of the invader. Victory is already beginning, and we can feel it, experience it, even during this prayer.
A special tradition of such prayer is preserved in Kyiv. Apparently, everyone knows the ancient princely belief about the Kyiv Oranta, which is also called the Indestructible Wall. Our Lady of Oranta is an ancient mosaic of the 11th century, which depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary in full length with her hands raised in prayer. It is an icon of the prayer of intercession. As long as the Kyiv Oranta stands, as long as the Immovable Wall is between us, God is in the middle of his city, as it is written in the apse of St. Sophia Cathedral, as long as the city stands, the people and Ukraine stand.
We feel that the Blessed Virgin Mary stands today in prayer over Kyiv and the mountains of Kyiv, and it is in this prayer that we join her. Before Her eyes, which have been looking at us from eternity, various events in history have taken place. We know that during the destruction of Kyiv during the invasion of Khan Batu, the whole city was destroyed, but Oranta in Hagia Sophia remained as a living unconquered root, the core from which everything is reborn. She saw the invasion of the city of Moscow princes, communist invaders Vorobyov and many others, but always incessantly raised his hands in prayer over his people.
By joining the Immovable Wall in this prayer, we prepare for a special event to be held on Friday. According to the petitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which she proclaimed in the early twentieth century in Fatima, Pope Francis together with the bishops of the Catholic Church around the world will dedicate Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Mother of God asked to pray for the conversion of Russia, because otherwise the evil that will come out of it will destroy other countries. Earlier it was said that we should not talk about the Fatima revelation, so as not to offend Russia, but now the Holy Father wanted to pay attention to this request of the Virgin for consecration to defeat the evil that comes to our lands from that part of the world and Europe.
Dedication of Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is something we know. At one time, Prince Yaroslav the Wise, having built the Cathedral of St. Sophia and created a mosaic of the Immovable Wall, dedicated his city, his people and his State to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And when the war in eastern Ukraine began, on April 6, 2014, we restored this dedication of our people and State to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the enemy was stopped by the power of God's truth and His light. We believe that this dedication of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, carried out in the unity of all bishops of the Ecumenical Church under the leadership of the successor of the Apostle Peter, will be the highlight of victory over evil, the devil and his servants.
May this evil be defeated in the north, south, west and east of Ukraine. We know that the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a symbol of Her holy and pure will, which she showed when she said "yes" to the Archangel Gabriel. " Let it be to me according to your word " (Luke 1:38). At that moment, the Blessed Virgin Mary crushed the head of the devil, an apocalyptic beast that is raging again, attacking Ukraine from Russia.
May this dedication be the moment when the head of this serpent, by the power of prayer of the Mother of God herself, the Immovable Wall of Kyiv, will be raised again in Ukraine! We believe in this and we pray for it. We say: "Holy Mother of God, save us!"
Daily video message
The Ukrainian fight, the war in Ukraine, poses deep moral questions before the world, which say that one can never call evil good, and good evil. Therefore, we say that today the war of Russia against Ukraine has a great spiritual dimension. It is a great opposition of the newest manifestation of good – the God's truth, and evil – the devil and his angels.
It is never possible to reach an agreement, to cooperate with this evil that is coming out of Russia today. And that is why we must pray for its conversion, for the eradication of that evil, so that it, as the Mother of Fatima said, does not destroy other states, does not become the cause of another world war. As Christians, we have a duty to pray for our enemies
Words spoken during consecration of Ukraine to Mary
Each of you will tell your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that it was a moment of victory; the moment, when we put the destiny of Ukraine into the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Russia was entrusted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary because the Mother of God asked for this act to be made, since from that land evil would spread throughout the world and destroy nations, bring suffering to people. We are praying for our enemies so that the Lord stops their murderous hand. And here, in Zarvanytsia, in communion with the Holy Father, we entrusted our Ukraine to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Her Immaculate Heart, because we know that today She, the Mother of God, is with Ukraine, with our suffering people. Today, our destiny is in safe mother’s hands
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We used to talk so much about unity – about church unity, national unity, even political unity – about unity, as if it were some kind of dream. And today, this dream has become a reality. We see how the country is united in the goal of defeating the enemy that is pounding Ukrainian soil. We see that everyone feels the mandate of his own conscience, to stand, endure, and be victorious.
When we say ‘our country’, we mean all of the inhabitants of Ukraine, regardless of their national, ethnic, church, or religious affiliation, or even if they live within the borders of Ukraine, or beyond them. We feel that victory is a joint effort. And in this national unity we sense a foretaste of victory
Daily video message
Everyone who respects God's commandment "Thou shalt not steal" yet sees the Russian occupier looting today, robbing ordinary people, taking away the last things and dooming people to starvation, must side with Ukraine. Everyone who respects God's commandment "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife" and sees this occupier humiliating and raping the women of Ukraine in the eyes of their children cannot stay neutral but must side with Ukraine.
Make your choice! Take the side of an innocent victim of the unjust aggression, not someone who has conceived of imposing their rules on Ukraine and the whole world and is threatening with the Third World War!
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Do not be afraid to do good! Do not let the devil intimidate you, lead you astray from the path of Christian and universal righteousness! Today, Russia is threatening all those who want to do good to Ukraine. Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to do good! Do not be afraid to be in solidarity with those who are suffering! Since good has its power and always wins. Let us combat the fear of the devil and it will leave us.
However, Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is struggling. Even more, the Ukrainian army is liberating our cities and villages, and our people amaze the whole world with their courage and ability to fight. We really feel that this war is a patriotic war, although senseless and undesirable one. But we are protecting and defending our people and Homeland
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More and more we begin to feel the immediate consequences of this war. A war that leads to mass murder. We see how the enemy ruthlessly destroys our cities and villages, executes peaceful civilians, has regard neither for the spiritual nor the cultural heritage of the Ukrainian people.
We are just beginning to see more profoundly the consequences of this war. War always brings destruction. Whole cities and villages have turned into ghost towns. Where there was once a flourishing intellectual, spiritual, and civic life, today there are fires and blustering wind. War always brings hunger, impoverishment of the people. You and I must be ready to overcome these consequences in one way or another.
Everyone is looking for reasons: How is it so? Where does the strength of Ukrainians come from? Why do they give their lives so courageously?
We can say this today: Ukraine is defending the truth, fighting for the truth. She fights for the fact that human life has its dignity, it is priceless. And just to destroy it or make it a tool, a hostage in the politics of certain political criminals is unacceptable.
Excerpts from video-conference with the Pontifical Oriental Institute
In Russian-controlled territories, our compatriots have their passports confiscated, issued temporary documents, and sent to Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East, as far as Japan's coast, without the right to leave for the next two years. This reminds us of the deportations of Josef Stalin.
Russian bombs are constantly being planted in this city. In one month of the war, 1,300 missiles were shot at Ukraine (30 were dropped on Syria in 11 years of the war), and 200,000 Russian soldiers entered Ukraine.
Daily video message
We see that the struggle of Ukraine, the struggle of the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggressor, has all the hallmarks of a spiritual struggle. Every great war is accompanied by a great lie. And it is done in the same way to capture, imprison, occupy our minds and our hearts, and to paralyze our will.
Spiritual struggle is characterized by the fact that the devil, first of all, tries to instil in us his thoughts in various ways, his propaganda, his intimidation. Then, the next stage, a person begins to dialogue with that sinful proposition, with that sinful suggestion. And from this begins the struggle within our minds, our hearts, the street battles within the human person with the evil that is trying to capture us. And then, if we continue to succumb, then comes the consent of our will to evil, and comes the internal, sinful occupation, enslavement, passion, sin.
In order to win this internal struggle, first of all, one must realize that one cannot have a dialogue with sin, with the devil. It must be rejected and conquered, as Pope Francis recently proclaimed in Sunday’s catechesis. In order to resist hostile ideology, in order to expel the devil, first of all from our minds, hearts, then from our homes and from our land, we must first be aware of the lie. And so we must resist, with all our strength and will. And then will come the eradication, liberation, then there will come freedom.
Today, in particular, in the days of Lent, I call on all to wage an internal spiritual struggle with the devil and his servants. If you feel that certain news that you read or see on television is news that tries to captivate your mind, will, or feelings, trying to become the inner occupier of your person, know that this propaganda is a suggestion of evil. And then let us resist. It is so important to realize that we can overcome, not by our own strength, but by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit.
Daily video message
Today in Ukraine, the sin of Cain is being committed. The innocent blood of Abel is crying out from the Ukrainian land to the heavens. Today the Lord is crying out to our murderers, to the Cains of the third millennium, saying: “What have you done? The blood of your brother is crying out to me from the earth.”
I call upon the whole world to hear the voice of blood crying out from the Ukrainian lands to the heavens, the voice of the blood of those innocently killed civilians, women, children, and elderly.
We believe that the Lord God will receive these innocent victims as a sacrifice of redemption for our sins and so that there might be peace in our homeland. These tens of thousands of innocently killed people will one day stand at the Last Judgement as witnesses and accusers of our murderers.
Words spoken during visit to Irpin, Bucha and Hostomel
It’s very difficult to even speak. Their blood cries out from this place, from this earth, to heaven. And a Christian heart, a good ear, must hear that blood’s cry. Why has this happened? For what? It’s clear that these are young people, whose lives were taken. We came here to pray for their eternal peace.
Sermon on Feast of Annunciation
War is bad news, the worst thing that can happen to a person, to a country, to a nation, to the whole world.
Is it possible to celebrate the Annunciation, surrounded by bad news about the war? If so, what does that mean for us? At this time, when the enemy has trod on our land and made us cry, God is saying "rejoice"! Is that possible?
Rejoice, - not because you already have a human solution to resolving grief, but because God himself is embodied in your history, even in your grief and in your weeping. Today in Ukraine, God weeps with us in order to take away our weeping, and to share with us his ultimate eternal joy.
We saw how the enemy army began pressing on to Kyiv, and it is as if nature itself had begun to fight against them. The Ukrainian land itself, the rivers of Ukraine, and even the radiation in the Chornobyl zone... The power of Most-High is strangely manifest in the struggle of Ukraine, which is fighting against evil
Daily video message
Yesterday we learned that Russia brought mobile crematorium trucks – together with its artillery, missiles and heavy weapons – to Mariupol, where throughout the day and night, they burn the innocent civilians killed.
Only during World War II in Majdanek, Auschwitz, and other famous Nazi concentration camps, has Europe witnessed this type of crematorium near civilian cities. The smoke of crematoria again rises to heaven from the Ukrainian land.
Daily video message
During that prayer I asked myself, I asked God, ‘God, what does it mean to love You and love one’s neighbour?’ Standing at this mass grave, seeing the lifeless arms of our murdered brothers and sisters, I realized an important thing. To love one's neighbour means to be bound together with them - to feel that we are human, belonging to the same human race. And there, where he or she lies resting in the mass grave, I can rest there as well. We have a common vocation, a common fate. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we belong to the same human race.
But let us love God, who is the source of life, not death. We ask our loving God that we may truly feel our oneness with our brothers and sisters, even to learn to love our enemies. And to love the enemy means to stop his murderous hand, to take away his weapons, not to give him the opportunity to kill. Let us ask, that in the circumstances of hatred and murder, we know how to love God and our neighbour, and remain human.
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Speaking with people here in the Kyiv region, one can feel that many people, many men in even territorial defence, are afraid that victory over the enemy will come without their participation, and after the liberation of the Kyiv region and the Chernihiv region, they are begging, begging to go where there are battles.
In our military enlistment offices there are queues of people wishing to defend their homeland. The people stood up to defend their homeland.
Statements during interview with Espresso TV
Looking at the atrocities they committed in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and how they treated churches. Moscow Patriarchate in this area, we cannot call them Christians.
I do not want to judge or evaluate anyone, but if the actions testify to a person's faith, then we do not recognize the Christian position by the actions of the occupiers.
For us, the real truce will be the victory of Ukraine, when we get rid of the occupier. We pray and think about it, we live and serve for it. I believe that such a victory and such a peace, a just peace, will come,
On the proposal of having a Russian and a Ukrainian woman carry the cross together, on the 12th Station of the Way of the Cross in Rome
I consider such an idea untimely, ambiguous and such that it does not take into account the context of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. For the Greek Catholics of Ukraine, the texts and gestures of the XIII station of this Way of the Cross are incomprehensible and even offensive, especially in the context of the expected second, even bloodier attack of Russian troops on our cities and villages. I know that our Roman Catholic brothers share these thoughts and experiences.
Daily video message
We are now exposing the heinous crimes of sexual violence as a weapon against civilians, innocent people. Hundreds of cases of rape of women, men and children ... Yesterday our President told about a case of rape of a baby. We ask ourselves: God, how can we remain human in the midst of that hell?
During the war, we see that sexuality is not used for love, but for war. Who would have imagined that sexuality could be turned into a weapon of humiliation of another, weaker person and an instrument of violence. We understand that only by God's power we can prevent distortion of our human way of communication and life.
God bless our men and women. Bless our spouses. Bless those who, even during the war, cultivate marital love, fidelity, inseparability of married life. Bless all those who are not afraid to have children even during the war. Lord, save all those who turn the gift of your sexuality into an instrument of war and sexual violence. God, save Ukraine from sin, from hatred towards those who despise us. Give us the strength to love. God, bless our army, bless our heroic Ukrainian people.
Daily video message
Today we see how stolen property from Ukrainians is traded in Russia and Belarus. I want to remind everyone that the one who buys what is stolen or looted is an accomplice to the crime. The stolen thing becomes coal in the hands of the one who holds it, and burns those hands. Such a people, such people are thieves, will never have God's blessing and will die in poverty.
We saw how the occupiers around Kyiv, in Chernihiv region, prepared people for famine, did not give them the opportunity to work, forbade them to go to the fields that were mined, and just cynically killed livestock. We have seen the war crimes of looting, blatant robbery, when all property was taken from killed and wounded Ukrainians, when a person's life was less valuable in the eyes of the occupiers than what they could steal from this person.
We ask the Lord God to bless Ukraine with prosperity and wealth, to give us the strength to rebuild everything destroyed, to give us the strength to feed the children of our people, to give us the strength to work on our land, which is ready to give us generous fruit. With our strength, vitality, respect for other people's property, we want to win our victory as well.
God bless Ukraine. Bless all those who know how to respect others and have their own. God bless our army, which protects the life and well-being of Ukraine. God bless Ukraine as the breadbasket of Europe, as the spiritual treasure of the whole world
Daily video message
I want to thank all the journalists who are coming to Ukraine these days to show the world the cruel, difficult truth about the crimes of Russians on our land. Many of them were killed and wounded. May God pay a hundredfold to all media workers who help modern man to know the truth and then follow it.
Today I especially want to thank all the witnesses of Russian crimes who have the courage to testify and speak about it.
God bless Ukraine! Bless the prophets of our time who speak to the conscience of modern man and reveal to him the eternal truth about God present among us. God, bless Ukraine, which lives and dies for God's truth today!
On Ukrainian Radio, speaking about reconciliation
Today, during the active phase of this unjust war, especially when we are all waiting for another offensive by Russian troops on Ukraine, such things are impossible in principle. After all, to put up with it, you need to be alive. When the active phase of such a deadly war continues, it is untimely to talk about it. They must first stop killing us – only then can we talk about the next step.
And the next step, obviously, should be to convict the offender and establish justice. All crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine must be condemned by an international tribunal. Today we qualify them as genocide. Therefore, until the criminal is exposed and his crime is condemned, it is untimely to talk about some next step.
When the Russian aggressor is convicted, the next step may be the beginning of a process of reconciliation. And it will be a long process. Because the process of reconciliation means healing wounds. And without sensitivity to the victim of this unjust aggression, we have no right, on the Christian side, to speak of reconciliation.
Easter greetings to Catholics who follow the Gregorian calendar
To be a Christian means to believe in the Risen One. To be a Christian means to be a partaker of His Resurrection, to be a bearer of His joy and light. Today Ukraine is sad, but it celebrates Easter. Many people from all over the world ask me: do you have hope there in Ukraine? I say: Obviously so, because we believe in the Resurrection. Congratulations to all of you on this great holiday of hope! Christ overcame death by death and gave life to those in the tombs. This victory of the Risen One is and will be the victory of Ukraine. Happy holidays to you, God's blessing to your families, to our beloved Motherland! Christ is Risen!”
Excerpts from Palm Sunday sermon
Today is a holiday of victory, strength and immortality. We feel this especially in Ukraine during the war. Because war is a trap of death. How important it is for us not to be accustomed to tears, grief and death! In the midst of the darkness, the despair of war, today our Lord Jesus Christ triumphantly enters Kyiv, Ukraine, as he once entered Jerusalem. He will come now, during the Divine Liturgy, to give us the opportunity to partake of His holiness, power and immortality.
We feel that Ukraine will win not only by human efforts, although they are also needed. We feel that there is a God in our struggle with us! He supports us and our enemy is already afraid of us. We saw the harbinger of victory here, in our Patriarchal Cathedral, in the first days of the war. When the officers of our territorial defence caught the first saboteurs, powerful Russian paratroopers, they told me: "We will win, because we saw fear in their eyes!".
Christ comes to eliminate our fear of the enemy, his various armies and weapons, and to give us his strength. We see that we stop being afraid. We feel the foretaste of victory in the Easter procession of Christ himself, who goes to voluntary suffering, will be sentenced to death, crucified and buried, but by his own power will overcome death and rise from the grave on the third day.
It is tragic that many cities in Ukraine are now surrounded by deadly enemy troops and we cannot go to them to bring our people the long-awaited life-giving help. Today we especially pray for our Mariupol. So many efforts have already been made, including international ones, to open a humanitarian corridor to bring relief, life and salvation to its heroic defenders. Today we ask: Lord, where we, the people, cannot enter our brothers and sisters in the occupied territories, where we cannot open the green humanitarian corridors, enter. Strengthen the heroic defenders of Mariupol with your strength and victory. Comfort our people in Kherson and in other territories, which today need Your presence and strength so much.
Today we greet Christ the Conqueror with our green branches and ask: To fill each of us with Easter joy with your victory over sin and death. We open our lives to You today. We spread the clothes that cover our plans and that symbolize only our human confidence in this uncertain time. After all, we know that You will cover us with Your power, victory and glory. Today Ukraine greets its tsar, the only one to whom it sings: "Hosanna in the highest!".
May God's blessing descend on each of us! May the power of God enter the heart of everyone who fights for the victory of Ukraine! May God's holiness become the way of life and existence of every Ukrainian, because this holiness will overcome the evil and sin that the enemy brings to our land! May the power of the Resurrection, to which we are heading, defeat the deadly enemy who came to sow death, so that in just a few days we may welcome here, in our Patriarchal Cathedral, the Resurrection of Christ, the Risen Christ, who will finally show all victory over life and death. Amen.
Daily video message
Who knows, maybe this Easter you and I will sing for the last time "Christ is risen!"... And as if preparing for the Easter holidays for the last time, let's be vigilant, let's be careful. After all, to hear means to be vigilant to the purity of your heart. Those who have not yet begun Confession or Communion, hurry to the Sacraments of God. For blessed is he whom the Lord will find insomniac, and unworthy is he whom he finds sleepy.
Full sermon on Easter Thursday
Good Thursday during the war. These days we have heard many times how people of all ages, believers and non-believers, scientists and scholars alike, have asked you, dear fathers: where is God when bombs fall on us? Where is God when we are killed? Where is God when our houses are burned, our cities and villages are destroyed? Where is God when the weakest are mocked? Where is God when man dies? Each of you has tried to answer these questions by listening to God's word, looking for some thought and answer in Scripture. I believe that today we have a unique moment to hear what Christ himself will answer us.
It so happens that when a person suffers, when he is wounded, when his world, his life is broken, then the deepest secrets of his heart are revealed. When difficult or tragic times or circumstances come, all false images that a person has invented about himself and believed in are broken. When a person suffers, the depth of the human being is revealed.
Having taken on the abyss of human patience, Christ enters into his passions. He himself becomes a suffering man – he becomes the one who was sold by the nearest disciple for thirty pieces of silver, whom society rejected and unjustly sentenced to crucifixion. The Saviour Himself wants to die and lie in the grave. In His crucified, torn body we see, on the one hand, the depth of man's cry for God, and on the other, the mystery of God himself.
Today we sat down with Jesus Christ for the Last Supper. We have all seen her gestures more than once, we repeated them ourselves. Let's listen to them again today, let's look at them.
The first gesture of the Eucharistic meal is broken bread, which symbolizes a broken life, a wounded human body. When we break bread, we see all its entrails: freshness, mold or staleness. The Savior shows Himself present in the flesh just on the brink of broken human life. When one asks today where God is, Christ Himself says that is where there is the most human pain and suffering. Where the greatest wound is, the Eucharistic bread of His Last Supper is most deeply broken.
The Divine Master today gives his disciples a cup of his blood. This bowl is another deep gesture. To drink a common cup is to become something one, with two one body, life, and it also means to accept something that you have invented and chosen for yourself. He will pray for this cup before his passions in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying: "Father, if you want, give this cup away from Me, but let it be not mine, but yours." (Luke 22:42). Christ drinks the cup of human suffering, torment and death. This means that He shows the fullness of the Divine life where man thinks that there is no God: in the cup of suffering man receives an open space of living communion with God, access to participation in His divinity. When we ask, God, where are You, let us hear His voice in the midst of war: I am here!
We humans need to see, feel His presence. God is where man cries and suffers. That is why today in Ukraine he is being sold again, crucified, killed and thrown into mass, mass graves, which became a great tragedy of the war. He is in his broken bread and with his wounded people.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Establishment of the Priesthood of Christ. The possibility of God's presence in the midst of the greatest pain, wounds, suffering, and humiliation reveals to us the meaning and purpose of the vocation to the priesthood. Because every priest asks: where am I called, up or down, right or left? We see that Christ is calling us as deeply, low and far as this world humiliates, wounds and kills man.
The gesture of washing our feet reveals to us the meaning of the priestly ministry. God leans over a wounded, bewildered man. He himself wants to touch her wounds and heal her with his wounds. Therefore, we participate in the priesthood not of man, but of God himself, who is eternal. The wounds will heal, by the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit the war will end ... God forbid that we all deeply experience the conditions of the answer to the question: what does it mean to be a priest for the Ukrainian people during its Calvary?
I returned from Chernihiv yesterday. I saw the wounds of this ancient Ukrainian city. He had the opportunity to embrace our fathers, monks, who bow there over the wounds of their people. He could embrace those who gather their sheep in the midst of destruction.
He also visited our heroic Slavutych, which is located twelve kilometers from the Belarusian border. The ministry of our brother there is a perfect and true image of the priest of Christ of the third millennium, who showed people God, did not leave them in difficult times. Asked where God was when the bombs fell, they felt that if their priest was next to them, so was God.
Therefore, today it was worthy and righteous for me, dear fathers, to kneel and wash your feet. You have experienced the horrors of war in the bosom of our Kyiv Archdiocese, starting from here, from the Patriarchal Cathedral and its crypts, where we warmed, treated and fed hundreds of people who believed that the Church would save them when the bombs fell. Thank you for that!
It was worthy and righteous for me today to kneel before you, the fathers who went to serve the Divine Liturgy in the metro. Apparently, in the thousand-year history of Kyiv, this has never happened before. You shared your experiences with me, in particular, how much people felt the light of hope, that they are not alone in their grief.
It was dignified and just for me to kneel and wash the feet of those fathers who washed the feet of their fellows who had to temporarily leave the burning cities. You opened your home to them when they were on the road empty-handed, you fed them, received them, washed their feet in the way they needed.
It was worthy and just to wash your feet today, fathers, who have shown that the Church is with her people, that she not only speaks of good, but also does it. For it is in your hands that Christ has today healed the wounds of the people. This holy anointing, which we consecrated here in the Patriarchal Cathedral, will spread to all the cells of our church body: from Kyiv to Australia, South and North America and Europe, wherever the war has scattered our people.
It is through your priestly ministry that the motto of our Patriarchal Council is being carried out today: "Your Church is always and everywhere with you." Always and everywhere – whether you are in a safe Western Europe, or in burning Kharkiv, or in wounded Chernihiv, or in occupied Kherson. Blessed is the priest who never feels unemployed and whose eternal seal of the priesthood encourages him to work, pray and sacrifice for his people.
Congratulations to you, Fathers, on this great holiday, on behalf of all your Church as its Head. I bow my head before the episcopate, the clergy, the deacons, the seminarians for the heroic testimony of God's service to the Ukrainian people, which you are doing in these tragic times.
Blessed are the people who have such priests and feel that the power of God is revealed to us in its fullness precisely when we need it most, when we feel most wounded, abandoned and powerless. His strength is manifested in our suffering and helplessness. I think this is the word of the Holy Eucharist that Christ gives us at the Last Supper today, this Holy Thursday.
May the Lord God bless you all! Thank you also to your wives, families, because you are not alone under the bombs. Thank you to all who pray for their priests and bishops.
I ask all our faithful to congratulate their priests on this day. On Holy Thursday, make them feel that you need, respect, love and support them. Then we will truly have the courage to enter into these passions with Christ, not to run away from them.
The Apostle Paul tells us not to be ashamed of Christ crucified. Why? Because it is in Him that we have our strength and victory. It is He who will lead us to the Resurrection.
Today we experience passions as the Church and the people. The passions are followed by the feast of Easter, which will be our victory in the war. May our Lord and Saviour lead us to victory! Amen.
Excerpts of Good Friday Sermon
Hearing this word of God about the suffering of God in man, about the death of the Son of God in the human body, I think before the eyes of each of us appear pictures of the Ukrainian Golgotha. We are being killed today, and Christ himself is being killed in us.
In the wounds of Christ we see the wounded, mutilated bodies of the sons and daughters of Ukraine. In His suffering we see the grief of corpses, the rivers of blood and the sea of tears that flood our once flourishing cities and villages. In this funeral procession with the shroud around our cathedral we see the lifeless bodies of our soldiers, whom our cities and villages meet on their knees. In this tomb of the Savior we see the mass graves of Bucha and Borodyanka. We still see the bodies of Ukraine's daughters and sons being found in Chernihiv, and the enemy continues to kill Ukrainians in the martyr city of Mariupol.
But today the word of God tells us that Christ's wounds are healing for us. Therefore, He wanted to be wounded to touch our wounds with His wounds. He wanted to be unjustly condemned in order to set us free and break the debt obligations that the devil had written down as our death sentence. Today, the Son of God lies in the grave next to the tortured, shot sons and daughters of Ukraine, in order to give life to those in the graves.
On Easter Friday, we honor the Savior's life-giving death because we know that by giving the Spirit on the cross into the hands of the Father, we wanted to give it [the Spirit] to man so that he could find the rest of life again. Today we heard the words of Christ on the cross: “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). He made his cry the cries of hundreds of thousands of people who have not yet been rescued from the rubble and who have been calling for the rest, asking for help. However, the occupiers did not allow to save those people. And we are just discovering their lifeless bodies today… How horrible their death was!
However, by placing our Christ in the tomb, we know that He will not stay there long, but will rise on the third day, and with His death comes the hope of resurrection. We know that He is going to hell today to lead all the dead by the hand and bring them to Heavenly Father's house, where there is "neither sickness nor sorrow, but there is life without end." On this Easter Friday of this tragic year, when Ukraine is going through its Golgotha, we kiss the wounds of Christ and ask: Lord, save, heal, revive us! We know that You will rise from the tomb that will be sealed today, and Your resurrection will be the joy and victory of Ukraine. This is what You told us in the words to Your disciples at the Last Supper: “You will weep, weep, and the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your sorrow will turn into joy ”(Jn 16:19). We know that from the moment of Your burial, everything begins to change.
Lord, turn our sorrow into joy by the power of Your passion and Your Resurrection! Turn the tears of Ukraine into joyful singing that will glorify life in You! Today, under Your cross, Your Church sings: "Let us worship Your passions, Christ, and look forward to glorifying Yours on the third day of the Resurrection." Amen.
Excerpts of Easter Sunday Sermon
Christ is risen!
Above the valley of tears, which today is our Ukrainian land, the cry of victory is heard from heaven: Christ is risen! Above the burned houses, cities and villages, heaven announces to us through its angel: Christ is risen! Above the burning Donbass and the south of Ukraine, where the war is going on and the positions of our soldiers are burning, the sky announces to Ukraine and the world: Christ is risen!
The Son of God wanted to suffer in order to touch the tears, sorrows of man and give him joy. He wanted to lie in the tomb to give life to all those who had long since rested there and were waiting for Him. Easter is a celebration of the victory of life. After all, we see: everything that invades Ukraine has already been defeated, because Christ is risen!
Today marks the second month of Russia's bloody war against Ukraine. During that time, a new cry of victory was born. When we want to share the joy of stopping our enemy, we say, “Good afternoon! We are from Ukraine!". And today we want to declare to the whole world: “Christ is risen! We are from Ukraine!".
The very fact that we are celebrating Easter in Kyiv, in the Patriarchal Cathedral, is a miracle of God that we could not have hoped for sixty days ago. We see how the Resurrection of Christ becomes the strength, hope, joy of those who defend Ukraine, fight and pray for its victory.
The enemy-attacker thought that on the third day he would celebrate his wicked parade of victory in Kyiv, but on the third day Christ was resurrected. The attacker thought that he would capture Ukraine in three days, capture what he saw, but now he is defeated by what he missed. He overlooked the people's strength, people's resistance, the people's will to live God's God-given freedom on God's land. That is why we say today: Christ is risen! We are from Ukraine!
We know that this morning the wounded Odesa mourned and that our enemy on these Easter holidays on the weapons of murder – bombs, rockets, shells – wrote sarcastically: "Christ is risen!". And we write these words on Easter eggs, on Easter bread, which we put in a basket and consecrate. And we will tell everyone, including our enemy: Christ is risen! We are from Ukraine!
As we celebrate this Passover, we ask Him to be resurrected, our Saviour, to turn our tears of sorrow into tears of joy. Resurrect Ukraine, give us victory, give us the opportunity to joyfully celebrate and live not only on Easter, but every day. And today our Saviour comes to take us by the hand and bring us out of the hell into which our enemy wants to drive us.
I read with emotion a prayer that a soldier wrote on his helmet: God, if I am killed on the battlefield, take me to heaven, because I have already been to hell. We say: Lord, You who bring all the dead out of hell by the hand, You who came from the dead to give life to all, take us by the hand and bring us into the Easter joy that descends to each of us from heaven today.
I want to congratulate you, our army, with the triumphant cry "Christ is risen!", because thanks to you, our dear military brothers and sisters, we celebrate Easter in Kyiv and other cities and villages of Ukraine. Thanks to you, your life, today we can enjoy the freedom in Ukraine and fight for it. May the Lord God help you to complete the high mission of protection of the Motherland, which is handed over to your hearts and hands by your people.
Words of Easter joy and greetings are addressed to those who do not have the opportunity to celebrate in the temple, who have nowhere to bring their Easter baskets. Words of prayer flow to the Lord God for our faithful in the occupied Donbass, as well as in Kherson, Berdyansk and Melitopol, which are under occupation in southern Ukraine.
I pray for the defenders and children of Mariupol. There, in the dungeons of Azovstal, there are children who have not seen the sun for a month and a half ... Lord, how You entered the depths of the dungeon and came out victorious, how You passed through the stone of the sealed tomb, come to them, take their hand and get out the dungeon into which they were driven by the enemy of Ukraine.
Congratulations to the wounded servicemen who are currently healing the wounds of Ukraine that they wear on their bodies. While visiting them, I did not see a single sad face. They asked: pray that we get better as soon as possible. May this Passover prayer be a separate, strongest remedy for their wounds and enable them to return to full physical and spiritual health as soon as possible.
I say special prayers for those who have been forced to leave their homes and share the bitter fate of a refugee or even an emigrant. Today, about ten million Ukrainians do not have the opportunity to sit down for Easter breakfast. May our support, our prayer, our warmth flow to them. Wherever we are, let us open our hearts to our brothers and sisters who are on the road, let us serve them all we can.
Excerpts of speech to Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
We know from the Russian president's statement that this war has two main tasks: demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. Demilitarization means the final destruction of the Ukrainian state and its military potential in order to achieve the next task - the so-called denazification. And this clearly proves that Russia's main task is to destroy the Ukrainian people.
[Russian military action in Ukraine] can be called a textbook on genocide, according to which our people must be destroyed.
What happened in Ukraine is a terrible humanitarian catastrophe, as a result of which 10 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes and 5 million to leave the country, and in the occupied and later liberated towns and villages we saw such tragic phenomena as mass graves. Today these places are places of common prayer of Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims.
During the 70 days of the war, almost 100 churches, monasteries and religious buildings were destroyed. In this tragedy, religious communities have united as never before. Our All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations represents 95 percent of the religious community in Ukraine. During the war we issued 17 different appeals. On the night before the Russian attack, we appealed to the Russian president not to start a war. We, the representatives of Churches and religious organizations, have offered our mediation: if politicians and diplomats have not been able to avert war, we have offered ourselves as mediators of peace.
We also appealed to the religious leaders of Belarus to make every effort to avoid the participation of Belarusian troops in the war against Ukraine. It is worth emphasizing that the representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate took an active part in the processing of these appeals and their transmission to Russian addressees. Due to many scandalous facts, this Church today feels marginalized and pushed out of the life of the Ukrainian people, although most of the destroyed churches belong to this denomination.
The first Sunday after the start of the war, Patriarch Kirill said that this war was metaphysical in nature and a war of values, and therefore not only justified, but had the task of defending Orthodoxy. The analysis of such a justification for the war shows us a great danger not only for the Russian Orthodox Church, but for Christianity as a whole, Unfortunately, the Russian Orthodox Church has become hostage to Putin's state doctrine, which was strongly condemned by authoritative Orthodox theologians a month ago.
The war in Ukraine poses two important challenges: first, we need to rethink the Church's social teaching on war and peace. The second task is to study the relationship between the Church and the state. We see a clear need to develop new and correct terminology to describe current challenges in these areas, and to have the courage at the ecumenical level to respond correctly to these dangers.
Excerpts of video message on the Feast of Saint George
A martyr is a witness to the Resurrection. Dying, submitting to torture and death, a martyr shows the world that the death we experience here has already been defeated and dismissed by Christ's Resurrection, as new life follows it... The martyr defeats his tormentors in a unique way. Those who crucified Christ thought that they would bury His word, His teaching, and His power forever. However, Christ overcame death by His death and defeated the tormentors.
He who kills a martyr thinks he is defeating the one he killed. Yet the opposite happens, because the martyr is the winner, he defeats his tormentor. And today, praising St George, we speak about two features of his victory. The first is that he exposed the wickedness of his tormentors, and the second is that he sacrificed himself. These two factors are fundamental in his victory. That's why we call him a victorious Trophy-Bearer.
Today we feel that the Great Martyr St George is fighting for Ukraine – he is on our side. Today, on Ukrainian land, with his spear, he is piercing and destroying this ancient snake that is trying to harm Ukraine. And so, the victory will be St George’s, for us.
Address of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine
Today we are experiencing with unspeakable pain in our hearts the suffering of the native Ukrainian people caused by the unprovoked and unjustified full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. We, the bishops of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in Ukraine, in our apostolic ministry remain faithful to the words of the Gospel Truth and to our vocation to be witnesses of hope in times of tribulation and trials.
To fulfil a certain task on earth, the Lord gives man various gifts, talents and opportunities, but also provides a separate mission and mission to the chosen peoples. Just as God once chose the Israelites to enlighten all nations, so He constantly, and even today, entrusts special calling to different nations.
We often asked ourselves: why, Lord, did you give us the gift of freedom, restore our independence 30 years ago, raise our Church from the underground? And today we see, experience and begin to understand the great mission of the Ukrainian people - descendants of Kievan Rus, heirs of Kievan baptism, courageous rulers and defenders of the Fatherland, followers of our martyrs Boris and Gleb, wise women, educators and prayers - followers of Princess Olga. And this vocation in God's providence is that in times of great turmoil and the threat of destruction not only of Ukraine but also of many other nations, the revived Kievan Rus rebelled and stopped the evil will of the aggressor, albeit at a high price. The price we continue to pay today on the altar for the liberation of our and other nations to stop the insatiable dragon,
The vocation of our Church is to remain always with our people in order to fulfil the mission that the Lord has prepared for us, becoming a nation of martyrs-heroes who give their lives, protecting not only our relatives but all European nations and their freedom. The mission of our Church is to become like the Blessed Virgin Mary, who, standing under the cross of her Son, stared at His wounds with unspeakable sorrow in her soul and at the same time hope in her eyes. And her hope was not in vain: on the third day Jesus rose again.
We express our sincere gratitude first of all to the Defenders of Ukraine. Your feat has already become an example for the whole world. Your sacrificial loyalty to your people and devotion to defending our state in the face of the challenges of a brutal and inhumane war testify to the depth of your love. The defender is a warrior with love in his heart: for his native people, for his land, for his parents and children, for all those who today need protection from the hellish force of cruelty and brutality of the Russian aggressor. Legal protection of life is both a human right and a duty. The innocent blood of our brothers and sisters in Bucha, Mariupol, Irpen, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and hundreds of other Ukrainian communities requires us to have the strength and courage to become defenders not only of life but also of humanity itself.
Our Savior taught, "No one has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). The sincerity of your love today gives our people hope for the revival of Ukraine, for the protection of their freedom and dignity. Only by the power of love will we be able to achieve the final victory of good over evil, truth over lies, human dignity over human meanness. Our victory also requires our common faith that when we courageously and honestly seek the Truth, defend the good, fight for justice, God is with us! We tirelessly entrust you to his care in our fervent prayers and supplications.
Today we address our military pastors with special words of gratitude, fraternal support and recognition for faithful service. From the first days of Russian aggression and throughout the following years, the military chaplains of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church did not hesitate to sincerely respond to God's invitation to be "close" to men and women in military uniforms, sharing the difficulties of military service and the challenges of everyday life. During the years of armed Russian aggression, our chaplains have been tireless witnesses of hope, standing faithfully side by side with Ukrainian soldiers in battle trenches, military hospitals, rehabilitation centers, providing necessary support to their families, preserving the memory of fallen defenders and taking care of their families.
The full-scale invasion of the Russian army into the territory of Ukraine coincided with the implementation of the provisions of the Law of Ukraine "On the Military Chaplaincy Service" adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. The law creates opportunities for effective professional organization of pastoral ministry among the Ukrainian army. At the same time, he demands that our pastors be of the highest level of initiation in the event of enlistment. Taking into account the challenges and needs of today, we appeal to the clergy of our Church in freedom of spirit and generosity of heart not to deny the Ukrainian soldier the tangible presence of God, which is evident in the prayer and sacrificial service of the military chaplain. May the words of our great pastor, Metropolitan Andrei, addressed to Ukrainian soldiers in times of trials and fierce struggle, will be your words today to our defenders: “You who are killed every day in battle, remember to keep your heart clean from sin, be ready to stand before the Throne of God and give up the work of a lifetime. Fulfil your responsibilities bravely! Victory is certain, but it is a sacred right!”
In particular, we appeal to our seminarians, encouraging them to pray and to spiritually recognize their vocation to serve the deep inner needs of the Ukrainian soldier in accordance with the rich and long tradition of our Church. This ministry requires special courage, which only mature Christian love is capable of, as a gift from our Heavenly Father, which allows us to understand "what hope He calls us to" (Ephesians 1:18).
Families of servicemen and families of fallen defenders are waiting for a special testimony of hope today from the military pastor. The pain of separation, the uncertainty of the coming day, the feeling of loneliness and helplessness in the face of irreparable loss may take a long time for final healing. The military chaplain's mission remains to show personal responsibility - to "be close" to those most hurt by the war. Supporting the wounded and praying for the captives can help many Ukrainian families today to escape the destructive power of suffering and through their own pain, uniting with the crucified Christ and lovingly "bearing one another's burdens", finding the way to resurrection (Gal. 6: 2).
As pastors of the Church of Christ, we feel obliged to appeal to the Russian military, soldiers and officers who have dared to take up arms against the Ukrainian people, killing innocents, leaving children orphaned, depriving many people of their homes and hope for the future. The blood of innocent Ukrainian children will testify against you in the Lord's judgment. Before it's too late, find the courage to lay down your arms and not carry out criminal orders. Do not allow murderous propaganda to obscure your mind and incite unjustified cruelty: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn 8:32). Repent and ask God for forgiveness for your crimes against humanity, so that He may grant you forgiveness of sins and hope for eternal life.
In the face of terrible trials for the entire Ukrainian people, we invite our military pastors to sincerely serve those on whom the fate of our common future now depends. Dear fathers, military chaplains, your prayerful presence in the ranks of the Ukrainian army should become a source of spiritual consolation and a guarantee of tireless fraternal support. Your vocation is to show hope in the twilight of human suffering, to be faithful followers of God, who became man, to elevate man to participate in God's life. But we keep each one of you in our fraternal prayers and "remember the work of your faith without ceasing, the labor of your love, and the patience of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 1: 3).
The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
Excerpt from sermon on Fourth Sunday after Easter
When I saw the mass graves in which the Russians dumped hundreds of murdered people, the army that is advancing on us and many times outnumbers the Ukrainian army, when we understand that Ukraine began to fight, as David once did with Goliath, in the first and during the most difficult moments of the war, we said to ourselves: “We have no one”.
Nobody believed that Ukraine would survive. Even our so-called Western partners predicted that Kyiv would be taken in three days. But in three days Christ rose from the dead. And in those days when we felt that all of us had left, at one point Kyiv turned into a dead city. A lot of people left. Embassies of foreign countries were evacuated, shops were closed, even food could not be found.
Then we cried out to heaven, “We have no one, God! We need Your mercy!” As a result, our capital turned into a great baptismal font, as in the time of Prince Volodymyr Kyiv, where our people received new life, where they were baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ. And at the beginning of this war, our Kyiv became the center of resistance. The Lord was with us.
May the merciful Lord bless all those who are waiting for God's mercy. Because this is a story about each of us. We are all sinners who, being in the sea of our own sin, our own weaknesses, cannot heal ourselves. We need a person who would bring us God. Everyone who does mercy to another person becomes a messenger of God. Every time we show mercy to the victims of war, refugees, displaced persons, those who have lost relatives, housing, property, and a person who feels God's mercy on himself, he says: "God himself sent this man, God has not forgotten me".
May the feeling of God's closeness in the most difficult circumstances of the war be for us the strength, hope, key and secret of our victory - the victory of Ukraine.
Excerpt of daily video message
We see that the war in Ukraine has a clear ideological component. In addition to the cities and villages of Ukraine, the enemy is destroying the souls, not only of Ukrainians, but of people all over the world, seducing them with lies, calling what is happening in Ukraine some negative statements or words associated with evil in the past.
It is with deep and heartfelt pain that I perceive the suffering of people caused by the events taking place.
As the Patriarch of All Russia and the Primate of the Church, whose flock is in Russia, Ukraine and other countries, I deeply empathize with everyone who has been touched by misfortune.
I call on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
I appeal to bishops, pastors, monastics and laity with an appeal to provide all possible assistance to all victims, including refugees, people left without shelter and livelihood.
The Russian and Ukrainian peoples have a common centuries-old history dating back to the Baptism of Russia by the holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir. I believe that this God-given community will help overcome the divisions and contradictions that have arisen that have led to the current conflict.
I call on the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church to offer up a deep, fervent prayer for the speedy restoration of peace.
May the all-merciful Lord, through the intercession of our Most Pure Lady Theotokos and all the saints, preserve the Russian, Ukrainian and other peoples, which our Church spiritually unites!
Excerpt from a Sunday homily
Today we also need unity – the unity with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. We are aware of the difficult circumstances encountered today by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. I especially prayed today for His Beatitude the Primate and certainly for the whole episcopate and all the faithful people of Ukraine; and I call you to lift up these prayers too. God forbid that the present political situation in fraternal Ukraine so close to us should be aimed at making the evil forces that have always strived against the unity of Rus’ and the Russian Church, gain the upper hand. God forbid that a terrible line stained with the blood of our brothers should be drawn between Russia and Ukraine. We should pray for the restoration of peace, for the restoration of good fraternal relations between our peoples. A guarantee of this fellowship is our united Orthodox Church represented in Ukraine by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Onuphry. We prayed for them today as well. We prayed that the Lord may give them strength and wisdom to repulse the attacks of the evil one while serving their people in faith and truth promoting peace by all possible ways.
May the Lord preserve our Church in unity. May the Lord protect from fratricidal battle the peoples comprising the one space of the Russian Orthodox Church. It must not be allowed to give the dark and hostile external forces an occasion to laugh at us; we should do everything to preserve peace between our peoples while protecting our common historical Motherland against every outside action that can destroy this unity.
Today we lift up a special prayer for His Beatitude Onuphry, for our Church and for our devout faithful. May the Lord preserve the Russian land. When I say “Russian”, I use the ancient expression from “A Tale of Bygone Years” – “Wherefrom has the Russian land come”, the land which now includes Russia and Ukraine and Belarus and other tribes and peoples. That the Lord may protect the Russian land against external enemies, against internal disorders, that the unity of our Church may strengthen and that by God’s mercy all the temptations, diabolical attacks, provocations may retreat and that our devout people in Ukraine may enjoy peace and tranquillity – these are our prayers today. And I ask you all to mention His Beatitude Onuphry in your prayers in church and at home, to mention our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and to pray for peace.
27/2/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Prayer for the speedy restoration of peace, pronounced by the Patriarch on Forgiveness Sunday
O Holy and merciful God, Lord Jesus Christ our God, through the prayers of the All-Pure Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, the holy Grand Duke Vladimir and Grand Duchess Olga, the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of our Church, Our venerable and godly fathers Anthony and Theodosius, wonderworkers of the Kievo-Pechersk monastery, Sergius, hegumen of Radonezh, Job of Pochaev, Seraphim of Sarov and all the saints; make our prayer favourable for the Church and for all Your people.
From one baptismal font, in the days of holy Prince Vladimir, we Thy children have received grace: establish in our hearts a spirit of brotherly love and peace for ever!
To the foreign people who desire to be at war and to fight against Holy Rus', – forbid them and overthrow their plans.
Through Thy grace incline those who hold power to good; strengthen the soldiers, that they keep Thy commandments; provide homes for the homeless; nourish the hungry; strengthen and heal those who are in affliction and suffering; give hope and comfort to those who are in confusion and sorrow, and give forgiveness of sins and a blessed repose to those who have been killed in battle.
Fill us with faith, hope and love that we may confess to Thee, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with Thy everlasting Father, Thy Holy and Life-giving Spirit, in one word and with one heart, for ever and ever. Amen.
06/03/2022 (Source. I had considerable difficulty obtaining a good translation of this prayer. I take full responsibility for the final result, obtained through a mix of automatic translations and edited for clarity. The original can be read in the link provided. If anybody detects mistakes, please let me know in the comments. A few changes were made since I first posted it, following suggestions from a Russian speaker. The most significant being replacing "Holy Russia" with "Holy Rus'")
Excerpts from the Patriarchal Sermon on Cheesefare Week after the Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
We know that this spring has been overshadowed by grave events related to the deterioration of the political situation in the Donbass, practically the outbreak of hostilities. I would like to say something on this subject.
For eight years there have been attempts to destroy what exists in the Donbass. And in the Donbass there is rejection, a fundamental rejection of the so-called values that are offered today by those who claim world power. Today there is such a test for the loyalty of this government, a kind of pass to that “happy” world, the world of excess consumption, the world of visible “freedom”. Do you know what this test is? The test is very simple and at the same time terrible – this is a gay parade. The demands on many to hold a gay parade are a test of loyalty to that very powerful world; and we know that if people or countries reject these demands, then they do not enter into that world, they become strangers to it.
But we know what this sin is, which is promoted through the so-called marches of dignity. This is a sin that is condemned by the Word of God – both the Old and the New Testament. Moreover, the Lord, condemning sin, does not condemn the sinner. He only calls him to repentance, but not to ensure that through a sinful person and his behaviour, sin becomes a life standard, a variation of human behaviour – respected and acceptable.
If humanity recognizes that sin is not a violation of God's law, if humanity agrees that sin is one of the options for human behaviour, then human civilization will end there. And gay parades are designed to demonstrate that sin is one of the variations of human behaviour. That is why in order to enter the club of those countries, it is necessary to hold a gay pride parade. Not to make a political statement “we are with you”, not to sign any agreements, but to hold a gay parade. And we know how people resist these demands and how this resistance is suppressed by force. This means that we are talking about imposing by force a sin condemned by God's law, and therefore, by force to impose on people the denial of God and His truth.
Therefore, what is happening today in the sphere of international relations has not only political significance. We are talking about something different and much more important than politics. We are talking about human salvation, about where humanity will end up, on which side of God the Saviour, who comes into the world as the Judge and Creator, on the right or on the left. Today, out of weakness, stupidity, ignorance, and most often out of unwillingness to resist, many go there, to the left side. And all that is connected with the justification of sin, condemned by the Bible, is today a test for our faithfulness to the Lord, for our ability to confess faith in our Saviour.
Everything that I say has not just some theoretical meaning and not only a spiritual meaning. Around this topic today there is a real war. Who is attacking Ukraine today, where the suppression and extermination of people in the Donbass has been going on for eight years; eight years of suffering and the whole world is silent – what does that mean? But we know that our brothers and sisters are really suffering; moreover, they may suffer for their loyalty to the Church. And so today, on Forgiveness Sunday, on the one hand, as your shepherd, I call on everyone to forgive sins and insults, including where it is very difficult to do this, where people are at war with each other. But forgiveness without justice is capitulation and weakness. Therefore, forgiveness must be accompanied by the indispensable preservation of the right to stand on the side of the world, on the side of God's truth, on the side of the Divine commandments.
All of the above indicates that we have entered into a struggle that has not a physical, but a metaphysical significance. I know how, unfortunately, Orthodox people, believers, choosing the path of least resistance in this war, do not reflect on everything that we are thinking about today, but humbly follow the path that the powers that be show them. We do not condemn anyone, we do not invite anyone to come to the cross, we just say to ourselves: we will be faithful to the word of God, we will be faithful to His law, we will be faithful to the law of love and justice, and if we see violations of this law, we will never put up with those who destroy this law, blurring the line between holiness and sin, and even more so with those who promote sin as an example or as one of the models of human behaviour.
Today, our brothers in the Donbass, Orthodox people, are undoubtedly suffering, and we cannot but be with them, first of all in prayer. It is necessary to pray that the Lord would help them to preserve the Orthodox faith, not to succumb to temptations and temptations. At the same time, we must pray that peace will come as soon as possible, that the blood of our brothers and sisters will stop, that the Lord will incline His mercy to the long-suffering Donbass land, which has been bearing this mournful stamp for eight years, generated by human sin and hatred.
And let us pray that all those who are fighting today, who are shedding blood, who are suffering, will also enter into this joy of the Resurrection in peace and tranquility. Because what joy will there be if some are in the world, while others are in the power of evil and in the sorrow of internecine warfare?
Patriarchal Sermon on Wednesday of the First Week of Great Lent
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!
The time of Great Lent is a time of repentance and prayer. For what? To free ourselves from the captivity in which we fall, committing ungodly, sinful deeds. We are captured by sin. A person does not even notice how this happens – somewhere he told a lie, somewhere he distorted the facts, somewhere he answered inappropriately and offended the interlocutor. It is from such small conflicts that alienation grows, people become enemies. And sometimes conflicts are fomented by a third party who has an interest in two people quarreling – this happens all the time. Everyone, probably, went through such a temptation when you realize that you, having nothing bad in your heart towards another person, suddenly become an enemy in his eyes. And then it turns out that someone worked and inspired the one
Such domestic conflicts are very well known to all of us, and since they are most often based on lies, we must remember who the father of lies is. The devil is the father of lies, and his goal is to destroy human souls, to push people into conflict, because conflict liberates passions. What a person would never say or do in a calm state, he begins to say and do if he comes into conflict with his neighbour, if he sees an enemy in him. Then some kind of animal, natural element is liberated in a person, and we know what terrible forms conflicts take. Families are falling apart, people are dying, but this has to do not only with interpersonal relationships, but also with conflicts between peoples, between countries.
Now we are going through a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Let's think about what really can divide us? We are practically one people, bound by historical fate, we all came out of the Kiev font together, we are united by faith, our saints, common hope, the same prayers. What can separate us?! But the enemy of the human race - through specific people, through specific associations of people - throws lies into the relations between our peoples, and on the basis of this lie a conflict develops. And we know that this is not just a quarrel between neighbours, but a conflict in which states are involved, that is, institutions that have the legal right to use force, forcing their citizens to obey if they violate the laws, or forcing other countries if they see there is a threat in them, to ensure that this threat does not exist.
In other words, today two fraternal peoples have entered into a conflict – but in fact one, the Russian people. Let me remind you again and again of the words of The Tale of Bygone Years, our historical chronicle, which tells “where the Russian land came from”, and then comes the story of Kyiv. Russia is one country, one people, but this people turned out to be very strong, and the neighbours, frightened by its strength, began to do everything to divide this people, to inspire parts of this people that you are not at all one people. And we know to what a terrible climax the consequence of this suggestion is now reaching, when someone does not see a brother in his brother, but sees an enemy. And it's terrible that there are some religious organizations (I can't even dare to call them religious) that raise the need to fight against the fraternal Russian people to the shield of their preaching.
The Church, which measures time not in days, not in months, not in years, but in centuries and millennia, in its historical experience keeps the memory of the many conflicts that have been since ancient times – in Ancient Rome, Byzantium, the Old Russian state, the Russian Empire, modern states on territory of historical Russia. The Church remembers these conflicts and knows what dire consequences they have always led to. And today, with all their might, the enemies of both the Russian and Ukrainian peoples from the outside are trying to instill that you are not brothers, but you are enemies, and you must fight each other. And after all someone succumbs to this temptation! And we, of course, regret and mourn the fact that political forces have arisen on our close, native Ukrainian land, which, using the idea of an enemy in relation to the Russian people, are shaping policy towards Russia today.
Let's not talk about those who set fire to this war – God will judge them, and He will punish them. Today we need to talk about ourselves, and I call on all of you, my dear ones, first of all, to intensify the prayer that all military confrontation between Russia and Ukraine will stop, so that our people will once again be able to realize the existence of common spiritual roots and common spiritual strength, which is our undivided Church, residing in Russia, in Ukraine and in other countries. This is indeed a guarantee of salvation, a guarantee of the future world, but that is precisely why she is being persecuted there today, on Ukrainian soil, by those who are not interested in peace. Therefore, we must pray especially for His Beatitude Vladyka, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, for the Ukrainian episcopate, but also, of course, for our Church.
But here's something else I'd like to say. Where the devil is, there is always a lie. Even today – what a huge amount of lies are being spread! There was even such a newfangled word "fake" as a synonym for lies. But this is an ordinary devilish lie, because it is lies that are used today to deepen the gulf between two peoples, to make them enemies; and we must be very vigilant to everything that is being said in connection with the mournful conflict that has arisen in the Donbass.
Our Church is both in Russia and, I hope, in Ukraine, because we have common values, common ideals, a common Christian conscience, after all. We cannot act otherwise than to pray for peace and try to reduce the degree of confrontation, the degree of emotional political discussions, often overstepping the bounds of decency. We must do everything to pacify and pacify our hearts so that the enemy of the human race does not manage to destroy our spiritual unity, around which the religious and cultural life of our united people, Russians and Ukrainians, was formed.
Of course, the topic related to Russian-Ukrainian relations has now become a part of big politics or, as they say now, geopolitics. And one of the goals of this geopolitics is the weakening of Russia, which has become a strong, really powerful country. But how disgusting and vile to use the fraternal people to achieve these geopolitical goals! How terrible to set these people against their brothers! How terrible it is to arm him so that he enters into a struggle with his brothers of the same blood and of the same faith! All those who do this in the form of propaganda that has massively attacked Ukraine, in the form of concrete actions, in the form of creating prerequisites for the expansion of the military conflict - all these people are enemies of both Russia and Ukraine. They are against our unity, against our spiritual roots, regardless of whether they call themselves believers or non-believers.
May the Lord help all of us — Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, all peoples who came from the same root, came out of the Kiev Baptismal Font — to maintain our spiritual unity, to prevent the division of our Church. By the way, those who sought to divide the peoples began by dividing the Church, creating some schisms in Ukraine. This started in order to break the spiritual unity, but by the grace of God this unity is preserved.
Today I especially prayed for His Beatitude Onuphry, for the episcopate, for the clergy, for the believing people of Ukraine, so that the Lord would save them from the wiles of the evil one, keep them in the understanding that any war between Orthodox brothers who belong to one Church is the work of the devil, not God's. And therefore, our one Church, whether in Russia, in Ukraine, in other countries, must today pray for peace, for an end to internecine strife, as St. Sergius did, as our Russian Church did when the Russian princes entered into internecine strife, destroying each other. So today we will not follow the path to which we are called, provoking the involvement of the Church in the conflict, but we will follow the path of St. Sergius and pray for the unity of Holy Russia so that no forces can divide our people.
May the Lord bless our land – historical Rus’! May the Lord save us from divisions in the Church, may He help us overcome all those divisions that are generated not by differences in faith, but by the influence of political forces on certain church circles. So that all this remains in the past and that we all, with one mouth and one heart, can glorify the holy and magnificent name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and, guarding ourselves with the Cross, drive away any enemy, demonic power from our common life and from our fate. Amen.
09/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
It is my firm belief that its initiators are not the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, who came from one Kievan baptismal font, are united by common faith, common saints and prayers, and share common historical fate.
They were planning to use other means, having tried to make the brotherly peoples – Russians and Ukrainians – enemies. They spared no effort, no funds to flood Ukraine with weapons and warfare instructors. Yet, the most terrible thing is not the weapons, but the attempt to “re-educate,” to mentally remake Ukrainians and Russians living in Ukraine into enemies of Russia
Excerpts from sermon on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
[Following a description of the iconoclasm period, patriarch Kirill speaks of the] dependence of the Church on the secular authorities, which manifested itself in this whole story with iconoclasm! The emperor, who did not believe in icons, came and ordered everyone not to believe in icons. Empress Theodora came, who believed in the rightness of the Church and icon veneration, and everything returned to its place. This dependence of the Church on an external force, dependence on those who have political power, is the most dangerous dependence. All members of the Church are law-abiding people, we pray for the authorities and the army. But at the same time, every Christian reserves the right to choose – in the event that the authorities become godless and force the Christian to renounce the faith or, as was the case with iconoclasm, fall into heresy and force their subordinates to follow it.
It would seem that all this is already in the past. Not at all! My heart bleeds when I think about what is happening in Ukraine. Is it not the same as once in Byzantium? Power comes and, for political reasons, does not consider it possible that the majority of Orthodox believers belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate. The persecution of these people begins. They are accused almost of treason, they are pressured not to go to the Church, which is insultingly and blasphemously called the "Church of the Occupiers." And, of course, there are people, as it was during the time of iconoclasm, who immediately go in the wake of state power – no matter what happens, no matter how the priest is deprived of a good parish, no matter how the bishop loses his pulpit, no matter how they accuse aiding the occupiers,
To all those who “waver along with the fluctuation of power,” it must be said: but after all, our Church has gone through the trials of this very wavering and has survived, despite persecution and oppression. And today, starting from our own historical experience, we must say: we respect secular authorities, but we reserve the right to be free from interference by authorities in the internal life of the Church. We hope that this will be the case on Ukrainian soil, although today even the commemoration of the name of the Patriarch in the temple for some becomes impossible for fear for of the Jews (John 19:38).
We do not condemn anyone, but with my grieving heart I want to understand such people. At the same time, I realize that if someone is unfaithful in small things, then he can be unfaithful in big things (see Luke 16:10). Therefore, today my prayer is that our people in Ukraine will preserve the Orthodox faith, so that they will not be afraid of the pressure of those who suggest that they go into schism and thereby show loyalty to the authorities. We pray and will continue to pray for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, so that the Lord would enlighten and strengthen our episcopate, our clergy, so that no shameful, insulting nicknames that today the bearers of radical views impose on our Orthodox people, accusing them of some kind of complicity almost to the occupiers, so that all this filth did not darken their souls. It must be remembered that we all belong to the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church – the same Church as in Moscow, and in Kyiv; our Local Church, martyr and confessor. And God grant that we all preserve unity, regardless of any external pressures and any efforts of forces alien to the Church, to destroy the spiritual unity of our peoples. When someone, out of fear, refuses to commemorate the Patriarch, then this, of course, is a sign of weakness. It doesn't offend me. But this is dangerous for the spiritual life of those who deviate from the truth in small things. Today we do not commemorate the Patriarch, because it is scary, but tomorrow someone may demand more. But this is dangerous for the spiritual life of those who deviate from the truth in small things.
May the Lord keep our Church on Ukrainian land, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, the entire episcopate, for whom we pray, with whom we are together in these difficult days. We believe that the Orthodox faith and the Orthodox Church will not suffer damage from the ongoing political processes, which we hope will soon pass. May the Lord protect our Church, strengthen our people and help all of us, Russian Orthodox people. I repeat: when I say “Russians”, I mean the words “where did the Russian land come from” from The Tale of Bygone Years. I pray for everyone who lives in Ukraine, in Belarus, in our Russian land, that we all be united in spirit and maintain unity in faith. May the Lord help us, and about this today, on the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, our special prayer is to preserve unity in faith, unity in spirit, remembering that we have the same saints, one spiritual tradition, often common spiritual fathers, monastics – one people of God. Sorrow will pass, but it is very important that this sorrow does not weaken our inner spiritual strength. If we endure, then our Russian land will be preserved, which now includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and our Church, whose children live in different states almost all over the planet. And we believe that the Lord will be with us if we preserve the purity of the Orthodox faith, the guardians of which we especially remember on the first Sunday of Great Lent. Amen.
13/03/2021 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Address to the Supreme Church Council
Today we are to make a number of decisions according to the agenda, but besides that to exchange opinions on the developments, in the first place, on what is happening in Ukraine and how it affects the inter-Orthodox and inter-confessional relations. I will share information about my video meetings with the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury, when we discussed in detail primarily the problems of the security of people in Ukraine, as well as the relations between the Orthodox and Catholics as also linked with the Ukraine issue. All this is important for our relations with the Catholic Church, with the Anglican community and certainly for the Patriarch’s bilateral relations with the Primates of these Churches. I think the meeting, though remote but a real, face-to-face, was positive for both the preservation of good relations between our Churches and for the formation as far as possible a common attitude to the situation in Ukraine.
I would also like to say that the events in Ukraine demand that we make not only a serious analysis from the ecclesial perspective, but also our prayers, and to stress once again that the Russian Church, despite the very negative political context, is called today to preserve the spiritual unity of our people – the Russian and Ukrainian peoples – as one nation which has come out of the Kievan baptismal font. Without doubt, this unity is exposed to certain dangers in the situation of hostilities, and if we speak of an external factor, then the internet space, the information space, has also become a battlefield, and in this space there is much disinformation, downright lie, provocative statements, which can arouse negative feelings among people, prevent a speedy resolution of the conflict and reconciliation. In this context, I consider as especially important what is happening today in our Church – in the Russian Federation, in Ukraine, in Byelorussia, in other countries. I believe that the stand taken by the Church can become a real peace-making factor for making a positive impact on the developments in Ukraine, a country fraternal for us. We should be especially zealous in lifting up prayers for peace and should certainly accompany our prayers with concrete actions. And the most concrete and important action today is to render assistance to those affected by this conflict – in the first place, refugees, who have found themselves in the territory of the Russian Federation.
Most of all, it is the work of prayer and indispensable efforts to preserve good relations between peoples who have found themselves involved in this conflict. The Church cannot be a bearer of any other signal than a peace-making one because our flock is everywhere, on the either side of the barricades.
I would like to say once again that a considerable attention was certainly given to what is going on in Ukraine as well. Once again, I would like to stress the importance of the fact that my personal remote contacts with both the Pope of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury have revealed a high level of consent and understanding. And, perhaps, the most important impression is that our interlocutors have not moved away from us, nor have they become our enemies, and this means that the political context, by God’s grace, have not destroyed the relations we have developed with our brothers or, as they say today, partners, despite the resounding criticism from a certain part of our church community. You remember all those calls to withdraw from the World Council of Churches, to discontinue bilateral relations; we were told that it was a betrayal of the Church, etc. Well, now we can see that if all this had not existed then our Church could have become fully isolated and we could not have the least opportunity to convey to our partners our understanding of the situation, our view of the developments. And, which is the most important thing, we would not have chances to see in these partners those who regard the stand of the Russian Orthodox Church with understanding. Therefore, we have existentially received a convincing validity of the policy of developing relations with Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians, which our Church began to pursue in the post-war years. Of course, our participation in the work of the World Council of Churches was a very important factor of developing these relations and creating an atmosphere of confidence, which helps us so much in this situation.
Excerpt from the Sermon on the Second Sunday of Lent
We see how the story of the paralyzed man, whom people brought to the Saviour, is actualized in our history. In all these historical subjects, on which I dwelled today, the grace of God was undoubtedly present. But there were also specific people whose names we remembered.
So today, when our Church is going through a difficult period, at least in recent history, when many forces are trying to break the united body of our Church, when people on Ukrainian soil are suffering grievously, we must, like St. Sergius, like Patriarch Hermogenes, like Patriarch Tikhon, first of all, pray for the spiritual unity of the heritage of St. Prince Vladimir. That, despite the political boundaries that lay on the body of historical Rus, the peoples living on this earth always recognize each other as brothers and sisters, so that the system of common values never collapses, so that the sword of one brother never rises against another.
Today's Gospel reading about how people brought the paralyzed Saviour to their feet and the Lord healed him, doesn't it help us to understand what the Russian Church is? The One Church that came out of the Kiev Baptismal font, which is in Russia, and in Ukraine, and in Belarus, and in many other countries, is it not similar to those who brought the paralytic to the Saviour? After all, someone must pray for our united people, whom they want to make paralysed! Someone must defend God's truth that we are really one people who came out of the Kiev Baptismal font! I know how the opponents of this people will now shout there, in Ukraine: “Again, the Patriarch says that we are one people.” But the Patriarch cannot say otherwise, because this is historical and God's truth. And the fact that today we live in different countries, does not change this historical truth and cannot change it. We know that other peoples, including those in Europe, often lived in different countries for a long time, but never lost their common national identity. And in relation to our people, I will say: we have not lost the single Orthodox faith.
And may the Lord help us, as a paralytic, to gain strength, and may all those who are likened to unknown people who brought the paralytic to the feet of the Saviour, all those who are ready to work today to preserve the spiritual unity of our peoples, to preserve the unity of our Church, not hesitate and not doubt the rightness of the chosen path, just as those who brought the paralytic to the feet of the Saviour did not hesitate. May the Lord protect the land of Rus’, the peoples who today inhabit this land, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, because all of us, representatives of these three peoples, are also connected by a single Slavic culture and practically a single history. May we never forget our common roots, may we always pray for each other. And the most important prayer should be that the devil does not allow that terrible moment when a brother raises his hand against a brother. Therefore, we must all pray for peace, for the well-being of the holy Churches of God, for our united people, who today live in different countries, but who came out of a single Kiev Baptismal font, which is united by a common faith and a common historical destiny.
With the prayers of the holy saints of God, starting with Prince Vladimir, who stands at the beginning of the whole host of Russian saints, Princess Olga, the faithful Boris and Gleb, the monks of the Kiev Caves and all the saints who are included in the wondrous single tradition of Russian Orthodoxy, may the Lord keep in spiritual unity our people and our Church, the great guardian of the spiritual culture and Orthodox faith, which formed the united people of united Holy Rus’.
20/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Sermon on the fourth Sunday of Lent, during a liturgy in the main temple of the armed forces
We sometimes think that money gives strength. Indeed, money can sometimes give strength, and when the money runs out, then the power ends. And sometimes money ends under tragic circumstances, and as a result, a person suffers more than he rejoices. You can not rely on money and wealth in the hope that they will help you climb the stairs up. If we create wealth within ourselves, if we form a rich inner world that is not subject to external influences, then we can remain poor, but be rich inside. And how many such wonderful examples are known! Many of the poor materially, but rich inwardly people have become, for example, great scientists. Recall that the remarkable scientist Lomonosov came from Pomors, lived in his youth in the north, was a completely poor person, but what heights did he achieve, becoming the first Russian academician,
I am very glad that today I had the opportunity to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in this beautiful church, in the presence of our servicemen. Today, our Fatherland is going through a difficult time. Today, again, the name "military man" is associated with being not only in a peaceful state, but also being on the battlefield. Fortunately, our Fatherland does not often face the battlefield, but the arrival of young people in the Armed Forces who aspire to become officers, who strive to devote their lives to defending the Fatherland, does not dry out. And if in peacetime this can be explained by some kind of privileges or material considerations, then in wartime service in the Armed Forces is a real feat, and this is exactly the time we are experiencing now. The service requires readiness from everyone who has taken the oath to defend the Motherland, not sparing their lives.
Today the word "independence" is often applied to almost all countries of the world. But this is wrong, because most of the countries of the world are now under the colossal influence of one force, which today, unfortunately, opposes the force of our people. And since this is so, since there is great strength, then we must also be very strong. When I say "we", I mean, first of all, the Armed Forces – but not only. All of our people today must wake up, wake up, understand that a special time has come, on which the historical fate of our people may depend.
That is why today I celebrated the Divine Liturgy right here, in this church, in order to meet first of all with representatives of our Armed Forces, to address them, and through them to our entire army, to the navy, to all the defenders of the Fatherland, so that they realize the historical importance of the present moment. I want to say again and again: we are a peace-loving country and a very peace-loving, long-suffering people who suffered from wars like few other European nations. We have no desire for war or for doing something that could harm others. But we have been so educated by our entire history that we love our Fatherland and will be ready to defend it in the way that only Russians can defend their country.
When I say these words, I do not say any empty compliments. I start from the history of our people, from the history of our Armed Forces. After all, we broke the back of fascism, which, undoubtedly, would have defeated the world, if not for Russia, if not for the feat of our people. May the Lord help us today too, so that we, being peaceful, peace-loving and modest people, are at the same time ready – always and under any circumstances – to protect our home.
Of course, when I say all this, I do not cease to feel anxiety for all the people who live in those places where military clashes are taking place today. After all, all these are the people and peoples of Holy Rus’, all these are our brothers and sisters. But, as in the Middle Ages, wishing to weaken Russia, various forces pushed the brothers against each other, plunging them into internecine strife, so it is happening today. Therefore, we must do everything we can to stop the bloodshed and avoid the danger of internecine strife with all its consequences. But at the same time, we must be faithful - when I say "we", I mean, first of all, military personnel - to our oath and readiness to "lay down our lives for our friends", as the word of God testifies.
To all of you, my dear ones — Bishops, fathers, brothers, sisters, military personnel, military leaders, our youth — I once again cordially greet and congratulate you on this Sunday and wish all of us to maintain strength of mind, the ability to pray for the Fatherland, and for ourselves, the ability to always maintain inner strength, which can be translated into different life situations, including multiplying the power of our Armed Forces. May the Lord keep our land, our Fatherland for many and good years! Amen.
Easter greetings to President Putin
Your Excellency, dear Vladimir Vladimirovich!
Christ is Risen!
Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on the great and life-affirming feast of Holy Pascha.
Sharing the Easter message and testifying to the unity in the faith of millions of Christians, the Church calls on her children to do good deeds for the good of their neighbours and for the glory of the Fatherland.
I would like to express special gratitude to you for your continued attention to the service of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as for supporting its cultural, educational and other socially significant initiatives. I hope that the fruitful cooperation of the Moscow Patriarchate with state authorities and public institutions will continue to contribute to the preservation and consolidation of the people, the moral and patriotic education of young people, the creation of peace and civil harmony, and the preservation of the rich historical, spiritual and cultural heritage of our country.
I wish you strength of mind and body, God's generous help, and blessed success in your difficult and responsible service in the high office of the President of the Russian Federation.
With deep and sincere respect
Excerpts of sermon on Monday after Easter
Today, too, our people especially need internal unity. Things that are developing around our Fatherland are not easy, you are aware of this as well as I am. And therefore, our people today must especially rally around the historical centre of all Russia - around the city of Moscow, realizing that our strength is only in unity. And as long as we are united and strong, as long as we keep faith in our hearts, as long as we are inspired by the great example of our predecessors, then Russia will be invincible. Victory is always not only a physical victory, not only a victory of the weapon with which the warrior meets the enemy, but it is always a victory of the spirit. And today, many would like this spirit to disappear. And in order for it to be so, it is necessary to sow confusion, create new idols, draw attention to new pseudo-values. But we must keep ours, if you like.
Our pious heroic ancestors, including those who built this cathedral, knew and understood everything well, and therefore the cathedrals were built like fortresses, realizing that at some point, it might be necessary to defend behind their walls, that and happened repeatedly in the history of our Fatherland. Suffice it to recall the heroic defence of Smolensk, when the enemy passed through the fortress walls, and only one cathedral remained as the last fortress and refuge for the defenders of the city. And they did not want to surrender the cathedral - the temple was blown up and buried under the arches of its defenders, who remained undefeated. Let all these wonderful heroic examples inspire us today to defend the Fatherland, to defend our true independence from the powerful centres of power that exist today on earth. May the Lord keep us in true freedom.
All this is directly related to the preservation of the Orthodox faith in the hearts and minds of our people, and therefore my word is addressed today not only to those who stand in this church, and even not only to the children of our Church. My word today is addressed to all our people, especially to those who, by tradition, by the faith of their ancestors, belong to the Orthodox Church: it is time to return to our spiritual home in order to have the strength that can help us, including in the struggle for our true independence and our freedom. May the Lord guard our land, may the Lord guard our people, may the Lord bless the path of those of our brothers and sisters who have been baptized but have not yet really entered the Church. May the Lord keep our army, our authorities and all those on whom the defence of our Fatherland especially depends today.
In this historic cathedral of All Russia, we, strengthened by the wondrous example of our ancestors, today raise a special prayer for the Orthodox faith, for the preservation of the unity of our Church, for the preservation of the unity of our people, for the freedom and independence of our Fatherland. And may the Lord help us to live in this way, to arrange our relations with each other, so as not to darken the Lord in any way, but so that our life helps our prayers, so that they are heard and so that the mercy of the Heavenly Father extends over our land, over our Fatherland, as it stretched throughout a thousand years of history, especially in the most dangerous, critical moments of this history. May the Lord keep our land, our people, our Church, authorities and army for many and good years!
Patriarchal sermon during the Paschal commemoration of the dead in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin
Grand Dukes and Duchesses - those who bore on their shoulders the burden of enormous responsibility for the historical existence of our country, our Church, our people. Many of them, of course, are with the Lord. Someone is glorified, someone is not glorified, but today, praying for them, we turn to them with a request to pray for the Russian state, for our country, so that our sacred borders are impregnable, so that we always have enough wisdom, strength and honour to protect them if necessary. We also appeal to them so that love for the Fatherland never dries up, especially in the minds and hearts of the young generation that is coming after us.
I think it will be so, everything will be preserved, and first of all, perhaps, through the prayers of those who lie in this cathedral, as well as through the prayers of the host of saints who shone in the Russian land, and through the prayers of our Church, which goes along its historical path and, despite the dangers and difficulties of the path and the slyness of this age, carries the word of truth about God, about His Divine Providence, about the salvation that was brought by His Son and our Lord Jesus Christ. And we believe: as long as faith is preserved, love for the Fatherland and the ability to defend one's people and one's country will be preserved with it.
We don't want to fight anyone. Russia has never attacked anyone. It is amazing that a great and powerful country never attacked anyone - it only defended its borders. God grant that until the end of the century our country will be like this - strong, powerful and at the same time loved by God. We ask the Lord that He does not reject His love from our people and from our Church, that He would enlighten the authorities, that in faith, piety and wisdom He would strengthen our people, that He would give us the strength to work, live and, if necessary, fight for the free and independent life of our people and our country to be preserved. And may the saints help us, who shone in the Russian land. May those who rest their bodies here help us with their prayers, but we believe that many of them stand before the Lord with their souls. With the prayers of all, the entire Church, heavenly and earthly, all those who has departed from us, and who lives on our land, may the Lord protect the Russian land from internecine strife and from the invasion of foreigners, and may it strengthen the Orthodox faith - the only spiritual force that can really hold our people together. And we believe that the Lord will not leave us with His mercy and grace, including in the current difficult time of the summer of His goodness.
Full text of the commentary by the Communications Service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on the interview given by Pope Francis to the Italian publication Corriere della sera.
It’s regrettable that a month and a half after the conversation with Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis chose the wrong tone to convey the content of this conversation. Such utterances can hardly further constructive dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, which is so necessary at the current time.
This is what Patriarch Kirill actually said in his conversation with Pope Francis, which took place on 16th March: “I thank you for the opportunity to hold this meeting. When we met in 2016 in Cuba, I said to you that we were meeting at the right time and in the right place. And although our communication is being held through the use of long-distance technology, I still believe that we are once more talking to each other at the right time. With your permission, I would like to share with you my perception of the present-day difficult situation. Of course, we live in different informational expanses: the Western media has either remained silent or said practically very little on those facts which I would like to draw your attention towards.”
Patriarch Kirill further noted that the conflict had begun in 2014 with the events of Maidan in Kiev, as a result of which there was a change of government in Ukraine. He drew special attention to those events in Odessa and their consequences: “There was a peaceful meeting in the city of Russian speakers who were defending their right to their own language and culture. This peaceful gathering was attacked by Nazi groupings who beat them up and struck them with sticks. People sought refuge in the nearest building which was the Trade Union House. At that moment something terrible happened: the building was locked and then burnt to the grounds. People tried to flee by jumping from the second and third floors, and of course they sustained terrible injuries as they hit the ground. Those who stood by the windows decided not to jump as they were being fired upon from below. We watched all of this as it happened live on the television. This terrifying lesson from Odessa influenced the decisions of the population of south-east Ukraine in defending their rights.”
Patriarch Kirill further reminded the Pope that at the end of the Soviet period Russia received assurances that NATO would not expand a single inch eastward. However, theses promises were not kept and even the former Soviet Baltic republics became members of NATO. An extremely dangerous situation had risen as a result in that the borders of NATO were now within 130 kilometers of St. Petersburg and the time it takes for a rocket to reach the city is a few minutes. Had NATO received Ukraine into its membership, then the time it would take for a rocket to reach Moscow would also be a few minutes. Russia could not and cannot permit this.
In conclusion the Patriarch emphasized: “Of course, the present situation causes me great pain. My flock is on both sides of the conflict and most of them are Orthodox people. Part of the opposing side are also among your flock. I would like therefore, leaving the geopolitical aspect to one side, pose the question of how we and our Churches can influence the situation? How can we act together to bring peace to the hostile parties with the single aim of establishing peace and justice? It is very important in these conditions to avoid further escalation.”
The response by Pope Francis was reported accurately by Vatican News in its release of 16th March: “Pope Francis thanked the Patriarch for the meeting, motivated by the desire to point out, as shepherds of their people, a path to peace, to pray for the gift of peace and for a ceasefire. The Pope said, in agreement with the Patriarch, that ‘The Church must not use the language of politics, but the language of Jesus.’ Pope Francis added that ‘we are shepherds of the same Holy People who believe in God, in the Holy Trinity, in the Holy Mother of God: that is why we must unite in the effort to aid peace, to help those who suffer, to seek ways of peace, and to stop the fire.’”
The statement also noted that the “Pope and the Patriarch stressed the exceptional importance of the ongoing negotiation process.”
Sermon on the Day of Saint George
We won that terrible war, and we thought, like many others, that everything would end there and there would be no more wars. How much can you kill each other, how much can you suffer, how much can you destroy? This was the hope of the whole human race, and the United Nations was created to prevent possible wars – and nothing happened in the end. Thank God that there has not been a global war so far, and we will pray that it will not happen in the future, but how many people died in local conflicts! Therefore, today, realizing what a difficult situation is developing in Europe, how difficult the situation is developing around our country, we must intensify our prayer to the Lord, His Most Pure Mother, the Patroness of the Russian land, and to Great Martyr George - the saint, so closely, deeply, ontologically connected with our Great Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We must ask the Lord to show His mercy over our country, to protect it from external and, I will add, internal enemies. Today is the time of special consolidation of all our people. We must all be together, we must be aware that we are going through a difficult, dangerous and, in a sense, fateful period in our history. And we will turn our prayers to St. George the Victorious, to all the saints who shone in the Russian land, so that our country will remain free, independent in the full sense of the word from all world centers of power, because only in this way can a great Orthodox country exist, also with a large pious Islamic population, who proved their loyalty to Russia with their lives and their victims. This amazing combination of feat, courage, and faith of our people gives even today hope for our victory, for getting rid of any enemies who want to encroach on our country, on our land. Let us pray to St. George, on the day of whose memory our people won the Victory in the most terrible war in all of human history, that he, undoubtedly accompanying us in that desperate and terrible struggle for the survival and salvation of the people and country, will be with us today, with our people, with our army, with our authorities. But, first of all, that Saint George before the throne of God would pray for the Russian land.
Excerpt from the sermon on the third Sunday after Easter
It so happened that our country almost never waged aggressive wars. There were two cases that can give us an example and say: “But what about the First World War? And before it, the Balkan war? After all, you went to the Balkans, and Samsonov's army moved to East Prussia - that means you are aggressors. Not at all! Our army went to the Balkans not in order to expand the territory of our country, not in order to enrich the country with rich booty, not in order to subjugate other peoples, but in order to save the Bulgarian people from five hundred years of slavery. And name another country that has sacrificed thousands and thousands of its sons in order to help another country the way we helped the Bulgarians!
And the First World War? Serbs became the main goal and target of Western forces. And this well-known provocation in Sarajevo - everything was aimed at ensuring that Serbia, an Orthodox country close to Russia in spirit, but living surrounded by Western countries, ceased to exist. The West did not want to have this courageous Orthodox people loving Russia among its peoples, and provoked the First World War. And Russia entered this war not in order to acquire land for itself, not in order to enrich itself, not in order to gain power over others, but in order to save the fraternal Serbian people.
So, the two wars about which we can be accused of having gone first are the defense of the Bulgarians and the defense of the Serbs. These goals were not related to mercantile, material, political or geopolitical interests - Russia was exhausting itself, Russia was sacrificing itself in order to help others. That is why we call our army Christ-loving - because what power, other than internal spiritual strength, can explain the great feat of our soldiers in those two wars!
And what happened during the Great Patriotic War? A terrible enemy attacked a country that had not gone through the best period of its history – the 20s and 30s. Each of us who has studied history knows how difficult, difficult and even terrible these years were for the people. But then the war came, and all insults were forgotten, all the repressed were ready to go and defend the Fatherland. And how many people, whom only yesterday the authorities considered enemies of the people, have become ardent defenders of the Motherland! Where does all this come from? This is from our spiritual roots, this is from our national identity, which really stems from the spiritual values of our people. And even in a godless time, these values could not be dismantled and destroyed, because they became part of life, part of the soul of our people.
And today, in this military temple, we pay tribute to all those who are now defending our Fatherland at various frontiers. We believe that even today our army needs spiritual strength, support and, most importantly, the prayers of all our people no less than in those times that I recalled. And the army must remember that we love it, remember and pray for those who are defending our Fatherland today.
I would like to appeal to the servicemen who are present here, and through them to our entire army. Remember, brothers, that on how you carry out your military duty, on how capable you are of defending the Fatherland, and even, I’m not afraid of these words, to lay down your soul for your friends, according to the commandment of God, the freedom, independence, independence of our Fatherland will depend. Independence from even the most powerful forces that today practically rule the world, but do not rule our country, and hence all the problems. And may the Lord enlighten all of us - the army, the people, the youth, the elderly, our intelligentsia, and the workers, and those who work in the countryside - and help us to realize what an important historical moment we are going through today, how we need our prayers and help our army, navy, all our armed forces. How we should be all together today - not threatening anyone, not attacking anyone, but being absolutely ready to repel any aggression against our people and our country. May the feat and example of our great commanders - saints Alexander Nevsky and Dmitry Donskoy, wonderful military leaders Suvorov,
And here's something else I would like to say. Russia does not wish harm to anyone, does not want to capture and occupy anyone, does not want to drain resources from anyone, as most of the rich and strong countries of the world do, economically occupying weak and helpless countries. We do not need all this, we are self-sufficient, but we need only one thing - our true freedom, our independence from these world centers of power, which today, unfortunately, are becoming hostile to Russia. We must consolidate all our forces, both spiritual and material, so that no one dares to encroach on the sacred borders of our Fatherland.
And my words are not what our opponents would like to characterize as "another militaristic speech of the Patriarch." It's all nonsense! My relatives and friends died during the war or died in the Leningrad blockade. I was born right after the war - in 1946, I remember post-siege Leningrad. On all of us, on that first post-war generation, lay the stamp of sorrow, sacrifice, loss, destruction. I walked to school along Maly Prospekt of Vasilevsky Island and saw the skeletons of destroyed houses - they had not yet been demolished, they stood as a terrible reminder of the Leningrad blockade. And these skeletons were very close to the house where my mother lived with her eldest son, still a baby, when aerial bombs exploded a hundred meters away. We all remember this, and therefore today we especially pray and must all work together, so that the Lord protects our Fatherland from every enemy and adversary, so that our people unite, overcoming all disagreements and differences of opinion and life positions that are natural for human society. Today, everything must be put aside and we must be united in the most important thing - in our readiness to show love for the Fatherland in a real way, both in deed and in word, and in the ability to protect our people and our country.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to those who are present here today, but most of all I would like to once again thank the authorities and our army, which today, in conditions of practically military operations, is serving, defending our Fatherland. And again and again, emphasizing the importance, beauty and valor of the military feat, I urge everyone to pray for peace, that the Lord would avert all military actions, that the Lord would reconcile peoples, nations and states, so that peace would become the property of the entire human race. Because the Lord has called us to peace, not to war.
Appeal to the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill
For the fourth day, the unprovoked full-scale aggression of Russia, the state whose Orthodox Church you lead, against Ukraine continues. As a result of the war unleashed by the leadership of your country, millions of people are suffering, hundreds of thousands of children, women, and the elderly have been forced to seek a safer place, thus leaving their homes. Every day, our fellow citizens are forced to shelter for hours during the shelling of our cities by Russian troops. Soldiers and civilians are dying.
Unfortunately, it has become clear from your previous public statements that maintaining the goodwill of Putin and the leadership of the Russian Federation is much more important to you than caring for the people in Ukraine, some of whom considered you their shepherd before the war. Therefore, it hardly makes sense to ask you to do something effective to stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine immediately.
However, I still remain hopeful that at least in relation to your own fellow citizens, most of whom are Orthodox Christians, your flock, you will find the spiritual strength to show humanity and care.
We are talking about more than three thousand dead Russian servicemen, whose bodies are on the soil of Ukraine. The leadership of our country has already appealed to the International Red Cross to facilitate the return of the bodies of the Russian military to their homeland, so that relatives and friends can say goodbye to them and give them burial. Unfortunately, no response has been received from the Russian side so far.
Therefore, I appeal to you, as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, to please show mercy to your fellow citizens and flock. If you cannot raise your voice against aggression, at least take the bodies of Russian soldiers whose lives have become the price for the ideas of the “Russian world” – yours and your president.
May the Lord give you spiritual strength at least for this, especially today, on Sunday that commemorates the Last Judgment!
Despite the long, sincere, persistent efforts of Ukraine and the entire international community, there was an unprovoked, insidious, cynical attack by Russia and Belarus on Ukraine.
Our common task is to repel the enemy, to protect our homeland, our future and the future of new generations from the tyranny that the aggressor seeks to bring on his bayonets.
The truth is on our side. Therefore, the enemy, with God's help and with the support of the entire civilized world, will be defeated.
Our task now is to unite, to withstand the first blow, not to panic. We believe in God's providence and the victory of truth. We trust our Armed Forces, our defenders. We pray with all those who are at the forefront of the fight against the aggressor.
It is extremely important not to succumb to possible internal provocations, to maintain order, to carry out orders of the state and military authorities of Ukraine.
Wherever possible, I ask the clergy and the faithful to regularly offer their prayers for Ukraine, for victory, for our soldiers. I bless you to read the Akathist to the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and other relevant prayer requests.
I appeal to the international community, to all the world's religious leaders, to support Ukraine, to force Russia and Belarus to stop the aggression immediately. I ask all people of good will to do this.
Those who have started and are waging an aggressive war against Ukraine should know that according to God's law and human laws, they are murderers and criminals. And they will answer for their crime before the Most High and before mankind, without escaping condemnation and punishment.
Dear brothers and sisters!
As Primate, I am with you, performing my duties. As events unfold, I will keep you informed.
"Do not be afraid, stand still - and you will see the Lord's salvation that He will create for you today […]; The Lord will fight for you, and you will be calm ”(Exodus 14: 13-14).
Ukrainians are a peaceful people, but strong in spirit and faith. We believe that the violence and weapons that are being unlawfully directed against us today will turn into the wrath of God and the sword against the aggressor. For all criminal intentions are known to God, as it is said: “Consider plans, but they are destroyed; speak the word, but it will not come to pass: for God is with us. (Isa. 8:10). Let the words of the Savior be fulfilled in the instigators of war and invaders: "All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword" (Matt. 26:52).
With prayer on our lips, with love for God, for Ukraine, for our neighbours, we fight against evil - and we will see victory.
I invoke upon the Ukrainian state, on the soldiers who defend Ukraine, and on all our people, God's blessing!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
24-2-2024 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear brothers and sisters!
On the fourth day, our heroic people are defending themselves from the attack of Russia, which throws its soldiers and weapons at our villages and cities, strikes us with artillery. Ukraine withstands this frantic blow thanks to its well-trained military, proper leadership, and the help of allies, but the main reason is an indomitable, and therefore invincible spirit.
The spirit of love for the Motherland, for freedom, for neighbour. This spirit of love and truth, which are on our side, testify that with God's help we will achieve victory. Every hour of resistance to aggression brings us closer to this.
We pray and act – each in his own place, in the way that is possible in specific circumstances. And every hour of our resistance inspires more and more people around the world to support Ukraine. Tens and hundreds of thousands gather in the squares of the world's capitals and rallies in support. Our blue and yellow flag of freedom has become a symbol of resistance to tyranny, and the slogan "Glory to Ukraine!" does not require translation.
Among the calls for an immediate end to Russia's aggression against Ukraine is the voice of my brothers, the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches. I thank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Romanian Patriarch Daniel, Georgian Patriarch Elijah, Archbishop Jerome of Athens and all my hierarchical brothers, clergy, faithful, Christians and all people of good will for praying and supporting the world.
Today, the Russian president ordered the increase of the level of readiness of nuclear weapons. Is this not confirmation of a fact that the head of our state Volodymyr Zelensky and many others have said from the beginning: not only is Ukraine in danger, the whole world is in danger. The spirit of the antichrist operates in the leader of Russia, the signs of which are revealed to us in Scriptures: pride, devotion to evil, ruthlessness, false religiosity. This was Hitler during World War II. This is what Putin has become today.
Therefore, the task not only of our country, but of all countries of the world, of all people of good will, is to stop Putin now. Act, and act immediately. I urge world leaders to do so!
Separately, I would like to address our faithful and fellow citizens. Interfaith peace is one of the main achievements of independent Ukraine. The feelings that are now evoked in the souls of Ukrainians by the name "Moscow" are quite understandable. But I beg you – do not succumb to anger, especially the provocations of the enemy. If you know specific true information about someone's help to the aggressor, provide it to law enforcement or the military. But I already see and know about many clergy and faithful of the Moscow Patriarchate that have reconsidered their attitude to the leadership in Russia and stand by everyone in defense of Ukraine.
Therefore, we will postpone all issues of achieving understanding and church unity in Ukraine until victory. I am convinced that many hierarchs, priests, and laity of the Moscow Patriarchate are already asking themselves about their future, which they do not associate with the discredited Patriarch Kirill. I hope that in fraternal communication, as Orthodox believers and children of one nation, we will find a solution to disputes. But now let's postpone them all, because nothing is worth more today than the victory of Ukraine!
We pray to Almighty God and ask Him, the Blessed Virgin and all the saints for help, protection, defense, strength, courage and most importantly – victory and peace.
I call on the defenders of Ukraine and on all our people God's blessing!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
27/2/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear brothers and sisters!
Ukraine's resistance to Russian aggression has been going on for a week now, although every hour of this time seems like a long time to many. Russia continues to act as a terrorist, attacking our cities, shelling civilians, destroying public infrastructure.
Our struggle against the enemy is difficult, but we believe in our victory, because the truth and God's help are on our side. Evidence of this assistance is the destruction of the enemy's plan to achieve the goal in a few days of rapid progress – to destroy the statehood of Ukraine.
That is why the aggressor is looking for new reserves for the invasion, inclining Belarus to crime. I appeal to the Belarusians, our neighbours – you know what it's like to live under a dictatorship, you protested against it. They want to bring the same, even worse, dictatorship to us in Ukraine. Fight with all your might to ensure that your country is not involved in vile and criminal Russian aggression, and that your soldiers are sent to their death for Putin's imperial fantasies.
As hierarch and Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, I would also like to warn every Ukrainian citizen who hopes to gain power and positions in occupied Ukraine from bloody Russian hands: eternal shame and curses will fall on you from people and from God as those who fell on the traitor Judas. Hell will be prepared for you together with Judas.
Dear brothers and sisters!
The suffering caused by the war, the tension from numerous announcements about the air attack, concern for the future, for family and friends – all this cannot help but be depressing. Fear and anxiety turn into the temptation to pour out emotions, anger, condemnation of those around. Fight it! Do not let darkness take over your heart.
The best way to do this is to pray. A sincere appeal to God calms the soul, gives purification and strengthens resolve. Read the prayers from the Prayer Book, read the book of Psalms from the Bible, pray in your own words – the most important are the sincerity and feelings with which you speak to God.
Today I had the joy of praying in St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral for our defenders, for the President and for all our people. Also at noon, representatives of the entire religious community of Ukraine, united in the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, gathered for prayer in St. Sophia.
Today I received a letter of condolences and support from the Primate of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Jerome of Athens. He condemns the Russian aggression against Ukraine and assures prayer and humanitarian aid provided by the Greek Church. We are sincerely grateful to our brothers for this.
In conclusion, I would like to mention once again our sanctuary, St. Sophia, which, as you know, is also under threat of Russian attack. A symbolic event took place today: a cross was erected on the south-eastern dome of the cathedral, which had previously fallen during the storm. I believe that the integrity of our state will be restored as this cross. By joint efforts we will achieve, with God's help, victory over the aggressor.
To fight for this, I call on the Lord's blessing and help on all of you!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
2/3/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear brothers and sisters!
Our courageous resistance to Russian aggression has been going on for ten days now. The enemy cannot understand why the Ukrainian people are so resisting.
The answer is very simple: because we know our own history. Now our suffering is measured in hours and days. Under the yoke of Kremlin tyranny, the Ukrainian people have lived for decades at the cost of millions tortured by hunger and repression. Therefore, we have no choice but to fight. After all, this is a struggle for freedom, for the future, for the opportunity for us and for new generations to live in our own free state.
And now I want to address our Orthodox fellow believers from the Moscow Patriarchate.
Dear bishops, fathers, brothers and sisters! You, like all of us, suffer from the Russian invasion. Every Russian bomb, rocket, and shell on Ukrainian soil finally kills the myths of "Holy Russia" and the "Triune People."
Many of you are already thinking about the fact that it is no longer possible to be under the jurisdiction of the Russian patriarch. You have always declared your devotion to the canons, and the canons stipulate that there should be a single Local Church in Ukraine. We urge you to take the canonical path – the path of unity.
We understand that for many it will not be easy to follow this path. Therefore, I suggest: those who are ready and willing to join the Orthodox Church of Ukraine – our doors and our hearts are open to you! Both individual communities and entire dioceses can do this, become part of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Those who are not ready for such a step can show their good intentions to serve together with us, as is customary among the clergy of different jurisdictions, such as in the diaspora. Who can not dare to do so – at least declare publicly a demand to your leadership not just to stop mentioning the name of the Moscow Patriarch, but to have full independence from Moscow with the earliest changes to the Statute.
"Russian Peace" has brought terrible grief to our land, so it is necessary to break forever with this bloody chauvinistic ideology.
To the faithful of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and to our supporters, I would like to renew my request, expressed earlier: do not succumb to emotions, give our brothers the opportunity to walk the path to unity. We need a truly conscious unity, because only then will it be true and strong.
Today I offer my prayers for the Ukrainian soldiers, for the President and the state, for all of you and I call on the Lord's blessing!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
05/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Excerpt of primate’s sermon on Forgiveness Sunday
If in recent years such reflections during Lent were spiritual and allegorical for us, today we, the entire Ukrainian people, literally suffer every hour in the terrible realities of war. These sufferings are innocent. The Ukrainian people have not done any harm to Russia, which has attacked and tortured, whipped and crucified us. Therefore, what we are suffering now is, from a spiritual point of view, compassion for Christ, that is, innocent suffering.
These sufferings are difficult, but among them let us be comforted by the realization that our innocent sufferings will inevitably be crowned with victory and eternal glory, just as the sufferings of Christ were crowned with them. The Saviour was shamed and crucified on the cross - but He rose from the dead and defeated evil. We are suffering in the same way now, but with God's help we will win. And Ukraine, which is now being crucified by the Russian occupiers, will be resurrected.
Therefore, now, on the path of Lent, amid the grief and torment of the war imposed on us by Russia, we must strengthen our resolve and be inspired by the awareness of the inevitability of the victory of truth, goodness and light. We are now suffering innocently as our Saviour, but we will soon be glorified as victors, as our Lord is risen and glorified.
However, until this blessed time comes, we must work spiritually and physically. During the liturgy, I have already drawn your attention to the peculiarities of the current fast, when sacrifice, mutual aid, and charity for others will indeed be a greater feat than restrictions on food. So where possible, let us fast according to tradition, and where it is impossible, let sacrificial service to our neighbours be our fasting feat.
06/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Statement of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine
In course of Russian aggression against Ukraine the aggressor’s shelling aim at, alongside with peaceful infrastructure and residential buildings, the temples. Even the greatest spiritual sanctuary, the St Sophia Cathedral, appears under the threat of attack. From the whole Ukraine we receive the reports of hitting the churches, even those, where the refugees found shelter.
As a Primate, I appeal to the Russian murderers: do not aggravate your crimes with destroying the sanctuaries, especially as you hypocritically justify yourself with “defending the Church”.
I appeal to the international community and especially to the religious leaders: raise your voice in opposing this crime of Russia. With the word and the deed do all the possible to stop the shelling and bombardments.
I appeal especially to the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate in Ukraine: do you not see how the cities and towns in Northern, East, and Southern Ukraine are being shelled, and the blasts kill, among others, those who see you as their shepherds? Demand loudly from Russia, from the Patriarch of Moscow to stop these barbaric shelling! Do not hide behind general wishes of peace, but tell the Truth, as Our Lord bequeathed.
I want once again to join my voice to millions of voices of the Ukrainians, appealing to the free world: close the sky over Ukraine! Putin thinks anyway that he wages the war “with America and NATO” on our soil. The Russian dictator already is at war with you, has already attacked you. Thus, defending Ukraine, our people, children, our homes and temples, you defend yourselves.
06/3/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
My appeal today is dedicated to the bleeding, painful and severe wound on the body of our Nation – the peaceful population, which is suffering due to the Russian aggression.
Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Irpin, Bucha, Hostomel and many other cities and villages in the Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Donets and Luhansk oblasts, in Kherson, Zhytomyr, Mykolaiv and other regions of Ukraine, are under the barbaric daily attack of the Russian armed forces. They are utilizing rocket and bomb attacks from the air as well as conventional artillery.
The enemy is intentionally ruining the infrastructure, destroying civilian dwellings and is killing and terrorizing the peaceful population. Recent announcements and agreements have only today begun to allow for so-called “green corridors” in certain cities to allow for the movement of refugees and allow the delivery of products, medicine and water.
Especially awful is the situation in Mariupol, which is blocked by Russian forces.
I understand that there is no practical sense in addressing the Russian occupiers, so I only wish to inform them, for all of the spilled blood, for the suffering and tears, for the ruined lives, each of them will personally have to answer before God and will receive as promised by God, no mercy and eternal suffering for their crimes and unmerciful actions.
So today, I am reaching out to our international circle of friends: the Ukrainian people would like to understand, why is there a system of international law, why do the United Nations, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe exist, why are the words “Never Again” reiterated every May 8th? Today the legal forms are being trampled, Russia is intentionally mocking the mechanisms of the U.N. and OSCE, and all that we have read and heard from the witnesses of World War II in Europe is occurring again.
Therefore, I on behalf of the thousands of people living in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Hostomel, Irpin, Bucha and others, who are continue to be murdered by Russian armed forces, am raising my voice and I call upon all nations and international institutions to: TAKE ACTION! Take action so that Russia immediately stops the barbaric ruination of Ukrainian cities, villages and their population.
With pain in my heart, I raise prayers for the casualties of Russian national terrorism, I ask that God, His Mother the Virgin Mary and all the saints, provide them help, protection and defence. I pray for the souls of the innocent who have perished. I ask that all people of good will join in these prayers.
Let Almighty God, as The Righteous Judge, look at the suffering Ukrainian Nation and bring his judgement on the unmerciful murderers! Let the anger of God and inescapable retribution that is promised to these lost souls be upon them!
I wish the Ukrainian armed forces, The President our Nation and all of its people, with the help of God, to reach victory over the aggressor and true peace.
O Great God Eternal! For us Ukraine do protect!
Dear brothers and sisters, Ukrainian people!
Our resistance to the enemy has been going on for fifteen days. Thanks to the courage of our defenders, our unity and mutual support, thanks to the help of our allies and people of good will around the world, Ukraine has already morally defeated the aggressor. Because only those who have a stony heart and have lost their conscience can find excuses for Russia's barbaric bombing of Ukrainian towns and villages, for the conscious war crimes committed by the aggressor.
Such a crime against humanity is all that the enemy is doing to Mariupol now. Yesterday's bombing of the maternity hospital was an abyss of murder and cynicism, which terrified the whole world. The deliberate destruction of the infrastructure of a large city, bringing its population to unbearable conditions of survival – for all this, Russian criminals will inevitably be punished by human law and the law of God.
I ask the world community to do everything possible immediately to stop the Russian terror against the inhabitants of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and other cities and villages of Ukraine! And I ask Christians and all people of good will to pray for those who now especially need God's protection and help.
Dear brothers and sisters!
In the conditions of war, the question of how to combine God's commandment "Thou shalt not kill" with the armed resistance of the enemy is especially acute. An explanation can be found in the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Romans: “If you do evil, fear [the one who bears the sword], for it is not in vain that he bears the sword; he is a servant of God, an avenger to punish those who do evil” (Rom. 13: 4). Therefore, the use of weapons to protect our neighbours and the Motherland from the enemy, to protect against the destruction and evil that the aggressor brings to our common home, is not a violation of God's will, but on the contrary – its implementation. Witnessing this truth, the Church sincerely and again sincerely blesses the Ukrainian army and all our people for the resistance of the enemy and prays for victory and peace for Ukraine!
In times of severe suffering of the people, every citizen of our state must be aware of his personal responsibility for bringing peace. And if Ukraine calls for its defence, responding to this call is not only a civic but also a Christian duty. With weapons in hand at the front or work in the rear, decent performance of official duties or volunteer assistance to the victims – everyone must now make efforts to defend Ukraine. And all the faithful must also pray – for the Ukrainian army, for the civilians who suffer from the aggressor, for victory and peace for Ukraine! For prayer, according to the Scriptures, is a powerful weapon against the devil and his servants, and for the faithful – help and inspiration.
I call on our defenders, on the President and the state, on all the Ukrainian people, God's blessing!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
Sermon on Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy
From these words of Scripture, we can once again be convinced that history - not only the past but also the present, the time in which we live - has not only a human, visible dimension, but also a spiritual, eternal meaning. The struggle against enemies, wars, armed resistance to the invasion of foreigners existed both in ancient times and now, and is an important struggle between good and evil, the struggle against sinful darkness, against the power of the devil in this world.
In the words of the Scriptures we have heard, Moses, Gideon, and David are mentioned - those who stood up against an enemy much stronger than them. Against the enemy, which in human reason was difficult to defeat, because he was numerous, strong, armed and powerful. All this the Old Testament righteous opposed the power of faith in God - and with the help of the Lord achieved victory over the enemy.
We must understand that in the war that our people are waging against the invaders, we are resisting not only the Russian army. As in biblical times, now on our earth there is also a struggle between good and evil, truth and untruth, love and murder.
We know well from the Scriptures that the signs of man's subordination to the devil are untruth and murder. To those who have committed such sins, the Savior Himself says, “Your father is the devil; and you want to fulfill the lusts of your father. He has been a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of himself: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Taking these biblical signs and applying them to the present day, we can clearly see that the enemies who came to our land with the war are quite consistent with them.
After all, the very reason for the attack on Ukraine is false, and the lie justifies the continuation of this aggression. The consequence of such a great lie is cruelty, ruthlessness, murder, which we see in the actions of the Russian occupiers. Under the slogans of defending the faith - they destroy temples, kill priests and the faithful. Under the guise of caring for human rights, they create intolerable living conditions, destroy cities and villages, ruthlessly torture people and kill them without guilt. Speaking of the desire for peace, more and more people are fomenting war.
What can we oppose to the devil, how can we defeat his servants? The word of Scripture that we hear today gives us the answer: we can overcome through faith in God, by opposing sin to virtue.
After all, faith in God gives us the same power that Moses directed against Pharaoh and all his power, freeing his people from slavery. Faith helps us to overcome the enemy, just as it helped Gideon with only three hundred soldiers to defeat the Midianite army of many thousands. Just as young David defeated the giant Goliath by virtue of his faith, which freed the people of Israel from Philistine rule, so we, having faith, can drive the Russian aggressors out of our land.
What virtues should we show especially in this dark time for humanity? Love, mercy, sacrifice, steadfastness in truth - these are the virtues that oppose the lies, greed, cruelty and selfishness of the servants of the devil. And in the various manifestations of virtue we see the triumph of our faith, which is embodied in concrete good deeds.
Every year, dear brothers and sisters, on this first Sunday of Lent, we traditionally commemorate the historical events of the victory of the true faith over heretical falsehood, especially honoring the ascetics, preachers and defenders of the truth. Today, not forgetting the events of the past, we are more focused on the present, on the struggle against sin and injustice that gave rise to and nourishes the Russian war with Ukraine. That is why instead of the traditional prayer of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, today we offer prayers with special feelings for the Ukrainian soldiers, for our native state, its protection and victory over the invaders. We offer prayers for all those who suffer from barbaric attacks by the enemy of our cities and villages, who need salvation and care. We also pray for the peace of the souls of our fallen defenders and civilians, that the Lord may settle them in His Kingdom.
In these prayers and deeds of love, sacrifice and charity, the triumph of true faith is for us right now. Faith in God, in whom, like Moses, Gideon, David, and other righteous people, we place our hope, to whom we turn with tears and tenderness of heart: protect all those who need Your care today. We believe that just as in ancient times You, Lord, strengthened your people in the fight against oppressors, so today you will help us to protect Ukraine from the invasion of foreigners.
13/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Prayer for liberation from the invasion of foreigners
Lord God of strength, God of our salvation, You alone work miracles. Look in mercy and compassion on the humility of Your servants and listen to us humanely and have mercy on us: for our enemies have gathered against us to destroy us and destroy our state and our sanctuary. Help us, God our Saviour, and deliver us for the glory of Your name, and may the words spoken by Moses come true for us: be of good cheer, stand fast and see salvation from the Lord, for the Lord is fighting for us.
Yes, Lord God our Saviour, do not remember the iniquities and iniquities of Your people and do not turn away from us with Your wrath, but in mercy and mercy visit Your humble servants who belong to You: stand to our aid and give to our army with Him to win over you. Destroy the intentions and unjust courage of those who go to war against us.
We pray to You, Lord of our peace and tranquillity, that as the smoke disappears, so may our enemies disappear, and as the dust falls from the face of the wind, so may their evil thoughts dissipate from our Ukrainian state. O Lord, keep quiet those who oppose Your commandments and ordinances. Restore to them the memory of Your commandment: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. And for those who oppose this commandment of yours, send wrath, sorrow and angels of fury, who will instil in them fear and memory of what they call themselves Christians.
May the Lord be Your will over us, and if Your Providence is such as to lay down our lives of our soldiers in the battle for Faith and Ukraine, forgive them their sins, and on the day of Your righteous Judgment give them the crown of immortality. But we believe and pray to You, Most Gifted Lord, that You will protect, calm down and warn and bring everyone to peace.
For You are the protection and the victory and the salvation of those who hope in You, and we send glory to You, Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always, and forever and ever. Amen!
Prayer for warriors and those who suffer from war
God the Great, God Almighty! We, Your sinful children, come to You in humility of our hearts and bow our heads. Father! Forgive our guilt and the guilt of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Accept today, we beseech You, our sincere prayer and our gratitude for Your infinite mercy to us. Hear our prayers and accept the prayers of our hearts. Bless our Motherland Ukraine, victory over the enemy, give her destiny and happiness. Merciful Lord, grant Your mercy to all who turn to You with supplication. We pray to You, God, for the Soldiers and Defenders, for our brothers and sisters, for the widows, for the orphans, for the crippled and the weak, for those who are in occupation and captivity, for those who are in difficult circumstances, for refugees and for all those who need Your mercy and help. Unite us all into one great family of Christ, that all the people of Ukraine may glorify Your majestic name with our unity and victories always, and now, and always, and forever and ever. Amen.
Dear brothers and sisters! Ukrainian people!
Our successful resistance to Russian aggression has been going on for three weeks now. Resistance with weapons in hand at the front and work in the rear. Resistance through volunteer help and information work. Opposition on the diplomatic front and through rallies and loyalty to Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories. Resistance to evil through faith and prayer.
For our freedom and a dignified future, we pay a very high price every day – the price of human lives. At the front for Ukraine, our newest heroe-defenders are sacrificing themselves. In Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, in the cities and villages of the north, east, and south of Ukraine, civilians are subjected to barbaric attacks, bombings, and shelling on a daily basis.
It is impossible to see and hear, without tears and heartache, what a hell Russian troops have turned the lives of civilians in these besieged or partially occupied cities.
Every day we pray for the salvation and protection of our brothers and sisters at the hands of murderers. This prayer, the prayer for the Ukrainian army, for the state, for victory, is constantly heard here, in the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, the spiritual center of our Local Church. It is heard in thousands of churches, in millions of hearts in Ukraine and around the world. And we believe that with God's help, thanks to our joint efforts, every hour of the fight against evil brings us closer to the much-desired victory and peace.
Dear brothers and sisters!
Undoubtedly, it is difficult to bear the tension and fear of these dark times, especially for those who really stand between life and death every day. But in spite of everything, we must preserve our common heritage, which has already surprised the world – our unity, mutual support, mercy and sacrifice for each other.
From the beginning, the enemy hoped for divisions and disputes among Ukrainians, hoping that we would not be able to stand together against the aggressor. As in many other calculations, Russia was very wrong.
So let us keep in the future what gives us strength and despite all the difficulties will lead to victory: faith in God, steadfastness of spirit, unity in love for Ukraine and neighbors.
May the Lord bless us all on this path of struggle for truth and freedom!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
Sermon on 19 March
Dear brothers and sisters!
In these dark and terrible times of war, when death is literally at hand, when we do not know from the beginning whether a Russian bullet, bomb, rocket will take our lives or the lives of our neighbours – we will overcome this fear by understanding God's victory over death. For, in fact, death should be terrible only for sinners, for criminals, for murderers.
After all, for those who believe in God and live by keeping His commandments, who sacrifice themselves for the sake of others, after death comes blissful eternal peace. But for criminals and murderers, death opens the door to hell, to condemnation and eternal torment.
So today we offer prayers for the peace of souls of all those who gave their lives defending Ukraine from enemies, for the eternal and blissful peace of all civilians who died in the Russian shelling. May our faith help us to overcome the natural grief of loss, and may the fervent prayer for the dead be for their benefit and for our benefit, soothing our pain and healing our emotional wounds.
May the Kingdom of Heaven, forgiveness of sins of free and unfree and blissful eternal life be given by the Lord to all our fallen soldiers who gave their lives for Ukraine and for their neighbours, all civilians who died at the hands of foreigners and all those we remember in prayer today!
Sermon on the Second Sunday of Lent
What is happening now in Ukraine is not just a war, an armed conflict between the two countries, as outsiders sometimes think. Here is the struggle of darkness against light, death – with life, slavery – against freedom. Russia as a state became the personification of darkness, the empire of evil, the tyranny of slavery. And the proof of this is the destruction and murder that Russia has brought to us. Is there light in these works? Are all the words with which Russia justifies its crimes true? No.
And from this we can be convinced once again that the evil planned by Moscow will not succeed. For the Russian state and the Russian army do not receive blessings, but the curses and condemnations that the Lord promises for the servants of the devil. Condemnation and curse, merciless punishment from the Almighty await murderers and murderers, because they love evil and darkness.
We, dear brothers and sisters, must take care to preserve and multiply the light of truth, love, mercy and goodness. Because that's the only way we can win this war. And I believe that with God's blessing and help we will win.
Statement on the 1 month anniversary of the war
Our successful resistance to open Russian aggression has been going on for a month now. But in fact this is part of a struggle against Russian imperial tyranny, which began more than a century ago. We are completing the work we started back then - we are creating a Ukraine free from the shackles of Moscow. Ideological shackles, political shackles, religious shackles.
During this month of open aggression, as well as all the previous eight years of Russia's undeclared war against Ukraine, our Church has constantly emphasized that the truth is on the side of our people and our state. And where there is truth, there is the Lord. And where the Lord is, there is victory!
We believe in God, so we believe in victory, we bring it closer to unity, mutual support, sacrifice, which is manifested in the defence of the state with weapons in hand and in the service of others. We are also approaching victory with fervent prayer, which flows every day, every hour, in our temples, pouring from hundreds of thousands and millions of hearts to God and the saints. This prayer is for the Ukrainian army and our state, for those who suffer from the shelling of Russian murderers, for refugees. Our prayer is for victory and a just peace for Ukraine. Our prayer is for eternal peace in the Kingdom of Heaven for the souls of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians whose lives were taken by Russian assassins.
Our prayer is also for the unity of the Orthodox Church. I reiterate the call of the Holy Synod to the brothers and sisters who are still subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate: let us unite around Kyiv, let us unite in the Local Orthodox Church of Ukraine! Don't wait until you are given permission or instruction from Moscow - the missiles and bombs that the Russian military is now dropping on you with the deceptive blessing of Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill are already the answer to the "Russian measure." This answer is your shelled, burned, destroyed temples. This answer is Kirill's silence on the crimes of the Russian army in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and dozens of other cities and villages in Ukraine.
Dozens of communities, a number of monasteries in different regions of Ukraine have already voluntarily and consciously fulfilled their canonical duty and followed the Thomos of autocephaly. Make your choice in favour of the Church and Ukraine, in favour of the truth. The doors of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and our hearts are open to all of you!
Dear brothers and sisters! Morally, the Ukrainians have already won. And thanks to the indomitable spirit and support of the free world, we will expel the enemy from our land. I call on the courageous Ukrainian army, on the President and the government, on the state and local authorities, on all the heroic Ukrainian people, God's blessing!
God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!
Sermon on third Sunday of Lent
All these reflections, all these meanings and images that the Church gives us every year in the middle of the fasting path – because next week we will have the middle of Lent and time is running fast! – All this resonates in our hearts with special force now that the war is going on.
Have we, as a state and a people, done something against Russia that deserves the cruelty and murder we suffer from the troops of the neighbouring people? We did not do anything like that, we did not have any evil plans against our neighbours, we just wanted to live in our own house as free people. Do our heroic warriors, who are now giving their lives for Ukraine and its better future, deserve to die? Did the civilians of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Bucha and Gostomel, Sumy and Volnovakha, and tens and hundreds of other towns and villages in Ukraine, who are now being tortured and killed by Russian aggressors, sowing destruction and death, do something evil and worthy of punishment against Moscow? They didn't do anything like that! But they are suffering. They suffer as the martyrs, persecuted by pagans and atheists, suffered. Suffering like the Saviour on the cross is unjust.
Without faith in God, without faith in eternal life, in the victory of good over evil, such suffering, such injustice is difficult and impossible to survive without breaking. But our faith in Christ crucified and risen gives us, gives the Ukrainian people the strength to overcome these sufferings. We took our cross, we took the common cross of Ukraine –and we carry it to the Calvary of Suffering to defeat evil and achieve the Resurrection.
Therefore, our heroes do not die, but go to eternity with glory! Therefore, the shed blood of the innocent is not in vain, but like the blood of the martyrs, it gives eternal crowns to those who have not betrayed love of neighbour. And on the heads of the tormentors this blood gathers, according to the figurative expression of the Scriptures, like burning coals, overflowing the cup of the Lord's wrath, which will be poured out on the wicked.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, although the heavy cross has fallen on us, we must bear it with dignity, follow Christ – and then we will achieve victory. Spiritual victories and victories over the evil brought to our home by the Russian aggressor. Victory, the proof of which is that the crucified Christ is risen. We believe that by the power of God's truth and mercy, by the power of love, sacrifice and faith of our people, Ukraine, which is still wounded, tortured and crucified by its enemies, will be resurrected.
Sermon on the fourth Sunday of Lent
our reflections could be completed, if not for the special circumstances of the time that motivate us to continue. Apparently, the vast majority of you have already heard and know about yesterday's announcement, which is undoubtedly joyful for us: thanks to the courageous defenders of Ukraine and with God's help, the whole Kyiv region was cleansed of the enemy, Russian aggressors were expelled from it. At the same time, yesterday brought us terrible news that we are not yet able to fully comprehend – in the liberated towns and villages of northern Kyiv, Irpen, Bucha, Gostomel and other, until recently flourishing and cozy corners of our region, were found the bodies of many victims of Russian violence. The killed civilians lie near their homes and in mass graves. People with tied hands. Men, women, children. Those who tried to escape and who remained in their homes. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent people were tortured in the weeks of Russian occupation. No military necessity could motivate this, as the civilians did not pose a threat to the occupiers.
Mass killings of civilians are a sign of genocide. The Russians did not come to release the Ukrainians. Everything that can be seen now in Kyiv region, Mariupol, cities and villages of Chernihiv region, Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Donbass, southern Ukraine, testifies: the Russian tyrant, people who support him and their army came to our land to "liberate" Ukraine from Ukrainians. They continue the black, diabolical work of Tsar Peter's troops, which cut and burned Baturyn. They are doing the same thing as the Russian-Bolshevik gangs that shed rivers of blood during the so-called "red terror." They are the successors of Stalin's crimes, the perpetrators of repression and the Holodomor genocide, which were planned in the same blood-red Kremlin to destroy the Ukrainian people.
Therefore, on behalf of millions of our faithful, on behalf of our suffering people, on behalf of the raped, tortured, shot by Russian invaders, whose blood cries out to Heaven, we raise our voices again and again, calling on the international community to do everything immediately to stop and to punish the tyrant and the state that became in his hands an instrument of genocide of the Ukrainian people. You have the power, you have the weapons, you have the moral duty to do so, to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves – and to protect you! Protect humanity itself!
In conclusion, I would like to address once again those who, unfortunately, have not yet understood the truth or do not want to understand it: the ideology of the "Russian measure" is the same as the ideology of Nazism. It justifies violence, murder, war and genocide, and must therefore be rejected and condemned in the same way as condemned Nazism, its ideologues and its crimes. The co-creators and leaders of this criminal ideology are the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Kirill Gundyaev and his associates. Together with his subordinates, he not only kindled this fire in every possible way, but also openly blessed the executioners and murderers with false lips on behalf of God and the Church for their dirty work.
To condemn these crimes, to condemn the violation of human and divine laws is not just a right, but a moral duty of every person, and especially of Orthodox Christians. After all, this is not about discussing the intricacies of canon law, theological controversy or historical discussions. It is about good and evil as such and about everyone's own choice: are you with God or with the devil? Kirill Gundyaev has already made his choice in favor of the affairs of the antichrist. I urge those who still have him as their shepherd – open your eyes, look at the poisonous fruits of his teachings, stay away from the lawless, do not be his accomplices!
Yesterday we prayed for the peace of all who have died, and especially for the peace of the souls of our fallen defenders and civilians killed by the Russians. Today, remembering the horrific testimonies of crimes in Mariupol, Bucha, Irpen and other until recently peaceful parts of Ukraine, we again ask for the dead Kingdom of Heaven and blessed repose in the homes of the righteous. Amen.
Excerpt of speech to representatives of parishes in Kyiv
Today, Ukraine is defending itself on all fronts from Russian aggression. Therefore, it is necessary to break all the shackles, including the spiritual ones, which are connected with the aggressor. Almost every day, communities decide to join the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This process is inevitable. We have an indisputable canonical right to have our own autocephalous Church in our independent state. And when Ukrainians continue to belong to the Moscow Patriarchate this is an anomaly, both according to the canons and the regulations of Tomos, to the structure, whose bless them to kill.
Sermon on the Feast of the Annunciation
Yesterday I was where hell seems to have opened its doors. Bucha, Irpin, Gostomel – the suburbs of our Golden-Domed Kyiv, which for many generations were synonymous with natural beauty and comfort, a place of rest, a place of comfortable life – have now become a place of horror, full of ruin, pain and signs of death.
In the midst of all this, the strength of this spiritual struggle is felt with particular sharpness. Because what you see around you is not only the fruit of the anger of the Russian barbarians, the dark hordes that came to our peaceful land to sow destruction and death. What the Russian invaders of Bucha, Gostomel, Borodyanka turned them into, what the until recently prosperous Mariupol and peaceful Volnovakha, majestic Kharkiv, ancient Chernihiv, dozens of cities and hundreds of villages of our Ukraine have been turned and continue to be transformed into – all these devastation and ruins and all shed torn lives are a manifestation of demonic resentment.
Our people are not only fighting with the Russian army today for their will, for their freedom, for their future. This war is part of a greater struggle – we are fighting demonic evil, the darkness of slavery and death. And our realization that at the moment of the Annunciation He came into the world, the One who became the conqueror of the devil, Who Himself overcame death and gives all who believe in Him the power to overcome and overcome evil and the head of evil – this realization gives us the ability to celebrate today.
After all, we know that no matter how powerfully evil manifests itself, it will surely be defeated by the power of truth and love! Life will defeat death. Even the dead will be resurrected, because the Lord will resurrect them, giving them eternal life. Ruin, suffering and pain – although severe and terrible, are temporary. And the victory that the Son of God gives us when we believe in Him and follow Him is an eternal victory, it is an infinite life, it is a joy that no one and nothing can take away.
This is the Good News, the Gospel, which is proclaimed by the very incarnation, the coming into the world of the God of the Word – this is the message of victory over evil. And this message gives us the strength to continue to fight, live, create, resist evil. It gives us strength by the light of hope, love, good deeds – to drive away the darkness that the devil and his servants, the invisible and visible servants, bring into this world.
The Annunciation is only the beginning of salvation. And the liberation of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions is only the beginning of Ukraine's victory.
The Son of God, incarnated by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, has passed his way of sacrificial service – and our people still have a way of struggle and trials ahead of them. That is why we are now praying with special compassion for the places where this struggle is going on and for those who are fighting evil.
We pray for Mariupol – the city of the Virgin Mary, for its inhabitants, living and dead, for its courageous defenders, and we wish them all mercy from God and everything that each of them needs. We ask the Lord to protect and bless the victory of our defenders, courageous Ukrainian soldiers, so that they can bring peace to Donbas, Kharkiv and Kherson regions and to all corners of our Motherland as soon as possible. And we, trusting in God, believe that as the Savior walked the path of suffering but won, so we, the Ukrainian people, will win. Because our struggle is for truth, freedom, for good, against tyranny, against delusion and evil. And where there is truth, there is God and victory.
And may the realization of these truths inspire us in these dark times to overcome pain, fear, despair and defeat the devil and all his wiles.
Sermon on fifth Sunday of Lent
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today I came to Chernihiv to share with you the joy of common prayer and worship. After terrible weeks of siege by Russian troops, daily shelling and bombing, you have returned to this ancient and glorious city and to the entire Seversky Krai, if not to final peace – because an embittered and insidious enemy remains close – then to freedom. Chernihiv paid the terrible price of hundreds of lives taken by Russian murderers, the price of great destruction and suffering, for preserving its freedom. But your victory, the victory of the defenders of Chernihiv and its inhabitants, who bravely defended this princely and Cossack city, saved many more lives, stopped the onslaught of the enemy horde in its movement to the capital, broke the Kremlin's plan to quickly destroy our statehood. The enemy was preparing both Chernihiv and Kyiv, and still prepares for the whole Ukrainian people the fate of Mariupol, the fate of Bucha, the fate of Yagidny and Novoselivka and other cities, towns and villages of our Motherland, where he entered. Seeing the suffering, destruction, brutal violence and spread of death that Russia brings to every corner of Ukraine that can still reach, we understand even better that only the fight against the aggressor, his expulsion from our land can bring us a just peace.
As a sign that in this struggle with us, with the Ukrainian people, not only the strength of weapons, not only the courage and sacrifice of our heroe-defenders, not only the support of all people of good will, but also the strength and mercy of God, we perceive the signs revealed at this terrible time here in your city, in this temple. Through the miraculous preservation of the icons of His Blessed Mother and the saints, the Lord is a confirmation of what we always believe: He is with us in this struggle, because we fight for truth and goodness against demonic resentment and tyranny. And if the Lord is with us, then who can resist Him? Therefore, we believe that our people will overcome all current challenges and Ukraine will achieve victory.
For this we offer our prayers, for this we fight and work. And may God bless us all with success!
Excerpt of words to members of the territorial defence
Unprincipled evil has come to Ukraine – an insidious enemy who, justifying himself by completely fictional and absurd reasons, is committing terrible aggression. Russian invaders spare neither women nor children, leaving only destruction and death. And it was to prevent them and stop this bloody evil that you joined the ranks of defenders of the Motherland. So, I wish you courage, strength and steadfastness, may the Lord bless and preserve each of you. The whole world was convinced that Ukrainians had taken up arms to protect their neighbours and their homes. So, our struggle is forced, legal and true. And the Lord sees this and will certainly help us.
Excerpt of prayers offered during visit to Makarov
We have just offered our prayers to God for victory in this terrible war. We believe that the Lord supports and helps us. And during this time, we felt His mercy, despite the fact that we experienced many sorrows. But we pray that He will give us the strength to continue to fight and resist the enemy, we pray that the Lord will rest the souls of His resting servants in the Kingdom of Heaven, those who gave their lives for the faith, for the will of Ukraine.
It is difficult, of course, but there is consolation in God, consolation in prayer, so we must continue to pray and become more spiritually strong and move forward to complete victory in this terrible war on the part of Russia - the aggressor who is trying to enslave us not only physically, but also spiritually, because the Church stands in the way of spreading the ideas of the so-called "Russian measure". But we will fight and become a stronger, united Ukrainian nation, which will continue to rebuild its independent Ukrainian state on the principles of truth, justice, democracy, freedom.
Excerpt of sermon on Palm Sunday
Dear brothers and sisters!
Our time, when we live among the sufferings and dangers brought to the Ukrainian land by enemies from the north, is a special opportunity to feel the importance of the truth. After all, the war that Russia has imposed on us and the whole world did not begin with the use of weapons, not with missiles and bombs – it began with deception, untruth, lies. For years, decades, this delusion sounded, the untruth about the past and present spread. Some multiplied and spread this delusion, others either agreed with it or stood aside, believing that it did not concern them.
You know, dear brothers and sisters, that our Church, as the Local Church of the Ukrainian people, has for years and decades witnessed the truth about the evil intentions behind the ideology of the "Russian measure." From our own past and from the experience of the present, we knew very well that behind the veils of beautiful words, great services, and loud initiatives, Moscow hides evil plans to restore the tyranny of a rotten and overthrown empire.
That is why, despite opposition from all sides, we fought firmly and uncompromisingly for the church independence of Ukraine. Because we have seen and know well how Moscow has used and continues to use its ecclesiastical influence as an instrument of spreading untruths, as a way of spiritual enslavement.
She herself made the Church of her own people a servant, deceptively blessing lies, enslavement, murder, and all the other evils of war through the leader. But the evil empire did not stop there, because with its delusion, like a web, it has for decades confused everyone it can reach. Politicians and even entire states, religious figures, intellectuals and artists, journalists and business people – everywhere we can see those who have fallen into the web of Moscow's untruth.
How can we resist this? The Lord is setting an example for us: we must fight through the testimony of truth. Evil is called evil, not an alternative point of view. War is war, not conflict. Rapists, looters and murderers are criminals, and what they do is genocide of the Ukrainian people, for which there should be responsibility without statute of limitations.
Christ came to bear witness to the truth, not to reconcile truth with untruth. He commanded us to love our enemies – but He did not command us to love the evil they do, or to close our eyes and look away, by our inaction giving evil the opportunity to spread.
And of those who see the mission of Christians only in correcting the consequences of evil, without confronting its true causes, the Saviour said well: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot; oh, if you were cold or hot! But because you are warm and not hot or cold, I will cast you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3: 15-16).
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, both the present remembrance of the Lord's entry into Jerusalem and all the trials brought to our home by the war motivate us to know the truth, to follow the truth, to witness the truth, to be hot and not warm or even warmer. spiritually cold. For otherwise darkness will envelop us, untruth will catch us in its net, evil will poison the soul. But knowing all these tricks, we will courageously fight temptations – and as Christ overcame evil and death, so we will be victorious with His help.
Excerpt from Good Friday sermon
These days, the tomb with the image of the Saviour's body cannot but remind us of other tombs, over which here in St. Michael's Cathedral, and in all corners of Ukraine with tears and mourning, we bow, offering prayers for soldiers who gave their lives defending the homeland from Russian aggression, escorting civilians killed by alien murderers to their last earthly journey. Thousands of these graves, and how many more – without a grave, in mass graves, in the yards of their own houses destroyed by Russian shelling, under the rubble or in torture chambers… Above all of them we shed our tears, for them the heart beats. But this Shroud, this tomb, this symbol of the Saviour's sacrificial voluntary death, which we now bring to the midst of the temple for worship, is a sign of our conviction that every death we mourn now is only temporary.
Christ overcame death by His death, and all we mourn today have eternal life through that victory. Neither the tombs nor the mass graves will hold them when the time of resurrection comes – like the stone and the seal they did not hold in the tomb of the risen Son of God.
Therefore, by mourning the Saviour before the Shroud, mourning thousands of innocent victims, mourning our fallen heroes-defenders, we will overcome sorrow and grief with hope for the approaching resurrection and eternal life that Christ, who died on the cross and rose from the grave, gives us.
Excerpt from Easter Message
Today, when we greet each other with the Lord's Passover, with Easter, the enemy continues to shed the blood of the innocent on our earth. Despite the sanctity of Holy Week and the Resurrection of Christ for all Christians, Russian troops not only did not stop their crimes, but they, as if inspired by Satan himself, multiplied bloodshed. Throughout Lent, Russia, which considers itself a stronghold of true Christianity, has destroyed our cities and villages, killed innocent people, and destroyed everything it could. Isn't this alone, aren't all these poisonous, deadly fruits of the "Russian measure" sufficient evidence that it is not God's blessing but the curse on the cause of Russia, its rulers, its troops, its inhabitants poisoned by lies?
For us, for all those who suffer innocently from the empire of evil even today, on the day of Easter, the resurrection of Christ is a joyful reminder of God's imminent victory over sin and lawlessness, of the victory of good and truth. And for the enemies who broke into our Ukrainian home, for the murderers and murderers who not only did not stop the bloodshed, but only increased it, even in these holy days, Christ's resurrection is a reminder of just retribution and merciless punishment for all the unmerciful.
When the Saviour was crucified and buried in the tomb, the hearts of the faithful were filled with suffering and pain, but the resurrection of Christ turned weeping into joy, drove away sorrow, and strengthened hope. So it was in ancient times, so it is today – by celebrating the Passover of Christ, glorifying the risen Lord, we receive spiritual strengthening in the midst of the sufferings and horrors of war with confidence in the victory of truth and goodness, in the victory of eternal life over hell.
On this day of glorification of the great, eternal victory with special feelings, we send Easter greetings our courageous warriors-defenders, prayerfully wishing them blessings from the Risen Christ, victory in the fight against enemies, God's help in service and gracious protection. We ask the Lord for protection and protection for all civilians suffering from Russian shelling. We pray for all the wounded in the war who are suffering in body and soul, and we ask the Lord to heal them.
May God's blessing be upon those who sacrificially and lovingly serve their neighbours, who help the needy, care for the exiles, who speak out against untruth and in various ways, but do one thing: fight darkness and evil.
On this holy day, heartfelt congratulations and wishes of indomitable spirit, state wisdom and strengthening of strength in work for Ukraine - for our President, Government and parliamentarians, for community leaders, for all those who with dignity bear their responsibilities to the Ukrainian people in this time of challenges and tests.
In our celebration, we remember in prayer our enslaved brothers and sisters, those who now live under the rule of the occupiers, and those who are in the chains of captivity or unjust imprisonment. May the Lord help you in this difficult time and bring the day of your deliverance and freedom closer.
With the Resurrection of Christ, I cordially greet all Orthodox Christians of Ukraine – the fullness of the local Ukrainian Orthodox Church – and those who are temporarily out of communion with it. Let the war, the main cause of which was the poisonous idea of the "Russian measure", urge those who still hesitate to reject the Moscow spiritual yoke, follow the Thomos and the canonical order, and unite around the Kyivan throne in a single local Orthodox Church.
Congratulations on Easter to all who believe in the risen Christ, and all the world’s Ukrainians!
Despite the pain and suffering, destruction and sorrow that the war has brought to our home, nothing can take away the common joy that the Resurrection of Christ brings us today in the darkness of night and at the dawn of a new day in the new Ukraine. From heart to heart we share this joy, multiply it, announcing the great victory over sin, evil and death, because truly
Christ is risen!
Excerpts of Message to Primates and Hierarchs of Orthodox Churches on Easter
Christ is Risen!
This year, Orthodox Christians in Ukraine celebrate the Resurrection of Christ under extraordinary circumstances, immersed in the pain, grief, tears, suffering, destruction, violence, and death brought to our peaceful land by the army of Russia. On the Eve of the Great Fast, the ruler of that country issued orders to attack Ukrainian cities and villages, to kill our brothers and sisters.
These crimes against the peaceful people of Ukraine continued into and through Great Lent and to this day. Their now infamous symbols include Bucha, a thriving peaceful suburb of Kyiv where hundreds of civilians were executed in the weeks of Russian occupation, and Mariupol, a large, beautiful city named after the Mother of God, which Russia has turned into twisted ruins and graves for thousands of innocents slain.
I am convinced that not only these crimes, but also the words and actions of Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow, who from the ambon supported the war against Ukraine and consequently led those who trusted him as their shepherd to their deaths, should be condemned by the Fullness of Orthodoxy. No one with blood on their hands may hold the Chalice or the shepherd’s staff.
However, amid the darkness and suffering of war, the light of Christ’s Resurrection gives us confidence in the victory of truth, of life, and of love. We are grateful to all those who, through prayers for peace in Ukraine, humanitarian aid, care for refugees, or words and actions condemning Russian aggression, have shown and continue to show their fraternal love.
Excerpts from sermon of second Sunday after Easter
The task before us is to continue the work of affirming the unity of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. You and I, as faithful to the Local Church, know that grace works in it, that it is the true Church, an integral and equivalent part of the body of the One, Holy, Conciliar and Apostolic Church with other Local Churches. And among our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Ukraine, who are not yet in church communion with us, there are doubts - are we really the Church? Does grace work here? Are the sacraments performed here saving?
How should we deal with these doubts? We must follow the example of the Saviour. For those who have a sincere intention to know the truth and doubt for the sake of truth, not betrayal of pride or self-confidence, we must help to know the truth just as the Lord helped Thomas to know the truth. The Saviour did not condemn him for his doubts, but spoke to him, giving explanations and evidence that convinced Thomas.
But for those who, like the leaders of the people of Israel, Pharisees and scribes, have doubts about the truth of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, not because of the truth, but because of stubbornness, self-deception and pride – we do not intend to prove or try to convince them at any cost.
Those who want to know the truth – we are always open to them, we are ready for dialogue, explanations, exchange of views and search for understanding. And whoever seeks only numerous excuses to reject the truth, let the will of God be done over them, as over modern scribes and Pharisees.
Excerpt of sermon on the feast of St. George
God and the great martyr George also support us in this struggle, of which we shall emerge victorious. And these trials will make us stronger spiritually. That is why we need to fight, pray and do everything in our power to preserve this great gift of freedom, to establish it and pass it on to the next generations.
With God's help, we will defeat the enemy, we will defeat the newest antichrist Putin, who decided to destroy our Ukrainian people, to commit another Nazism against it. But our hands must not fall, we must continue to be spiritually strong.
Therefore, knowing the history, analysing it, taking lessons from it, we must fight to the end at this time. We will defeat the enemy, we will restore our territorial integrity, we will return the occupied territories and in our united, independent, Ukrainian, democratic, European Ukraine we will build a common future. And this future is now in our hands
Excerpt of sermon on the third Sunday after Easter
We call again and again for God's blessing on all volunteers, donors, and benefactors who, in difficult times for the Ukrainian people, serve the needy and care for their neighbours. Even a donated bottle of drinking water or a hryvnia [Ukrainian currency unit] will not go unnoticed by God when done with love.
However, as always, where there are good deeds, there is a devilish temptation. We know that not everyone involved in humanitarian aid, its collection, customs clearance, transfer and distribution, does so honestly. Unfortunately, we have heard about the theft or misappropriation of aid, extortion, etc.
Therefore, on behalf of the Church, I want to warn everyone: God sees every deed, sees the heart of every person. And if He gives a great reward even for a small sacrifice, then for appropriation, theft, deception, the Lord will surely punish the guilty.
Marauding and embezzling aid are grave sins, and even if human law cannot detect all criminals, everyone should remember that God's justice will be achieved by retaliating against everyone guilty of such evil. Therefore, whoever is tempted by the devil with such gain, beware, avoid this sin, because the retribution for it will be difficult.
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today, together with the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition and the entire civilized world, we honour the victory over Nazism in World War II, remember the fallen soldiers and killed civilians. For decades, it seemed to us that an evil like Nazism could not be repeated in Europe. But next to us, in the neighbouring country, whose people suffered a lot in that war - now the evil of Nazism has grown. Covered with false propaganda, grown on a grapevine, nurtured by a fierce hatred of truth and freedom, a desire for war and bloodshed, Russian fascism is now doing the devil's work, sowing ruin and death.
Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought against Nazism in that great war and defeated it. We are convinced that even now our people and the entire civilized world, which is struggling with Russian aggression, will defeat the Kremlin's empire of evil with God's help.
So today, on the day of remembrance and commemoration of the victory over Nazism, we will offer prayers for the peace of the souls of those killed in the last war. But we will also pray for our soldiers and for all those who suffer from and fight against the latest Kremlin fascism. To those who perished in the current war for the freedom of Ukraine, we wish the Kingdom of Heaven, and to our defenders – success in the struggle and a speedy victory over the aggressor.
Excerpt from sermon on Fourth Sunday after Easter
It is useful for Christians to remember this truth always and at all times, but especially in this time of war, sorrow and suffering. Now the Ukrainian people are suffering. But if we do not lose faith in God, if we fight for freedom, for truth, for good and freedom – then we will definitely win. Our enemy is strong, insidious and ruthless. But is there a greater power in the world than the power of God? Is there a trick in the world that can surpass the Wisdom of God? Are there impudence and ruthlessness that would not allow God's will to be done?
Therefore, understanding this, we will continue to fight, to do what is up to us, to achieve the victory of truth and good, and the Lord will do the rest then and in the best way.
Unfortunately, Russia has launched military operations against Ukraine, and at this fateful time, I urge you not to panic, be courageous and show love for your homeland and for each other. First, I call on you to pray hard for Ukraine, for our army and our people, I ask you to forget mutual strife and misunderstandings and unite with love for God and for our homeland.
At this tragic time, we extend our special love and support to our soldiers who stand guard and protect and protect our land and our people. May God bless and protect them!
Defending the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, we also appeal to the Russian President and ask him to immediately stop the fratricidal war. The Ukrainian and Russian peoples came out of the Dnieper baptismal font and the war between these peoples is a repetition of Cain's sin, who out of envy killed his own brother. Such a war has no justification either from God or from people.
I call on everyone to use common sense, which teaches us to solve our earthly problems in mutual dialogue and mutual understanding, and sincerely hope that God will forgive us our sins and God's peace will reign on our earth and around the world!
Beloved in Christ, Most Reverend Bishops, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
Dear Ukrainian people!
We grieve with great sorrow and pain that the war has come to our native Ukrainian land. We are all having a hard time. Fighting between the troops of the Russian Federation and the Armed Forces of Ukraine continues almost throughout Ukraine, soldiers and civilians are dying, and the number of refugees is growing. Bringing nuclear weapons to a state of heightened combat readiness in general sharply calls into question the prospect of the continued existence of humanity and the world. In such a difficult situation, we call on everyone to be courageous, to strengthen prayer and to unite around the defence of our Motherland.
Addressing all our defenders today, we want to show that we honour and pray for you, because you, sacrificing your life, effectively testify to how you can directly fulfil the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: There is no greater love than this, if anyone will lay down his life for his neighbours (John 15:13).
For our part, we reiterate that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has always supported and continues to support the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. We fully share the pain and suffering of our people. On these important days, all the churches and monasteries of our Church have especially intensified prayers for an end to the war and the restoration of peace in Ukraine. With the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy, the dioceses and monasteries provide comprehensive assistance to refugees and all those affected by the fighting. Our temples are open 24 hours a day for those who need protection during the shelling. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is expanding its mission every day to help all those in need.
Aware of our special spiritual responsibility, today we turn to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Your Holiness! We ask you to intensify your prayers for the long-suffering Ukrainian people, to speak out for the cessation of fratricidal bloodshed on Ukrainian soil, and to call on the leadership of the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities that threaten to turn into a world war.
We also appeal to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky and the President of the Russian Federation Volodymyr Volodymyrovych Putin. On behalf of the multi-million flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we ask you to do everything possible to put an end to the sin of armed confrontation between our two fraternal peoples and to begin the negotiation process. This terrible war has already dealt a severe blow to relations between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples. If the bloodshed is not stopped immediately, the chasm between our peoples may remain forever.
Ukrainian People, brothers and sisters! We hope that common sense will prevail and this war will end soon. We ask each of you to keep peace with each other and not succumb to provocations. Help each other, take care of each other. It is also important not to incite enmity between us. Only in unity is our strength. We ask the Lord to enlighten the rulers with the light of His grace. We believe that the man-loving Lord will accept our prayers and forgive us our sins. And in the near future the peace of God will reign again on our blessed Ukrainian land!
28/2/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Words spoken after a special prayer for peace in Ukraine
Prayer for peace on Ukrainian soil is being offered throughout our Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Unfortunately, it is the 9th day of the war on our land. Russian troops entered Ukraine. Our hearts are filled with sorrow. People are dying – civilians are dying, children are dying. The earth is filled with weeping and sorrow. Refugees have nowhere to bow their heads. We pray that the Lord will have mercy on us.
Our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church has always preached love between nations. We especially wanted peace and harmony between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. We wanted these peoples to live as good neighbours: in respect for each other, patience with each other and in love. We have been, and still are insulted for this, they call us all sorts of obscene words and expressions. But we do not pay attention to it. Even today, we want the Russian people and the Ukrainian people to live peacefully with each other.
Therefore, I appeal to the President of the Russian Federation, I ask Putin: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, do everything to end the war on Ukrainian soil! War does not bring good to the people. War sheds blood, and blood divides people. You can do it, and we believe and want you to do it. We ask that the days of Lent be peaceful for us, that we may gladly celebrate the bright holiday of life – the holiday of the Holy Resurrection of Christ. "
We know that there are problems between nations, there always have been, and will be. But we have always held the view that we, as God's creatures, endowed with reason and speech, must solve these problems with the help of common sense.
We call on both sides, the Russian side and the Ukrainian side, to sit down at the negotiating table and solve all the problems that exist between us, and not with the help of the sword. The sword divides, and love unites. We will tolerate each other, respect each other, love God and be one in God. This is a unity that no one and nothing can destroy. But the unity achieved by the sword is short-lived and unreliable. This is human unity and it is falling apart. And the unity that is in God is eternal. I would like there to be unity in God among our peoples, to love one another and to be one in God.
May the Lord bless us all!
4/3/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Statement on Wednesday, 10 March
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the Church of the Ukrainian people. It unites believers in the East and West, North and South of our country. It consists of people of different nationalities and different political persuasions. But we are all one in Christ. For more than 1000 years of history, our Church has always been and remains with its people.
Today, our country is going through a difficult ordeal caused by the attack on our country by the troops of the Russian Federation. In all churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, intensified prayers for the earliest possible peace and cessation of bloodshed continue. We consistently call for a peaceful settlement of conflicts through dialogue. War is the worst sin in the world. It forces us to look at another person not as an image of God, but as an enemy to be killed. Therefore, there is no excuse for those who start wars.
Unfortunately, a large number of civilians died during these few days, including the elderly, women and children; humanitarian infrastructure was destroyed – hospitals, maternity hospitals, schools, orphanages; and the survivors are forced to leave their homes and even the country to save their lives, becoming refugees and displaced persons.
In this regard, in order to prevent even greater sacrifices and suffering for our people, we call on all those who depend on them to provide real humanitarian corridors for the immediate evacuation of civilians from settlements on the line of fire and to ensure their safety.
Due to the fighting, some Ukrainian servicemen, in carrying out their oath and duty to defend the Motherland, were unfortunately wounded or taken prisoner. Therefore, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, caring for its fellow citizens, asks to show human compassion and Christian charity, to organize the extradition of the wounded and to exchange prisoners of war.
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of His Immaculate Mother, will preserve our country and its God-loving people, and give us the long-awaited peace.
Excerpts of the sermon on Triumph of Orthodoxy Sunday
Our Church has always said and still says today that all problems that arise between people should be solved not by weapons, not by force, but by words, because we are people, intelligent creatures of God, God is ours. gave reason, gave us the word – this is a great power, the word has great power.
God did not create us on earth to attack each other and kill each other. He created us to live in love. And if we do not have this agreement, it is necessary to reach it not with the help of weapons, but with the help of words. And again, and again we call on all those on whom this depends, that the problems that exist today in the world and on our earth, that they be solved with a reasonable word
Words following prayer for peace
Today we celebrated the Divine Liturgy and now we have prayed – for peace in our country, for peace in Ukraine. We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, we ask the Venerable Fathers Anthony and Theodosius, and all the Pechersk, to ask God for forgiveness of our sins and for the Lord to give us peace.
[The negotiations are] not easy, but it is the first step, which is already a humane step, when one uses a reasonable word to try and solve problems that arise between people. I want these negotiations to continue well, to have sensible, well-considered decisions, and for love to overcome the malice that reigns over the people.
May the Lord bless our land, our government, our army and all our Ukrainian people
Excerpts from sermon on Crucifixion Sunday
Today we have a common Cross, the Lord visited us all with a cross – they raised a hand against us with a sword, but we must not complain, we must patiently endure everything. The Church has always prayed, prays and will pray for people to remember that we are children of God and that the Lord does not want us to raise our swords against each other.
We pray today that the Lord will stop what we feel today, when people are dying, human blood is being shed, children are dying, helpless people are dying, old people, young people are innocent human beings
Statement by the UOC Legal Department regarding bills aimed at banning the UOC's activities
On March 22, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered Bill 20 7204 “On Prohibition of the Moscow Patriarchate on the Territory of Ukraine”, and on March 26, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also registered Bill № 7213 “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine on Freedom of Conscience and religious organizations ”on the prohibition of the activities of religious organizations (associations) that are part of the structure (is part of) a religious organization (association), the governing center (management) of which is located outside Ukraine in a state recognized by law as military aggression against Ukraine and / or temporarily occupied part of the territory of Ukraine."
Given the content of the bills, the main purpose of their adoption is allegedly "protection of national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" and "protection of public safety and order", which according to the legislator can be achieved by banning the activities of the Moscow Patriarchate – Russia Orthodox Church ", including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Despite the fact that President V.O. Zelensky has not incited religious hatred during the war, Ukrainian MPs decided through legislative initiatives to brazenly and cynically ban the activities of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and deprive millions of Ukrainians of the right to freedom of religion.
Although law enforcement agencies have made no complaints to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church about the violation of Ukraine's national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity, deputies in their explanatory note to the bill deliberately make false allegations against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in an attempt to mislead Ukrainian MPs.
Despite all the pathos, these bills see a continuation of the religious policy of Poroshenko's time, which became one of the reasons for the terrible times we are experiencing now, because the ban on the multimillion-strong Ukrainian Orthodox Church cannot but affect our state.
In addition, banning people from belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church violates their right to freedom of religion, which is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution of Ukraine.
Please note that the religious center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyiv Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is located in Kyiv, registered in accordance with Ukrainian law, and its founder is the Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which includes clergy and believers living in Ukraine.
The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Onufriy, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine, called on all the faithful to defend our state and defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
From the first days of the war, people have shown the unity of our people in the fight against the enemy. But as we see today, they are trying to break this unity by provoking controversy on political, linguistic and religious grounds. After all, due to the impossibility of winning the battles, the occupiers are trying to sabotage through such bills to split Ukrainian society and weaken our state.
In this regard, we declare that the legislative initiative to ban the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is illegal, violates the right to freedom of religion and in no way contributes to "protection of national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" and "protection of public safety and order", as stated in the bills, and on the contrary, in wartime will open a religious front in the peaceful territory of Ukraine and divide our country on religious grounds.
Letter of thanks to all who are helping Ukrainian refugees
On behalf of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who are helping Ukrainians during the terrible war that broke out in our Ukraine.
As a result of the Russian invasion, more than four million of our compatriots have been forced to flee their homes, leave their lands and seek refuge, mainly in Western Europe and the rest of the world.
As the Primate of the largest and most numerous Church of Ukraine – the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose faithful in large numbers have left the war zones, I want to thank the Primates, the episcopate, the clergy and the faithful of the Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish Local Orthodox Churches and Czech lands and Slovakia. Your fraternal support is very important for our people today, because, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, "there is nothing stronger than the Church of Christ" This is true. We testify to this and humbly ask the Lord God to reward you a hundredfold for your bounties and mercies.
I also thank all the heads of European states and their peoples, the heads of other countries of the world, international organizations and all those who welcomed Ukrainians into their homes, I thank people of different views and religions. By this you fulfil the most important commandment of God – love of God and neighbour. The Holy Fathers teach us that by helping our neighbour, we help Christ, because He was also a "refugee" when he and His Mother fled from Herod to Egypt. Your help will forever remain in the memory and hearts of the long-suffering Ukrainian people.
May the All-Merciful Lord reward you all instead of the temporary – eternal, instead of perishable – imperishable, instead of earthly – heavenly, for all the good you do!
With sincere respect and gratitude
Excerpts from sermon on the feast of the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem
May we all humble ourselves in our own way, that we may be bearers of God’s grace, and that God’s peace come to our land, that our people, we may meet in peace and joy the Great and Glorious Feast of the Resurrection of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ
Easter Sunday Message
Christ is Risen!
This year the Lord has visited us with special trials and tribulations. The forces of evil have thickened over us. But we do not complain or despair, because by His Resurrection Christ the Saviour overcame evil.
Appeal to Vladimir Putin in connection with Mariupol
On these Easter days, when the celebration of the triumph of life over death is complemented by Victory Day over Nazism, I am writing to you in connection with the situation around the city of Mariupol.
The difficult situation in which the inhabitants and defenders of Mariupol found themselves prompts me to ask you as a person whose family survived the siege of Leningrad, and whose elder brother Viktor died in 1942. Your relatives have fully felt what life is like in isolation from the mainland, under incessant bombardments, without food, water and medicines, when death can occur at any moment from the impact of super-powerful weapons, starvation or lack of medical care. You remember this when you talk about the Great Patriotic War and when you visit Piskarevskoye Cemetery, a place of mass graves for residents of besieged Leningrad and its defenders.
The residents of Mariupol and its defenders are in the same position today. It is my pastoral duty to ask you to provide an opportunity for all whoever wants it, to leave the city of Mariupol - both civilians and the military. At all times in different wars, the opposing sides found it possible to manifest humanism. We know that the Russian Federation has repeatedly acted as an intermediary in Syria in the evacuation of encircled combatants. In this regard, we hope that you will, in a Christian way, agree to the Extraction procedure for the Ukrainian garrison in Mariupol, and give the encircled civilians, policemen, border guards and military an opportunity to enter the territory controlled by Ukraine or the territory of third countries. Many countries will consider it an honor to mediate this operation. I ask you to choose any of them in the Name of the Risen Christ.
Excerpts from a speech on “the invasion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into Ukraine”
The invasion of the Patriarchate of Constantinople into Ukraine has become one of the most acute and dangerous challenges for the Russian Orthodox Church in recent decades. It is providential that it was precisely at this difficult moment that such an experienced and strong-willed leader as His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia turned out to be at the helm of our Church. The theme of preserving the unity of the Church was a priority for him even when he was chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, and it remains so throughout all the years of his Patriarchate.
It cannot be said that the actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Ukraine in 2018 came as a complete surprise to the Russian Church. We knew about Constantinople’s plans to tear Ukraine away from the Russian Orthodox Church even before the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced the start of preparations for granting autocephaly in April 2018. Our Church tried to resist this intention, including as part of the preparations for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, which continued in those years.
2017 was remembered for a remarkable episode related to the appeal of the leader of the Ukrainian schism, Filaret Denisenko, to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church with a request to lift the bans and restore church communion. It should be noted that from the very beginning of the schism in Ukraine, the Russian Church has repeatedly appealed to the schismatics with calls to repentance, maintained contacts, and constantly looked for opportunities for negotiations. And when he was the chairman of the DECR, and having already ascended the Patriarchal cathedra, His Holiness the Patriarch personally led this process and took the liveliest and most active part in it. This work in Ukraine was carried out in extremely unfavorable and sometimes dangerous political conditions. For example, in 2010, on the eve of the visit of His Holiness the Patriarch to Ukraine, two prominent schismatic "hierarchs" died under unclear circumstances – "Metropolitan of Lvov and Sokal" Andrey Horak and "Archbishop of Drogobych and Sambir" Theodosius Petsina, with whom agreements were reached on their return to the Church, which could be the beginning of the abolition of the split in Ukraine. Many experts openly expressed doubts about the natural nature of their deaths. The appeal of Filaret Denisenko gave a new chance to heal the schism, and therefore was received in the Russian Church benevolently and considered on its merits. In November 2017, a corresponding Determination of the Council of Bishops, a special commission was created. Unfortunately, under pressure from the Poroshenko regime, Filaret was forced to disavow his appeal.
Soon a delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople began to visit one after another the Primates of the Local Churches to discuss the initiative to grant autocephaly to Ukraine. However, none of them supported the plans of Constantinople. The delegation from Constantinople also visited Moscow, where it was received by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. At the meeting, His Holiness confirmed the readiness of the Russian Church for a conciliar discussion of all the problems facing the Church.
Also, on the basis of objective statistics on the number of church communities in Ukraine, the Primate of the Russian Church clearly demonstrated to Patriarch Bartholomew that his information about the alleged support of the schism by the majority of Orthodox Ukrainians is unreliable, and the data of opinion polls presented to him are fictitious, custom-made. His Holiness the Patriarch drew the attention of Patriarch Bartholomew to the purely political nature of the autocephalous project, which was being prepared for the start of the election campaign of the then President of Ukraine P. Poroshenko. He pointed out to the Constantinople side the consolidation of the episcopate, clergy and believers of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and warned that there would not and could not be any “wave of transitions” promised by the Ukrainian authorities then.
Taking into account the extremely poor awareness of the Constantinople side about the history and current situation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which was noticeable from the statements of the Phanar and statements during the negotiations, His Holiness the Patriarch proposed to jointly study the issue of the jurisdiction of the Kiev Metropolis with the involvement of competent specialists. Unfortunately, the Primate of Constantinople answered all our arguments and proposals only that he did not have time. Ukrainian autocephaly was being prepared in extreme haste, in an attempt to keep up with the momentary political situation.
In December 2018, the so-called “unification council” of schismatic denominations was held. The council was held under strong pressure from the Poroshenko regime, who was personally present at the presidium of the event, and under the control of the Constantinople side. Despite the sharp contradictions between the participants in the event and the unanimous refusal of the episcopate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to participate in it (with the exception of one diocesan and one vicar bishop), the alleged “unification” of Ukrainian Orthodoxy was announced. In January 2019, the newly created schismatic structure was recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople and received the status of the so-called "autocephaly".
Instead of the promised “unification” of Orthodoxy in Ukraine, the anti-canonical actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople led to the actual legalization and institutionalization of the Ukrainian schism, which soon split in two again. Moreover, the possibilities of actually healing the split in Ukraine were undermined. The emergence of schismatic "autocephaly" in Ukraine provoked a wave of seizures of churches of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church and cases of mass violence against its communities, and greatly increased pressure on its episcopate, clergy and believers.
As for the Church of Alexandria, it must be added that soon after the recognition of the schism by Patriarch Theodore, African clerics who disagreed with this began to turn to us with a request to be accepted into our Church. However, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill believed that one should not rush, hoping that the Patriarch of Alexandria would change his mind. Unfortunately, this did not happen; moreover, the Primate of the Church of Alexandria went further and co-served with the head of the Ukrainian schismatics. This circumstance compelled our Church to form the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa for those many African clerics who wish to protect themselves from communion with schism. His Holiness set out in detail the position of the Russian Church in the messages sent to Patriarch Theodore, one of which was recently published.
The latest events in Ukraine have been a new test for the unity of our Church and all Orthodoxy.
The overwhelming majority of the Local Orthodox Churches have taken a balanced peacekeeping position in relation to what is happening. Many Churches have focused their efforts on providing humanitarian assistance to war victims and refugees. Against this background, statements by representatives of the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria stand out, using the current tragic situation to promote the autocephalous project in Ukraine and to popularize Epiphanius Dumenko and the schismatic community he leads. These signals indicate that a tense struggle for church unity awaits us ahead.
During an interview
There are different views. Some people believe that we are one people, while others believe that we are two peoples. But whatever the answer to this issue, we are fraternal peoples, we have been born in one baptismal font of St. Prince Vladimir Equal-to-the-Apostle. Nothing would ever break down this unity. Therefore, the forces acting against our unity are acting against the Church and against God.
Response to letter from the Comission of the Bishop's Conferences of the European Union
These days, prayers and thoughts of millions of Christians across the world are concerned with the dramatic developments in the longsuffering land of Ukraine. It is completely obvious that the current conflict cannot be resolved through yet another public statement, already made in large numbers.
The relationship between the West and Russia have reached a deadlock, resulting in the loss of mutual trust and capacity to hear each other. In this situation, it is essential to renounce the rhetoric of ultimatum, establish channels of dialogue and organise official and unofficial negotiations that can help achieve a just peace. As Christians we are called to further this cause by our prayers and work.
For eight years now, during every Liturgy, the Russian Orthodox Church has been offering a prayer for the cessation of the conflict in the Ukrainian land. In view of the recent developments, a special prayer for the soonest restoration of peace has been included in the Divine Liturgy.
Today His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia does much to restore peace and trust, in the Ukrainian land in particular, working hard every day to make this happen. The most important thing in this situation is to do everything in our power to make sure that the direct negotiations continue, producing a result in the shortest possible time, and that the relationships between the West and Russia still have a potential for dialogue.
Statements on Church and World television programme
Pope Francis of Rome is speaking out about the Ukrainian topic in a very balanced way because he is aware of not only the present history of the conflict but also its pre-history, which goes back to the events of 2014
Volodymyr Zelensky - President of Ukraine
Mr. Zelensky is not a religious leader, however this speech has explicit religious references, which is why I am including it here.
Presidential address on Forgiveness Sunday
Today is Forgiveness Sunday. A day when we always apologized. To each other. To all people. To God. But today, it seems, many have not mentioned this day at all. Have not mentioned the obligatory words: "Forgive me." And the obligatory answer: "God forgives, and I forgive." These words seem to have lost their meaning today. At least in part. After everything we went through.
We will not forgive the destroyed houses. We will not forgive the missile that our air defense shot down over Okhmatdyt today. And more than five hundred other such missiles that hit our land. All over Ukraine. Hit our people and children.
We will not forgive the shooting of unarmed people. Destruction of our infrastructure.
We. Will. Not. Forgive. Hundreds and hundreds of victims. Thousands and thousands of sufferings. And God will not forgive. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. And instead of Forgiveness, there will be a Day of Judgment.
I'm sure of it.
It seems everything Russian servicemen have already done is still not enough for them. Not enough ruined destinies. Mutilated lives. They want to kill even more.
Tomorrow Russia has officially announced the shelling of our territory. Our enterprises. Defense complex. Most were built decades ago. By the Soviet government. Built in cities. And now they are in the middle of an ordinary urban environment. Thousands of people work there. Hundreds of thousands live nearby.
This is murder. Deliberate murder.
And I have not heard a reaction from any world leader today. From any Western politician. Reaction to this announcement. Think about the sense of impunity of the invaders: they announce their planned atrocities. Why?
Because there is no reaction. Because there is silence. Not a word, as if Western leaders have dissolved tonight. For this day. I hope that at least tomorrow you will notice it. React. Say something. We know exactly who prepared this attack. We know exactly how orders will follow the vertical command. We know everything.
And we will not forgive anything. The Tribunal is waiting for you. And God's judgment, if you try to hide.
The audacity of the aggressor is a clear signal to the West that sanctions against Russia are not enough. Because they didn't understand. Did not feel. They did not see that the world is really determined. Really determined to stop this war. You will not hide from this reality.
You will not hide from new murders in Ukraine.
There was a lot of talk about humanitarian corridors. There were talks every day about the opportunity for people to leave the cities where Russia came. Russian military.
I am grateful to every Ukrainian who stays to defend our cities, even in the encirclement. Our freedom.
But I also know that there are people who really need to get out, those who cannot stay. And we heard the promise that there would be humanitarian corridors. But there are no humanitarian corridors.
Instead of humanitarian corridors, they can only make bloody ones.
A family was killed in Irpen today. A man, a woman and two children. Right on the road. As in the shooting club. When they were just trying to get out of town. To escape.
The whole family. How many such families have died in Ukraine! We will not forgive. We will not forget.
We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war. On our land. We will find every bastard. Which shot at our cities, our people. Which bombed our land. Which launched rockets. Which gave the order and pressed "start".
There will be no quiet place on this earth for you. Except for the grave.
Bishop Markos Hovhannisyan, Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church
From the very first days, our community expressed its civic position on the war: to be defenders of the city where our faithful live. It's moral, it's natural, and it's spiritual. Our spiritual support, our prayers for Ukraine continue, whether private or within the framework of the AUCCR, we pray for the achievement of God's peace, which every person deserves. Our parishioners provide humanitarian support to our relatives: our bakeries are working, our restaurateurs have switched to providing lunches to those in need. Some of our faithful are in the ranks of the territorial defence and have already passed away in this service. The situation is difficult, but our faith does not leave us, our civic position does not weaken, because we are an integral part of Ukrainian society, because here is our thousand-year successful history, here is part of our culture and our spiritual heritage
Besides the words below, Patriarch Bartholomew has had many gestures of support for the Ukrainian people, including telephone calls to Ukrainian authorities and a visit to the Ukrainian Consul-general in Istanbul.
Even in the most unfavorable circumstances, such as today, where the world community is following with horror Russia’s, beyond every sense of law and morality, military attack and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, an independent and sovereign state, or perhaps even more so now as the fiercest conflict since the time of World War II unfolds in Europe, in our neighborhood, we direct our prayers to the Lord Jesus, the Ruler of peace, asking Him with a fervent soul that He “will give strength to His people” and “bless His people with peace” (cf. Psalm 27:11). The Holy Great Church of Christ unceasingly chants the angelic hymn throughout the ages: “peace on earth and good will to men.”
Indeed, during the last few days, a tragic humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Ukraine. A war, which, like any war, is an abominable and reprehensible situation. It is the domination of irrationality over reason, hatred over love, darkness over light, death over life.
Again, from this position, we address another plea to end the war now! To immediately stop any act of violence, anything that spreads pain and death. Let reason prevail, love for fellow human beings, reconciliation and solidarity, the light of the Risen Christ, the gift of life.
We express our full sympathy to our brother, the Primate of the Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphanios of Kyiv, and our unwavering support to all the seriously suffering Ukrainian people, who have a deep faith in God and chose to live freely and to determine their own lives, as every nation deserves. Although, unfortunately, some have come, these days, to the point of questioning even their historical and national existence.
Our thoughts are constantly with the wounded and with the families of the innocent victims, irrespective of their ethnic identity, and we pray for the rest of their souls to the Lord of Life and Death. We are certain that the Lord will hear our prayers and will not abandon his beloved children in Ukraine.
Today, Monday, 28 February 2022, His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, accompanied by His Eminence Elder Metropolitan Emmanuel of Chalcedon and the V. Rev. Grand Syncellus Iakovos, went to the local Consulate General of Ukraine and expressed the unreserved sympathy, support and solidarity of the Mother Church to the Consul General, Mr. Roman Nedilskyi, his collaborators, the large local Ukrainian Community and the entire heroic people of their country. He simultaneously assured them of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s constant prayers for the prevalence of peace, the preservation of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, an immediate ceasefire and the cessation of intrusion of foreign forces into it.
The Consul General thanked His All-Holiness for this renewed loving expression of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and comprehensively informed those present regarding the current developments and the progress of the negotiations underway.
At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, 28 February 2022
From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod
Interview with CNN Turkey
I saw that Ukraine is extremely pleased and proud of its independence. Being able to break away from the Soviet Union and establish their own independent country is an honor and privilege for them, and they celebrated this wholeheartedly last August. President Zelensky hosted a dinner in my honor on the first evening I arrived, and explained the situation in his homeland. He expressed his gratitude towards our Ecumenical Patriarchate. We have given the independent country of Ukraine an independent church.
How much was this act of our Patriarchate appreciated? Under today's conditions, we see that our Patriarchate acted very early and we did a very good job. We upset our Russian brothers, but this had to happen. Orthodox people in all Balkan countries were attached to our Patriarchate for a long period of time. But there came a point in time when all those churches received their independence from our Ecumenical Patriarchate. Ukraine well deserved it.
Now we see that some Ukrainian clergy do not want to mention the name of the Russian patriarch, Kyril, in their services. They see him as the religious leader of the enemy country. They gradually break away from that church and move on to the new autocephalous church. We are happy about it or not. Because this is the result of war. One would wish that the Russian church would not show such hostility towards our Patriarchate and towards me, and accept our canonical action.
Unfortunately, the Russian Patriarchate did not accept our decision. Our Patriarchate and I personally became their target. The whole world is against Russia. We are entering a new era of cold war. The distance between Russia and not only Ukraine but the whole Western world, Russia and the Western world is getting bigger. It means that we are entering a new cold war period. Anyone who thinks right and acts right does not want this situation, this new cold war period. As a religious institution, our Patriarchate, has always been in favour of peace and unity, and we continue to do so. We have especially strengthened our prayers these days.
Excerpt from HH homily at the opening liturgy for the Great Lent
Throughout these days, the pious people of Ukraine carry their own weighty Cross, as they suffer the unspeakable abuses of an unprovoked, irrational and hostile war, which propagates pain and death. Co-suffering with our tested brethren and children, we intensify our supplication to the Lord of mercy and God of peace, unto the immediate cessation of this conflict and the prevalence of justice and peace, which are a foretaste of the redeemed joy of the Kingdom of God.
Excerpt from the sermon on Triumph of Orthodoxy Sunday
With all our hearts, we are watching the drama of the Ukrainian people, and at the same time we are admiring their strong resistance to the invader. We also note with satisfaction the brave reaction of Russian citizens to the bloodshed. We call for an immediate ceasefire on all fronts of the war. Violence and war not only do not resolve disputes, but cause pain and death and create more complex problems. The invasion and the war must end immediately, and a new opportunity must be given to dialogue, preeminent vehicle of reconciliation and peace. On the other hand, the Charter of the United Nations, this "Gospel of the Nations" as it is called, explicitly prohibits the use of force in international relations and commits all members of the Organization to settle their disputes by peaceful means. "War is a violation of international law, which is now a 'law of peace.'"
Excerpts from the sermon on the second Sunday of Lent
Dear Christians, war can and should never be an option for resolving any disputes. Weapons scatter death and, of course, do not discriminate. They kill everyone. This is evidenced by the tragic images that have been going around the world for the last twenty-five days.
Unfortunately, the invaders of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent state, seem to seek the utter humiliation of their proud, loyal and brotherly Ukrainian people, who are fighting heroically and sacrificially for their freedom. At the same time, however, those who chose the path of war are leading their own youth to doom. Several thousand Russian soldiers have lost their lives. Because its effects are already being experienced by ordinary people on both sides. Ukrainian and Russian mothers have been separated from their children who went to war, and many of them are already, unfortunately, mourning their loss.
We seize the opportunity of our presence here to shout once again with all our might: stop this horror! Stop the war now! Enough of this Madness! How much more blood will our earth withstand? How many more dead will she fit in her womb? How many more tears will water her soil?
Speech during welcome ceremony, on visit to Poland
My visit here is neither any jubilant nor some festive occasion. My exclusive focus these days is to stand in solidarity and prayer with the millions of refugees who have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing unjustified and unjustifiable aggression as well as the horrendous and costly violence caused by Russia on their sovereign homeland of Ukraine.
I am here to meet with some of the many refugees and to encourage those who are demonstrating the ultimate Christian virtue of love for their neighbour and charity for every stranger, in whom we are called to witness and welcome Christ Himself.
What I would like to emphasize first of all, Mr. President, is my personal gratitude – but especially the appreciation of the Orthodox faithful, and indeed the admiration of every decent human being – for the generous and compassionate hospitality of your historical and magnificent nation to those who were forced to flee Ukraine. The people of Poland understand very well what it means to suffer from war. But above and beyond this, the citizens of Poland respect the gifts of freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of education, freedom of economy, freedom of worship, and freedom of living.
Let me assure You that the entire world has watched as Poland – and other surrounding nations within this blessed continent – has literally opened the borders of its land and the depths of its heart to receive and comfort women and children, elderly and unaccompanied minors, and even pets. You did not just consign your refugee neighbours to tents and camps; you embraced them in your places of residence and your living rooms.
All of them are distressed about the past and fearful about the future. All of them need our reassurance and assistance, our support and encouragement. All of them are vulnerable to hunger and homelessness but also to exploitation and trafficking. And in the middle of this unbelievable and unacceptable crisis, the state and people of Poland stand out as a model of decency, of philanthropy, and of hospitality.
May God bless all of you and your loved ones abundantly. May all humankind learn from and imitate your extraordinary example. Only such genuine love and unconditional solidarity can conquer any and all evil and darkness in our world.
Speech to students
No problem can be solved by war. War does not solve problems, I always say it, repeatedly, war adds new problems.
The Russians, wrongly, wrongly, invaded Ukraine. They may have had fears about the future, about NATO, but there was no specific threat or intervention from Ukraine to push the President of the Russian Federation to take up arms and attack civilians, innocent people, to destroy schools, hospitals, theatres, churches.
Now some people want to say that because of this headache [the discussion over autocephaly of the Ukrainian Church] the war broke out. As if that were possible! They are looking for an alibi to justify the unjustifiable.
We are very sorry for the attitude of His Beatitude Patriarch Kirill of Russia. He should not have identified so much with President Putin and, in fact, described Russia's war against Ukraine as “sacred”.
Speech during memorial service for Patriarch Gregory V
We are in favour of the law, in favour of the truth. Law and truth are with Ukraine, that is why we are with Ukraine. The Gospel says: "Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". We Christians believe that the truth is Christ himself. Christ, then, will liberate Ukraine, which has the truth on its side. We all pray, with all our hearts, for this catastrophic war to end as soon as possible.
This Easter of 2022 will be a bitter Easter for our Ukrainian brothers and not only. Good Friday will pass and Anastasis will come. Those who will not come back will be the thousands of dead, the victims of this war. They, like everyone else, will pray from heaven not only for the freedom and prosperity of Ukraine, but will pray for truth and justice and peace throughout the world. The Mother Church of Constantinople has always loved its spiritual children in Ukraine. Now we love you so much more. Happy Resurrection!
Words spoken during the consecration of Holy Myrrh
We beseech and implore the Peace of God who voluntarily suffered the Passion for our salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ, to cease by His extraordinary and powerful intervention the horrible and abominable war against the people of Ukraine, in the context of which a demonic crew, unfortunately, have sacrilegiously wielded an impudent weapon against their Orthodox brothers and sisters, ...victimizing and lynching without fear of God, without embarrassment and shame, slaughtering and killing thousands of civilians, disgracing women, insulting holy temples, and burning homes, destroying and razing cities and towns to the ground, and forcing millions of their defenceless brethren, especially women and children, to flee their country! May the Leader of Life shorten the Passion and Calvary of His children and lead them with Him to the peace, tranquillity, light and joy of the Resurrection! And lead also the belligerent invaders of Christian love to sincere repentance, through the light of the Paraclete!
Excerpts from the Easter Encyclical
However, even as we are filled with gratitude and joy for this supreme value ascribed to the human being by the Lord of glory, we are disheartened before multifaceted violence, social injustice and infringement of human rights in our time. “The radiant message of the resurrection” and our cry “Christ is Risen!” today reverberate alongside the horrendous sound of weapons, the distressing cries of innocent victims of military aggression and the plight of refugees, among whom there are numerous innocent children. We saw with our own eyes all of these problems during our recent visit to Poland, where the vast majority of Ukrainian refugees has fled. We stand and suffer alongside the pious and courageous people of Ukraine that bear a heavy cross. We pray and strive for peace and justice as well as for all those who are deprived of these. It is unimaginable for us Christians to remain silent before the obliteration of human dignity. Together with the victims of military conflict, the “greatest casualty” of war is humanity, which has not managed to eradicate war in the course of its long history. Not only does war not solve problems; it actually creates new and more complex problems. It sows division and hatred; it increases discord among peoples. We firmly believe that humankind is capable of living without war and violence.
The Church of Christ innately functions as an agent of peace. Not only does it pray “for the peace from above” and “the peace of the whole world,” but it underlines the importance of every human effort to establish peace. The principal characteristic of a Christian is “peace-making.” Christ blesses the peacemakers, whose struggle is a tangible presence of God in the world and depicts the peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4.7) in the “new creation,” the heavenly kingdom of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As judiciously emphasized in the document of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, entitled For the Life of the World, the social ethos of the Orthodox Church, the Church “honors the martyrs for peace as witnesses to the power of love, to the goodness of creation in its first and final forms, and to the ideal of human conduct established by Christ during his earthly ministry” (§ 44).
Excerpts of interview with Kathimerini Kyprou
What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy, it is a shame that will stigmatize those who caused it, those who turned out to have no fear of God. Holy Week does not seem to be over for the war-torn Ukrainian people, for the mothers, and for both sides mourning their children. And yet, Christ is Risen.
Of course [the prolongation of the war] worries us. And it hurts us deeply… We have said many times that war is not the solution. It should not even be the last resort. The way to resolve any dispute should be dialogue, and only dialogue. I would not like to comment on the attitude and choices of the Russian political leadership, which is judged by its results, and I am sure that it will be judged further in the near and distant future by other persons and institutions and, of course, by history itself, whose pages are currently written in the blood of the innocent victims of this war. However, we are convinced that the Russian people, at least our Christian Orthodox brothers, can not agree with what is happening to the detriment of their neighboring Ukrainian people. And we have all seen this with the reaction of a courageous faction that opposes fratricidal war and is in favour of peace.
[Regarding the attitude of the Patriarch of Moscow] In the face of the death of innocent people, in the bombing of civilians, in the levelling of entire cities, in the face of this human tragedy, sermons cannot be heard that characterize a war as "sacred". This is something very sad. It causes us deep sorrow and pain. But it causes more pain to the Ukrainians themselves. Because you can not claim to be a brother to another people and bless the war waged by your state. You can not insist that Ukraine belongs to you ecclesiastically, but let the faithful of the ecclesiastical structure under Moscow be killed and their temples destroyed by the Russian bombing.
Excerpt from speech at the Meeting for the Promotion of Common Values among the Believers of Religions
Future generations are entitled to a life in dignity, to a world free of hatred and violence, unspoiled by pollution and natural devastation, a society of peace and fraternity. At these crucial moments that the world is experiencing following the war in Ukraine, we appeal to the responsible authorities and international organizations and all people of goodwill to strive for the end of all hostilities and the establishment of just and sustainable peace.
He who wages war, he who provokes war, forgets humanity. He does not start with the people, he does not look at the concrete life of the people, but puts vested interests and power before everything. He entrusts himself to the diabolical and perverse logic of weapons, which is the furthest from the will of God. And he distances himself from the common people, who want peace; and who, in every conflict, are the real victims, who pay for the follies of war in their own skin. I’m thinking of the elderly, of those who seek refuge in these hours, of mothers fleeing with their children… They are brothers and sisters for whom it is urgent to open humanitarian corridors and who must be welcomed.
With a broken heart for what happens in Ukraine – and let's not forget the wars in other parts of the world, such as in Yemen, Syria, Ethiopia… –, I repeat: silence those weapons! God stands with peacemakers, not with those who use violence. Because those who love peace, as the Italian Constitution states, "repudiate war as an instrument of offense against the freedom of other peoples and as a means of resolving international disputes" (Art. 11).
Words after Angelus prayer
Dear brothers and sisters,
Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine. It is not merely a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction and misery. The number of victims is increasing, as are the people fleeing, especially mothers and children. The need for humanitarian assistance in that troubled country is growing dramatically by the hour.
I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear.
I thank all those who are taking in refugees. Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation – and common sense – prevail. And that international law be respected once again!
And I would also like to thank the journalists who put their lives at risk to provide information. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for this service! A service that allows us to be close to the tragedy of that population and enables us to assess the cruelty of a war. Thank you, brothers and sisters.
Let us pray together for Ukraine: we have its flags in front of us. Let us pray together, as brothers and sisters, to Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine. Hail Mary...
The Holy See is ready to do everything, to put itself at the service of this peace. In these days, two Cardinals went to Ukraine, to serve the people, to help. Cardinal Krajewski, the Almoner, to bring aid to the needy, and Cardinal Czerny, interim Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The presence of the two Cardinals there is the presence not only of the Pope, but of all the Christian people who want to get closer and say: “War is madness! Stop, please! Look at this cruelty!”.
Words after the Angelus prayer
Brothers and sisters, we have just prayed to the Virgin Mary. This weekend, the city that bears her name, Mariupol, has become a city martyred by the ruinous war that is devastating Ukraine. Faced with the barbarism of the killing of children, and of innocent and defenceless citizens, there are no strategic reasons that hold up: the only thing to be done is to cease the unacceptable armed aggression before the city is reduced to a cemetery. With an aching heart I add my voice to that of the common people, who implore the end of the war. In the name of God, listen to the cry of those who suffer, and put an end to the bombings and the attacks! Let there be real and decisive focus on the negotiations, and let the humanitarian corridors be effective and safe. In the name of God, I ask you: stop this massacre!
I would like once again to urge the welcoming of the many refugees, in whom Christ is present, and to give thanks for the great network of solidarity that has formed. I ask all diocesan and religious communities to increase their moments of prayer for peace. God is only the God of peace, he is not the God of war, and those who support violence profane his name. Now let us pray in silence for those who suffer, and that God may convert hearts to a steadfast will for peace.
Prayer for the end of war in Ukraine
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labours, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!
Message for the opening of the European catholic social days
What we have experiencing in recent weeks is not what we had hoped for after the difficult health emergency caused by the pandemic, which made us experience a sign of powerlessness and fear, together with the fragile condition of our existence. The tragedy of the war that is taking place in the heart of Europe leaves us astonished; we never thought we would see such scenes again, reminiscent of the great wars of the last century. The heartbreaking cry for help of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters urges us as a community of believers not only to reflect seriously, but to cry with them and to do something for them; to share the anguish of a people whose identity, history and tradition have been wounded. The blood and tears of children, the suffering of women and men who are defending their land or fleeing from bombs rattle our conscience. Once again humanity is threatened by a perverse abuse of power and partisan interests, which condemns defenceless people to suffer all forms of brutal violence.
Unfortunately, the violent aggression against Ukraine does not stop, a senseless massacre where every day there is a repetition of slaughter and atrocities. There is no justification for this! I plead with all those involved in the international community to truly commit to ending this abhorrent war.
This week again missiles and bombs have fallen on civilians, the elderly, children, and pregnant mothers. I went to see the wounded children who are here in Rome. One was missing an arm; one had a head injury... innocent children. I think of the millions of Ukrainian refugees who must flee leaving everything behind, and I feel a great pain for those who do not even have the possibility to escape. So many grandparents, sick and poor people separated from their own families, so many children and fragile people are left to die under the bombs without being able to receive help and find safety even in the air raid shelters. All this is inhuman! Indeed, it is also sacrilegious because it goes against the sacredness of human life, especially against defenseless human life, which must be respected and protected, not eliminated, and this comes before any strategy! Let us not forget it is inhuman and sacrilegious cruelty! Let us pray in silence for those who are suffering.
It comforts me to know that the people left under the bombs do not lack the closeness of their pastors, who in these tragic days are living the Gospel of charity and fraternity. I have spoken with some of them on the phone during these days, they are close to the people of God. Thank you, dear brothers and sisters, for this witness and for the concrete support you are offering courageously to so many desperate people! I also think of the apostolic nuncio, who was just made a nuncio, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, who since the beginning of the war has stayed in Kyiv together with his collaborators and who with his presence brings me close every day to the martyred Ukrainian people. Let us be close to this people, let us embrace them with affection, with concrete commitment and prayer. And please, let us not get used to war and violence! Let us not tire of welcoming them with generosity as we are doing now not only during the emergency, but also in the weeks and months to come. As you know at first, we do all we can to welcome everyone, but then we can get used to it, and our hearts cool a bit, and we forget about it. Let us think of these women and children who in time, without work, separated from their husbands, will be sought out by the ‘vultures’ of society. Please, let us protect them.
I invite every community and all the faithful to unite with me on Friday 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, for the Solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that she, the Queen of Peace, may help us obtain peace.
Words after the Angelus
More than a month has gone by since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, of the beginning of this cruel and senseless war, that, like every war, represents a defeat for everyone, for everyone of us. We need to reject war, a place of death where fathers and mothers bury their children, where men kill their brothers and sisters without even having seen them, where the powerful decide and the poor die.
War does not devastate the present only, but the future of a society as well. I read that from the beginning of the aggression in Ukraine, one of every two children has been displaced from their country. This means destroying the future, causing dramatic trauma in the smallest and most innocent among us. This is the bestiality of war – a barbarous and sacrilegious act!
War should not be something that is inevitable. We should not accustom ourselves to war. Instead, we need to convert today’s anger into a commitment for tomorrow, because if, after what is happening, we remain like we were before, we will all be guilty in some way. Before the danger of self-destruction, may humanity understand that the moment has come to abolish war, to erase it from human history before it erases human history.
I beg every political leader to reflect on this, to dedicate themselves to this! And, looking on battered Ukraine to understand how each day of war worsens the situation for everyone. Therefore, I renew my appeal: Enough. Stop it. Silence the weapons. Move seriously toward peace.
Address to political and diplomatic personalities in Malta
from the east of Europe, from the land of sunrise, the dark shadows of war have now spread. We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past. However, the icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all. Once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that, will either shared, or not be at all. Now in the night of the war that is fallen upon humanity, please, let us not allow the dream of peace to fade!
How much we need a “human moderation” before the infantile and destructive aggression that threatens us, before the risk of an “enlarged Cold War” that can stifle the life of entire peoples and generations. That “childishness”, sadly, has not disappeared. It has reemerged powerfully in the seductions of autocracy, new forms of imperialism, widespread aggressiveness, and the inability to build bridges and start from the poorest in our midst. Today, it is difficult to think with the logic of peace. We have gotten used to thinking with the logic of war. It is from there that cold wind of war begins to blow, and this time it has been encouraged over the years. War has in fact been prepared for some time by great investments in weaponry and a massive trade in arms. It is distressing to see how the enthusiasm for peace, which emerged after the Second World War, has faded in these recent decades, as has the progress of the international community, with a few powers who go ahead on their own account, seeking spaces and zones of influence. In this way, not only peace, but also so many great questions, like the fight against hunger and inequality are no longer on the list of the main political agendas.
Speach to migrants in Malta
Your experiences make us think too of the experiences of all those thousands and thousands of people who in these very days have been forced to flee Ukraine because of the unjust and savage war. But also the experiences of so many others in Asia, Africa and the Americas; I also think of Rohingya…. All of them are in my thoughts and prayers at this time.
Angelus in Malta
Let us now pray to her for peace, as we think of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in war-torn Ukraine, which continues to be bombarded in the sacrilegious war. May we be tireless in praying and in offering assistance to those who suffer.
Press conference on return flight from Malta
War is always an act of cruelty, an inhuman thing, that goes against the human spirit; I don't say Christian, [I say] human. It is the spirit of Cain. I am willing to do whatever needs to be done, and the Holy See, especially the diplomatic side, Cardinal Parolin and Archbishop Gallagher, are doing everything… everything possible. We cannot make public everything they do, out of prudence and confidentiality, but we are pushing the boundaries of our work. Among the possibilities there is the trip. There are two possible trips: the President of Poland proposed one of them, asking me to send Cardinal Krajewski to visit the Ukrainians who have been welcomed in Poland. [The Cardinal] has already been there twice, took two ambulances, and he was there with them for some time. But he will go again; he is willing to do so. The other trip that some of you have asked about. I answered sincerely that I was planning to go, that I am always willing. There is no automatic “no.” I am available.
What are my thoughts regarding such a trip? This was the question: "We heard that you were thinking about a trip to Ukraine," and I said, "It is on the table." The idea is there, among the proposals I have received, but I don't know if it can be done, if it is fitting, and whether it would be for the best or if it is fitting to undertake it, whether I should go… all this is up in the air. Then, for some time, there have been considerations regarding a meeting with Patriarch Kirill; that's what's being worked on, with the possibility of holding the meeting in the Middle East. This is where things are at the moment.
Gerry O’Connell (America Magazine)
Father, several times during this trip you have talked about war. The question everyone is asking is whether or not, since the beginning of the war, you have spoken to President Putin, and if not, what would you say to him today?
The things which I have said to the Authorities on all sides are public. None of the things I have said are confidential. When I spoke to the Patriarch, he then released a nice statement of what we said to each other. I spoke to the President of Russia at the end of last year when he called me to convey his best wishes. We talked. Then, I have also spoken to the President of Ukraine, twice. So, on the first day of the war, I felt I had to go to the Russian Embassy to speak to the Ambassador, who is the representative of the people, and ask questions and offer my impressions regarding the situation. These are the official contacts I have had. With Russia I did it through the Embassy.
Also, I have spoken to the Major Archbishop of Kyiv, Mons. Shevchuk. I have also spoken regularly—every two or three days—with one of you, Elisabetta Piqué, who is now in Odessa. But I spoke to her when she was in Lviv. She tells me how things are going. I have also spoken with the rector of the seminary there, through a message to the seminarians and the people there. I am also in contact with one of your representatives. Speaking of that, I would like to give my condolences for your colleagues who have fallen. Whatever side they are on, it doesn't matter. However, your work is on behalf of the common good, and they have fallen in service of the common good, on behalf of information. Let's not forget them. They were brave, and I pray for them that the Lord will reward them for their work. These have been the contacts I have had so far.
But what would be your message for Putin if you had a chance to talk to him?
The message I have given to all the Authorities is the one I have given publicly. I do not say two different things. It is always the same.
I think that behind your question there is also doubt about just and unjust wars. Every war stems from an injustice, always, because that is the pattern of war. It is not a pattern for peace. For example, making investments to buy weapons. Some people say, ‘But we need them to defend ourselves.’ And this is the pattern of war. When World War II ended, everyone breathed and said, "never again war: peace!" A surge of work for peace began, with the goodwill not to produce any more weapons, even atomic weapons at that time, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That was a great intention.
Seventy years later, eighty years later, we have forgotten all that. That's how it is: the pattern of war imposes itself. There was so much hope in the work of the United Nations then. But the pattern of war has imposed itself again. We cannot, we are incapable of imagining another pattern. We are not used to thinking of the pattern of peace anymore. There have been great people like Ghandi and many others, whom I mentioned at the end of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, who wagered on the pattern of peace. But we are stubborn! As humanity, we are stubborn. We are in love with wars, with the spirit of Cain. It is not by chance that at the beginning of the Bible this problem is presented: the "Cainist" spirit of killing instead of the spirit of peace. ‘Father, it can't be!’ I'll tell you something personal. In 2014, when I was in Redipuglia and saw the names [of the departed], I cried. Really, I cried out of bitterness. Then, a year or two later, I went to celebrate [Mass] in Anzio for All Souls’ Day, and saw the names of the young men who fell while landing there. The names were there, all young men, and I cried there, too. I really did. I did not understand. We must cry on the graves. I respect, because there is a political problem, but for the commemoration of the Normandy landings, several heads of government came together to commemorate it. But I don't remember anyone talking about the 30,000 young soldiers who were left on the beaches. The boats would open, they would get out and were gunned down there, on the beaches. Does youth not matter? This makes me wonder and pains me. I am pained by what is happening today. We never learn. May the Lord have mercy on us, on all of us. Every one of us is guilty!
Wednesday general audience
Today we often hear about “geopolitics”. But unfortunately, the dominant logic is the strategies of the most powerful countries to affirm their own interests, extending their area of economic influence, or ideological influence, and/or military influence. We are seeing this with the war. In this framework, Malta represents the rights and power of the “small” nations, small but rich in history and civilization that should lead toward another logic — that of respect and freedom — the logic of respect and also the logic of freedom, of the coexistence of differences, opposed to the colonization of the most powerful. We are seeing this now. And not only from one side: also from others… After World War II, an attempt was made to lay the foundations of a new era of peace. But, unfortunately — we never learn — the old story of competition between the greater powers continued. And, in the current war in Ukraine, we are witnessing the impotence of the United Nations Organization.
Recent news of the war in Ukraine, rather than bringing relief and hope, confirms new atrocities, like the massacre in Bucha: ever more horrendous cruelty even against defenceless civilians, women and children. They are victims whose innocent blood cries to Heaven and implores: put an end to this war! Silence the weapons! Stop sowing death and destruction! Let us pray together for this…
And yesterday, precisely from Bucha, they brought me this flag. This flag comes from the war, precisely from that war-torn city, Bucha. And also here, there are some Ukrainian children with us. Let us greet them and pray together with them.
These children had to escape and come to a foreign land: this is one of the fruits of war. Let us not forget them, and let us not forget the Ukrainian people. It is hard to be uprooted from your own land due to war.
Words before the Angelus prayer
In a moment, we will turn to the Blessed Mother with the Angelus Prayer. It was the Angel of the Lord himself who said to Mary in the Annunciation: “with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk 1:37). With God nothing will be impossible. He can even bring an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war that daily places before our eyes heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenceless civilians. Let us pray about this.
Excerpt from sermon on Palm Sunday
When we resort to violence, we show that we no longer know anything about God, who is our Father, or even about others, who are our brothers and sisters. We lose sight of why we are in the world and even end up committing senseless acts of cruelty. We see this in the folly of war, where Christ is crucified yet another time. Christ is once more nailed to the Cross in mothers who mourn the unjust death of husbands and sons. He is crucified in refugees who flee from bombs with children in their arms. He is crucified in the elderly left alone to die; in young people deprived of a future; in soldiers sent to kill their brothers and sisters. Christ is being crucified there, today.
This is why the armed aggression of these days, like every war, is an outrage against God, a blasphemous betrayal of the Lord of Passover, a preference for the face of the false god of this world over his meek one. War is always a human act, to bring about the idolatry of power.
Interview with Lorena Bianchetti
And so, Your Holiness, going back to the war in Ukraine. Kyiv – we are seeing it, the images are arriving – it’s completely destroyed. In ashes. Perhaps this is the very scene that the devil likes so much. So, I ask you: Kyiv is no longer simply a geographic place, but it represents much more to the eyes of the world. In your heart, what does it represent?
Pain. Pain is uncertainty, it’s a feeling that takes over. After surgery, when you feel the physical pain from the wound they’ve given you, you ask for anaesthesia, for something to help you tolerate it. But [for] human pain, moral pain, there is no anaesthesia. Only prayer and tears. I am convinced that we are not weeping very well today. We have forgotten how to weep. If I may give some advice, to me and to the people, it is to ask for the gift of tears. And to weep like Peter wept after having betrayed Jesus. When he ran off, he wept when he denied him. He wept. A type of weeping that is not an outburst, no. It is physically-felt shame and, I believe we are lacking this shame. There are many of us who do not feel shame many times – there is an insult used in my homeland “[that person] has no shame” – but the grace of weeping. There is a beautiful prayer, there is a beautiful Mass that asks for the gift of tears. In that Mass, a beautiful prayer goes like this: “Lord, you who made water flow from the rock, grant that tears might flow from the rock of my heart”. The hard heart, the heart that is not moved, does not know how to weep. I ask myself: how many people can weep on seeing the images of war, whatever war? Some yes, I am sure, but many are not able to. They begin to justify or attack. No, this (Editor’s note: the Holy Father points to his heart): you need to cure this. And Jesus touches here. Today, Good Friday, in front of Jesus Crucified, let him touch your heart, let him speak to you with his silence, and with his pain. He speaks to you through those people who are suffering in the world: who suffer from hunger, suffer from war, suffer from such exploitation, and all these things. Let Jesus speak to you and, please, don’t speak. Remain silent. Let him be the one, and ask for the grace of tears.
Lorena Bianchetti: How much religions can do to remove this desertification from hearts. What can and what words do you want to say, even to the Orthodox bishops?
Holy Father: Yes, they too are preparing for Easter with us, with the difference of a week, because they follow – even Eastern Catholics – follow the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian. I take the opportunity to send a message of fraternity to all my brother Orthodox bishops who are living this Easter with the same pain that I and many Catholics are living ours. It is not easy to be a bishop…and thank God that it’s not easy! This is why I don’t understand those who want to become a bishop! They don’t know what’s in store for them! But I take the opportunity to greet all the Orthodox bishops, as a brother in the faith.
Easter Urbi et Orbi blessing
Our eyes, too, are incredulous on this Easter of war. We have seen all too much blood, all too much violence. Our hearts, too, have been filled with fear and anguish, as so many of our brothers and sisters have had to lock themselves away in order to be safe from bombing. We struggle to believe that Jesus is truly risen, that he has truly triumphed over death. Could it be an illusion? A figment of our imagination?
No, it is not an illusion! Today, more than ever, we hear echoing the Easter proclamation so dear to the Christian East: “Christ is risen! He is truly risen!” Today, more than ever, we need him, at the end of a Lent that has seemed endless. We emerged from two years of pandemic, which took a heavy toll. It was time to come out of the tunnel together, hand in hand, pooling our strengths and resources... Instead, we are showing that we do not yet have within us the spirit of Jesus but the spirit of Cain, who saw Abel not as a brother, but as a rival, and thought about how to eliminate him. We need the crucified and risen Lord so that we can believe in the victory of love, and hope for reconciliation. Today, more than ever, we need him to stand in our midst and repeat to us: “Peace be with you!”
Only he can do it. Today, he alone has the right to speak to us of peace. Jesus alone, for he bears wounds… our wounds. His wounds are indeed ours, for two reasons. They are ours because we inflicted them upon him by our sins, by our hardness of heart, by our fratricidal hatred. They are also ours because he bore them for our sake; he did not cancel them from his glorified body; he chose to keep them forever. They are the indelible seal of his love for us, a perennial act of intercession, so that the heavenly Father, in seeing them, will have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. The wounds on the body of the risen Jesus are the sign of the battle he fought and won for us, won with the weapons of love, so that we might have peace and remain in peace.
As we contemplate those glorious wounds, our incredulous eyes open wide; our hardened hearts break open and we welcome the Easter message: “Peace be with you!”
Brothers and sisters, let us allow the peace of Christ to enter our lives, our homes, our countries!
May there be peace for war-torn Ukraine, so sorely tried by the violence and destruction of the cruel and senseless war into which it was dragged. In this terrible night of suffering and death, may a new dawn of hope soon appear! Let there be a decision for peace. May there be an end to the flexing of muscles while people are suffering. Please, please, let us not get used to war! Let us all commit ourselves to imploring peace, from our balconies and in our streets! Peace! May the leaders of nations hear people’s plea for peace. May they listen to that troubling question posed by scientists almost seventy years ago: “Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?” (Russell-Einstein Manifesto, 9 July 1955).
I hold in my heart all the many Ukrainian victims, the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, the divided families, the elderly left to themselves, the lives broken and the cities razed to the ground. I see the faces of the orphaned children fleeing from the war. As we look at them, we cannot help but hear their cry of pain, along with that of all those other children who suffer throughout our world: those dying of hunger or lack of medical care, those who are victims of abuse and violence, and those denied the right to be born.
Amid the pain of the war, there are also encouraging signs, such as the open doors of all those families and communities that are welcoming migrants and refugees throughout Europe. May these numerous acts of charity become a blessing for our societies, at times debased by selfishness and individualism, and help to make them welcoming to all.
Excerpts from an interview with Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, as translated into English by Crux
On possible visit to Kiev
I cannot do anything that would jeopardize higher objectives, which are the end of the war, a truce or at least a humanitarian corridor. What would be the use of the pope going to Kyiv if the war continues the next day?
On his refusal thus far to mention either Russia or its president Vladimir Putin
No pope ever condemns a head of state, much less a country, which is superior to its head of state.
On his visit to the Russian embassy in the Vatican
It is clear for those who want to see it well that I was signaling to the government that it can put an end to the war this instant. To be honest with you, I would like to do something so that there will not be one more death in Ukraine. Not one more. And I am ready to do everything.
All war is anachronistic in this world and at this stage of civilization. That is why I also publicly kissed the Ukrainian flag. It was a gesture of solidarity with their dead, with their families, and with those who suffer emigration.
On possible meeting with Patriarch Kirill, which he announced has been cancelled
Our diplomacy understood that a meeting between the two at this time could lend itself to much confusion.
I have always promoted interreligious dialogue. When I was archbishop of Buenos Aires, I brought together Christians, Jews and Muslims in a fruitful dialogue. It was one of the initiatives of which I am most proud. It is the same policy that I promote in the Vatican.
Words after Regina Coeli
Today various Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, and several Latin communities, celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar. We celebrated it last Sunday, following the Gregorian calendar. I offer them my warmest wishes: Christ is risen, he is truly risen! May he fill with hope the good expectations of hearts. May he grant peace, outraged by the barbarity of war. Today marks two months since the beginning of this war: instead of stopping, the war has worsened. It is sad that in these days, which are the holiest and most solemn for all Christians, the deadly roar of weapons is heard rather than the sound of bells announcing the Resurrection; and it is sad that weapons are increasingly taking the place of words.
I renew my appeal for an Easter truce, a minimal and tangible sign of a desire for peace. The attack must be stopped, to respond to the suffering of the exhausted population; it must stop, in obedience to the words of the Risen Lord, who on Easter Day repeats to his disciples: “Peace be with you!” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19.21). I ask everyone to increase prayer for peace and to have the courage to say, to show that peace is possible. Political leaders, please, listen to the voice of the people, who want peace, not an escalation of the conflict.
Easter message to Patriarch Kirill
In His goodness, the Lord again vouchsafed us to celebrate Easter. In these days, when we feel the full weight of the suffering of the members of our human family, crushed by violence, war and numerous manifestations of injustice, let us again marvel with a grateful heart that the Lord took upon Himself all the evil and all the pain of our world. He did this for all time and everywhere in the universe by the power of His Cross, filially committing Himself into the hands of the Father (see Luke 23:46).
Obedient to the will of the Father, in the unity of the Spirit, Jesus laid down His life to destroy death. Truly, the death of Christ was the beginning of a new life and liberation from the bonds of sin and the occasion for our Paschal joy, opening before all people the way from the shadow of darkness to the light of the kingdom of God.
Dear brother! Let us pray for one another that we may bear a credible witness to the gospel message of the Risen Christ and of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation, so that all may enter into the kingdom of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). ).
May the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and make us true peacemakers, especially for war-torn Ukraine, so that as soon as possible the great Easter transition from death to new life in Christ becomes a reality for the Ukrainian people, who yearn for a new dawn that will put an end to the darkness of war.
United by mutual prayer, we commit our Churches and all our brothers and sisters to the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God, who was with her Son in His suffering and death and shared the joy of His resurrection. I sincerely wish Your Holiness a joyful and blessed Easter!
Christ is Risen!
Words after Regina Coeli
Today is the beginning of the month dedicated to the Mother of God. I would like to invite all the faithful and communities to pray the Rosary for peace every day in May. My thought goes to the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, “Mary’s city”, barbarically bombed and destroyed. Once again, from here, I renew my request that safe humanitarian corridors be arranged for the people trapped in the steelworks in that city. I suffer and weep, thinking of the sufferings of the Ukrainian people, and in particular, the weakest, the elderly and children. There are even terrible reports of children being expelled and deported.
And while we are witnessing a macabre regression of humanity, I wonder, along with so many anguished people, if peace is truly being sought; whether there is the will to avoid a continued military and verbal escalation; whether everything possible is being done to silence the weapons. I beg you, let us not surrender to the logic of violence, to the perverse spiral of weapons. May the path of dialogue and peace be taken! Let us pray.
Interview with Corriere della Sera
I spoke to Kirill for 40 minutes via zoom. The first twenty, with a card in hand, he read me all the justifications for the war. I listened and told him: I don't understand anything about this. Brother, we are not clerics of state, we cannot use the language of politics, but that of Jesus. We are shepherds of the same holy people of God. For this we must seek ways of peace, to put an end to the firing of weapons. The Patriarch cannot transform himself into Putin's altar boy.
Excerpt from the address to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Even before the healthcare emergency had come to an end, the entire world found itself facing another tragic challenge: the war currently underway in Ukraine. Since the end of the second world war there has never been any lack of regional wars, many of them! Think of Rwanda, for example, thirty years ago, to mention just one; but think of Myanmar, let’s think… But since they are far away, we do not see them, whereas this one is close by and it makes us react. So much so that I have often spoken about a piecemeal third world war, scattered everywhere. However, this war, cruel and senseless like every war, has a greater dimension and threatens the entire world, and cannot but question the conscience of every Christian and every Church. We must ask ourselves: what have Churches done, and what can they do, to contribute to “the development of a global community of fraternity based on the practice of social friendship on the part of peoples and nations” (Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, 154)? It is a question we must think about together.
Right now, many members of the faithful are gathered around the image of Mary venerated in the Shrine of Pompei, to pray the Supplication that sprang from the heart of Blessed Bartolo Longo. Kneeling in spirit before the image of the Virgin, I entrust to her the ardent desire for peace of the many people in various parts of the world who suffer the senseless calamity of war. In particular, I present the sufferings and tears of the Ukrainian people to the Holy Virgin. Before the madness of war, please, let us continue to pray the Rosary for peace each day. And let us pray for the leaders of nations, so that they might not lose the “pulse of the people” who want peace and who know well that weapons never achieve it, never.
In light of today's developments in the crisis in Ukraine, we see even more clearly the timeliness of the clear and heartfelt appeal that the Holy Father made yesterday at the conclusion of the General Audience. The Pope spoke of “great sorrow,” “anguish and concern.” He also urged all the parties involved to “refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilising coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.”
This appeal has taken on dramatic urgency following the beginning of Russian military operations in Ukrainian territory. The tragic scenarios that everyone feared are becoming a reality. Yet there is still time for goodwill, there is still room for negotiation, there is still a place for the exercise of a wisdom that can prevent the predominance of partisan interest, safeguard the legitimate aspirations of everyone, and spare the world from the folly and horrors of war.
As believers, we do not lose hope for a glimmer of conscience on the part of those who hold in their hands the fortunes of the world. And we continue to pray and fast — as we shall do this coming Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and in the entire world.
Excerpts from interview
Eminence, could you, first of all, summarize the position of the Holy See on the ongoing conflict?
The position of the Holy See is the one that the Pope has repeatedly repeated: a resounding "no" to war, war is madness, it must be stopped. We call, appealing to the conscience of all, for an immediate end to hostilities. We have before our eyes horrible pictures coming from Ukraine. Civilian casualties, elderly women, innocent children who paid with their lives for the madness of war. Anxiety grows when you see cities with shattered houses, left without electricity at sub-zero temperatures, lack of food and medicine. As well as millions of refugees, mostly women and children fleeing the bombing. These days I had the opportunity to meet a group that came to Italy from different parts of Ukraine: no look, face without a smile, endless sadness… What is the fault of these young mothers, what did their children blame? You need to have a heart of stone, to remain intact and to allow this chaos to continue, to keep rivers of blood and tears flowing. War is barbarism!
Why did the Pope make an unprecedented gesture by visiting the Russian embassy the day after the Moscow army's invasion of Ukraine?
You are right to call this gesture of Pope Francis unprecedented. The Holy Father wanted to express all his concern to the Moscow authorities in view of the military escalation that has just begun, and decided to take a personal step in this direction by applying to the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation at the Holy See.
The Pope clearly said that Ukraine is a war, not a "military operation." Why?
Words are important, and to call what is happening in Ukraine a military operation means not recognizing the truth of the facts. We are facing a war that, unfortunately, is reaping many casualties among the civilian population, like all wars.
We were very concerned that there might be a war, because the signs were there. But it still causes a huge impact, it is surreal, like living in a film. So, I say to myself, and also to many believers I speak to, that our main weapons, so to speak, are humility, surrendering ourselves totally to God, solidarity, and love. Because in any case if we are here for each other, if we are close to God, if we are faithful, He will look after us. And so it is during this war, which is not a purely human invention, there is something demonic about it – as there is in all violence. And we can only defeat the evil in this war together, all over the world, through fasting, prayer, much humility and love.
There are plenty of reasons for this war, and some claim that there is a religious dimension to some of them. I consider this completely incorrect. If we look at the Ukrainians, for example, we have the Council of Churches and Religious Organisations in Ukraine which has been very united at this time, it is close to the people, and they support each other. This doesn’t mean that all difficulties have passed, because clearly some interreligious misunderstandings played a role in the past. But I don’t think you can justify this war in this way, because difficulties in interreligious relations have to be dealt with a different way. Surprisingly, I have noticed that the difficulties I saw in Ukraine before have decreased now. It seems that this tragedy is uniting the Ukrainian people. This doesn’t mean that this unity will remain afterwards, but it is still a very positive sign.
The words of the Holy Father show that he is doing all he possibly can to end this war. And not only through words, because I know full well that he is seeking all the possible paths for the Church, both spiritual and diplomatic. All that is humanly possible to contribute to peace. Of course, the Pope – and I know this well through his collaborators, with whom I am in touch several times a day – is weighing many possibilities. We are constantly reflecting on what else the Pope can do, either directly or through his collaborators. One of these things is sending the two cardinals. On Tuesday Cardinal Krajewski arrived in Ukraine to bring support and see how he can get humanitarian aid in, and with it the presence of the Pope.
Address to UGCC synod on consecration of Ukraine and Russia to Mary
The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a symbol of the pain experienced by the Mother of God through the death of her son Jesus. The Ukrainian people are now joining this pain, especially Ukrainian children who are dying from bombs or from thirst and cold, in darkness and boundless fear. This war cannot be explained, because human life is sacred to all of us, believers and non-believers.
May our prayer, as well as the activities of government officials, diplomats and public figures of Ukraine and other countries bring peace to our country and understanding between the Ukrainian and Russian people and between all peoples.
Dear brothers and sisters, this day, which for us is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the Holy Father declared the Day of Lent and Prayer for Ukraine. That is why we have come today to pray with you for your Motherland. Congratulations to my dear brother Bishop Dionysius and all the priests and faithful of this exarchate in Italy. We don't have many words. Our words are the ones we prayed for, calling on the Mother of God, the Queen of Ukraine, to intercede for us in the face of this catastrophe, in the face of all these victims of unjustified invasion. Yesterday, talking on the phone, we saw the tears of His Beatitude Supreme Archbishop Sviatoslav, who is in custody, as many Ukrainians who are currently under bombardment are experiencing separation, fleeing. We take to our hearts the great, unspeakable pain of mothers, fathers, soldiers, children, fleeing. We have no words. We have no missiles, we have no guns, we have no tanks, we have no force of violence that wants to prevail at any cost. We have the power to humble those who despise the world and the mighty lands. Our only weapon - and in this we join our Pope Francis - in the face of such a disgrace to humanity and great suffering - is what we did today: we prayed.
And I want to say with all my heart: may the Mother of God really ask for peace to put an end to this abuse, this unspeakable suffering that the Ukrainian people are experiencing. May the Mother of God accompany us, give us strength. My opinion also reaches many of you who will have to accept your relatives, your friends, who are fleeing from this senseless, unthinkable war. The thought comes to those who have relatives left there who may not have been able to escape, and that is why I want to tell you: we are all obviously our Congregation, but all of us, the Catholic Church, are with you and opens for you his humble hands of fraternal devotion and sharing your pain and your prayer. But be strong, for with us and with you is God, the crucified Lord Jesus and His Blessed Mother. Amen
2/3/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear brothers and sisters, dear compatriots!
Unfortunately, this morning a new page in our history has begun. In this situation, when Russia has launched a full-scale war against Ukraine, the responsibility of each of us is important.
Foremost, let’s not let desperation take over us. Christians are people of faith and hope because our Savior Jesus Christ proved by his resurrection that the last word is not for death, but for life! Elsewhere in the Scriptures, we read: "If the Lord does not keep the city, the watchman is in vain." (Psalms 127.1 B). Therefore, our hope is in God.
The present time requires us to unite in prayer: in our families, with our neighbours, in prayer communities and in every parish. We encourage priests today, after each Holy Mass, in addition to singing the supplication, to pray for the act of dedicating Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God.
May this time of trial also be an opportunity for reconciliation with our relatives and friends, neighbours and colleagues, and with God Himself. Realising our own sinfulness and limitations, we apologise to the Lord, proceed to the sacrament of reconciliation, fulfilling the 5 conditions of a good confession. Let us try to participate in the Eucharist more often and receive Holy Communion, to take care of the purity of our hearts, so that God’s grace fills us.
Let us pray together a rosary or other prayers in the intention of peace, for the rulers of our state, for our army and all those who defend our homeland, for the wounded and dead, as well as a reminder for those who started the war and were blinded by aggression. Let us protect our hearts from hatred and rage against our enemies. Christ clearly instructs us to pray for them and bless them.
The Church is a community. Let parishes and prayer groups become a place of unity and a centre from which prayers for peace and God’s protection are sent. We don’t know what the future holds for us, but let the parish community not leave the most defenceless and needy to their fate, regardless of their religious affiliation. We will provide special care for the elderly and sick.
The prince of this world wins individual battles, forcing us to succumb to manipulations, believe lies and spread them. May our help in the search for truth be God’s word, as well as the highest truth, which is Christ. In addition, do not give in to the panic that the aggressor can sow.
We will be ready to defend our homeland in accordance with our capabilities and responsibilities – in the army or at our workplace, in hospitals or by providing first aid, material support or a word of comfort, prayer or sacrifice of suffering. Let us respond courageously to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who will give his light at the right moment.
For the time of trial and fervent prayer, we give our pastoral blessing: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!
24-2-2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
My dear brothers in the fullness of the Priesthood of Christ, the bishops of Germany who fight for minority rights and care for climate change; silent bishops of Belarus and Russia!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Catholics of Germany, Belarus and Russia. Why are you silent while we are being killed? Where is your voice of solidarity with the innocent victims of Putin's Russia? Where are your actions that show love; deeds without which our Christian faith is dead; where is your active position? Some of the leaders of your countries support aggression, others are its source, and you are silent? Is this your version of Christianity? Do you still remember that keeping silent about sin is also a sin?
An independent democratic country in the heart of Europe with tanks, missiles and machine guns aimed at civilians is being forced "into peace" by a country that itself took away this peace from us in 2014. The Russian army came to us in Donbass and Crimea, brought death and destruction, political repression and fear. But we did our best to maintain a peaceful sky over the rest of our homeland. And we did not attack anyone. We did not provoke anyone. And on February 24, 2022, Russia started a war throughout Ukraine.
We are being shot in front of you, live, and you Christian brothers, what are you doing at the moment? "Cain attacked Abel his brother and killed him. And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? He replied, “I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?” (Gen. 4: 8-9).
28/2/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, dear congregation in the priesthood!
We, like all of you, are deeply impressed that, despite enormous efforts to reconcile, the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine has turned into an armed confrontation. This confrontation brings death and destruction and threatens the security of the whole world. The peoples of our countries are united not only by a common history, but also by the great suffering that has befallen us in the past because of the madness of war. Our peoples deserve peace, and not just peace without war, but peace that is determined to respect other people, other peoples and their dignity.
Let our contemporaries know that they will have to give a strict account of the military actions they have committed. After all, the course of future centuries largely depends on their current decisions (cf. Const. Lumen gentium, 78, 80).
We call on all politicians on whom this decision depends to do their utmost to end this conflict. "God is the God of peace, not war, the Father of all, not just some, and He wants us to be brothers, not enemies," Pope Francis told us. And we also call on all people, especially the Christian brothers, to resist lies and hatred, and to be a source of reconciliation, not a multiplication of hatred and violence.
We ask all our believers to dedicate these days to intensified prayer and fasting for the salvation of human lives – especially on Ash Wednesday, March 2, in response to the call of the Holy Father. Priests are asked to serve Holy Mass for the preservation of peace and justice, using the Eucharistic Prayer for Reconciliation and reading the Prayer for Peace and Fatherland.
Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia
Archbishop Pavlo Pezzi Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow
Bishop Joseph Wert Ordinary of the Transfiguration Diocese in Novosibirsk
Bishop Clemens Pickel Ordinary of the Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov
Bishop Kirill Klimovich Ordinary of the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk
Bishop Mykola Dubinin Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow
24/2/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters:
As we approach Great Lent, this salvific time of profound prayer and self-correction, and in connection with the events in the Ukrainian land, I turn to all with a heartfelt plea: to refrain from watching television, following newspapers and the internet, to close our hearts to the passions ignited by mass media, while doubling our fervent prayers for peace throughout the world, for overcoming enmity and discord, for help for the suffering, for the repose of those who have departed into the eternal life and the consolation of their friends and relatives, so that we all first and foremost remain humane and Orthodox Christians in these difficult times.
The forthcoming Great Lenten period is our path towards the Pascha of Christ. This path leads away from indolence, impatience, fuss and constant anxiety in our spiritual life, and towards wholeness, humility and love. This pious experience does not arise within us without effort, but through adhering to the other world in our churches – the world of light, joy, hope and kindness. Without participating in the divine services of Great Lent, which creates a special atmosphere in our homes and in our lives, attaining such a spiritual state is very difficult, it may even be impossible. Striving towards God, establishing peace within our hearts and participating in the sacramental life of the Church of Christ, wherein lies our personal relationship with God, we reduce the level of evil in this world, we inspire others towards labors and spiritual feats of the Gospel, we enhance peace and brotherly relationships, and do not succumb to the temptations of various discords and divisions.
Therefore, I urge everyone to take advantage of every opportunity offered by the Church to preserve peace and goodness in our hearts, to spend this blessed time of salvation, so that we can all together meet and spend the luminous night of Pascha in unity of spirit and brotherly love, in the renewal of all of our powers and the spiritual joy in the Resurrected Christ and the victory of good over evil! Amen.
(Source. Edited for clarity)
Paschal greeting to Metropolitan Onophry, of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate
We all live in a world where the consequences of the freedom of human will leads to sufferings, illness and death. Only the Innocent Sufferer, God-Man, could destroy this shameful cycle of servitude to sin, bringing forth Himself in Sacrifice, “for us men and for our salvation.” Therefore, following Him “in the Lord’s wandering,” enduring His abandonment on the Cross as a mortal, we hope and believe that the present tribulations and calamities will lead us Orthodox Christians to “the unwaning day of the Kingdom of Christ.”
Now, prayerfully standing before Christ the Life-Giver, we humbly beseech on Your behalf, for Your brother archpastors, pastors, monastics and the multitude of children of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the beleaguered hearts of all those who have suffered from this war, that which is sung during Paschal night: “O Pascha, deliverer from sorrow!” May “this chosen and holy day” bring consolation and joy, a torrent of mercy, help and Divine aid for you all!
Open letter to Patriarch Kirill
In these dark days when war is raging in the middle of Europe following the military intervention of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, allow me to convey to you the dismay of the entire Archdiocese and our total solidarity with the victims of this conflict.
The troubles and disorder caused throughout the world by this violent attack have not spared the Orthodox community of Western Europe and above all the archdiocese of Orthodox parishes of Russian tradition in Western Europe, which brings together faithful of all origins. Our very unity is threatened by the situation that has thus arisen. Our faithful expect their pastors to bring the voice of the Church and an evangelical message of peace.
We learned with emotion of the appeal made to you by the members of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, asking you to intervene with the political authorities of the Russian Federation to stop this bloodbath.
On behalf of all the faithful of our Archdiocese, I appeal to you to raise your voice as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church against this monstrous and senseless war and to intercede with the authorities of the Russian Federation so that this murderous conflict ceases as soon as possible, which until recently seemed unthinkable between two peoples and two nations united by centuries of history and their common faith in Christ.
Your Holiness, in your “homily” for the Sunday of Forgiveness, delivered in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on the 6th March, you imply that you justify this war of cruel and murderous aggression as “a metaphysical battle”, in the name of the “right to be on the side of the light, on the side of God’s truth, of what the light of Christ reveals to us, His word, His Gospel… ”.
With all the respect that is due to you, and from which I do not depart, but also with infinite pain, I must bring to your attention that I cannot subscribe to such a reading of the Gospel. Nothing can ever justify that the “good shepherds” that we must be should cease to be “artisans of peace”, whatever the circumstances.
Your Holiness, humbly, with a heavy heart, please do all you can to end this terrible war that is dividing the world and sowing death and destruction.
beginning of Lent; likewise, we, as Orthodox, will celebrate this coming Sunday the “Sunday of Forgiveness” to mark our beginning of Lent next Monday. These powerful moments in our liturgical calendars call us to repentance, peace and reconciliation.
The Jewish community is an integral part of Ukraine and stands with the Ukrainian people, government and armed forces in defending Ukraine.The Government of Ukraine has stood by the Jewish community since Ukraine became independent in 1991.— Chief Rabbi Bleich (@Ukrainerabbi) February 25, 2022
Address to Russian people
People, stop the war! Don't believe what you are told on TV – they are lying to you! A war crime is taking place here. The Russian army bombs civilians today – Kyiv, Kharkiv… Babi Yar has just been shelled. It is symbolic – they kill innocent elderly, women and children in Babi Yar, where 200,000 murdered Jews lie. Today, Jews are calling me from all over Kyiv, and not only Jews – Ukrainians, Russians – asking for help. Every day, I try to help and save civilians – the elderly, women, and children. Elderly women call saying they are dying without medicines. Mothers call and say that children suffer from bombings. They also need food. Our volunteers are endangered throughout Kyiv and the Kyiv region.
I haven't left because I am not indifferent, and I will not leave my community. I am a rabbi of Ukraine, and I am proud to have been honoured to save people and be on the side of the Light, not on the side of the murderers. I was silent for a long time – I can't be silent anymore… I'm not afraid to die. Even in my worst dreams, I never thought I might have to die under Russian missiles – I was born in Russia, I went to school and I have many friends there. Those friends are now silent – nobody called. People call from all over the world, Jews and non-Jews, even Arabs call me from Israel and support me. When targeting terrorists, the Israeli army uses high-precision missiles so that, God forbid, civilians are not harmed. Here they hit us with "Grad" artillery, tanks, rockets, airstrikes – this is not a high-precision weaponry. What's going on? War! War! People, wake up, I beg you.
1/3/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
From an interview with CNN
It [Putin’s references to denazification of Ukraine] reminds me of World War II. It reminds me of a dictator who says I want to save my people, and therefore I’ll kill them. It reminds me of a person who says I want to save my people, and therefore I’ll kill others, who I think maybe want to do something bad to my people.
I have lived in Ukraine for 32 years. The Jewish community has blossomed in the last 30 years, since independence. We have Jewish schools, we have synagogues, the Government is there for us, we’re there for them, we are part of the society. The denazification should be taking place in Russia, not in Ukraine, and the Nazi who should be denazified is Vladimir Putin.
What they have been doing this last week? The first day, ok, they were attacking military objects, from Friday it went from a war against the Ukrainian army, to against the people. I’m not going to call it a genocide, because he’s just killing anybody indiscriminately, he doesn’t care what their genetics are, where they are coming from. He’s killing the people he said he wants to protect. He’s bombing Kharkiv, which has many Russian speaking people. Wasn’t he coming to save the Russian speaking people? He’s bombing these cities that have people who want to make the choice themselves, not have him help them make their choices.
All the stuff he says about democracy, denazification, its all the same propaganda. As a good friend of mine said, “how do you know Putin is lying? His lips are moving”.
Gd has awarded every person with the freedom of choice and it is also our responsibility, following the example of the Almighty, to make efforts to preserve the world. And this is achievable only if everyone, for their part, is focused on peace, and first of all thinks about the safety of people.
We see that only one thing can be opposed to disunity and conflict — solidarity and unity based on respect for neighbours and their rights. The word “peace” in Hebrew literally means “integrity”, peace is possible if there is a common understanding of basic moral values and there is a desire for a fair, equal treatment of all people.
The peoples of Russia and Ukraine are not simply united by a common centuries-old history, common victories and common times of sorrow and disaster. But more than that, we are mentally close to each other. At the level of horizontal connections, at the level of communication of ordinary people, we do not need translation, the similarity of our vision of things and understanding of the foundations of life is not artificially cultivated, but in a fundamental sense – related.
And that is why the Jewish communities of the former USSR never knew what separation and borders were. We have always felt like a united community, and at the moment we feel it even more sharply. At such a time, the main task of religious organizations is humanitarian assistance and spiritual support for those in need. In this regard, the Jewish community strengthens charitable programs and is ready to support all good public initiatives.
We also have a special duty to pray for the prevention of further casualties and for the speedy return of balance in international relations.
All Jewish communities are praying for peace these days!
May our prayer be heard by the Almighty and He bless all the peoples of the Earth, and also send understanding and opportunities for a peaceful resolution of events!
As-Salamu aleikum, dear Ukrainians! Dear brothers and sisters!
In this difficult time, I urge all of you to protect Ukraine from Russian armed aggression. Those of you who can be warriors, join the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, the territorial defense battalions. And those who cannot be warriors, volunteer and help the army. Only together we will withdraw aggression and liberate the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbass. In our unity and joint efforts, the path to a strong, free prosperous Ukraine.
Muslim warriors have been writing to me today, some already called from military units, others heading there and asking for prayer for them and their families back home.
I appeal to the Muslims of Ukraine, and urge as in 2014 to stand side by side with all Ukrainians, and to be the only unbreakable rock of Ukrainian defense. We are the only Ukrainian nation, we have one country on all, and one native land under the feet on which our children walk. The life, dignity and property of a Muslim are inseperable. And no one has the right to deprive us of our land, our freedom, and our country. To the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him!) a man came and asked: what should I do if a criminal with a weapon comes to take away what is mine? The Prophet of Islam said: you take weapons and defend yourself!
Brothers and sisters, I urge you to defend Ukrainian statehood and independence, and to support the armed forces and all our defenders. With the help of the Almighty Allah, we will win! Truth and justice are with us!
May the Almighty Allah be gracious to Ukraine and the whole Ukrainian people!
23/02/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Sometimes foreign journalists ask me how we will restore spiritual ties with the Muslim leaders of Russia. I answer “no way, it won't be”, me my Ukrainian dignity and my conscience will not allow me to stretch out my hand. Look how the major muftis of Russia approved the Kremlin's aggression against Ukraine, and without any hesitation blessed the bombing of all Ukraine, under which we are the Muslims of Ukraine
[Refers to statement posted below]. I think you all understand why there will be no reconciliation?
Dear brothers and sisters.
My name is sheikh Said Ismailov and I am the Mufti of the Religious Administration of Muslims of the Ukrainian Umma. And in this short video I appeal to Muslims all over the world.
Now Russia’s war against Ukraine is going to kill us, to kill our people, destroy our statehood, our freedom!
First, it is an unjust war of aggression, where Putin’s troops are killing civilians and destroying homes, killing women and children. I call on Muslims all over the world to be on our side. Support Ukraine, support it with funds, support with information, support the military. Help us do everything we can to stop and defeat Putin’s Russia, for Ukraine to emerge as a free and independent state, where Islam is a respected religion, where we have unheard of rights and freedoms, where the Muslims of Ukraine are completely free to practice Islam and are an organic part of our country.
Unlike the Russian invaders, where Muslims can do nothing, where Muslims are second class people, who the state and society treat disrespectfully.
And we are a European developed country, and the Muslims of Ukraine are a part of Ukraine.
Therefore, I urge Muslims all over the world to be on our side and help and support Ukraine with everything you can help us with: information, prayers, money, and the provision of everything you have. I ask you to be on the side of justice for the sake of Allah Almighty.
Dear brothers and sisters, Assalamu Alaykum.
07/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Statement regarding shelling of Mariupol mosque
Right now, Russian monsters are demolishing the mosque of Sultan Suleiman and Roxolani in Mariupol. In the basement of the mosque there are about 80 Muslims with children, mostly citizens of Turkey. We can’t get through to them, and we don’t know what condition they are in. We pray to Allah that everyone can survive!
This is one of the new most beautiful mosques of Ukraine. I was at its opening, and in 2014, after leaving Donetsk, I was a month imam in this mosque. May God punish the thieves who raised their weapons in the place of peace and prayers! They have neither humanity nor morality.
12/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Statement regarding position of Russian Muslim leaders
So I'll answer this one more time:
I do not consider people who have blessed and supported the killing of women, children and anyone on our Ukrainian land to be spiritual leaders. They have forever shamed themselves by supporting outright injustice, sin and violence. They know that dozens of authoritative Muslim sheikhs and muftis from Europe to al-Azhar condemned Russian aggression and the killing of Ukrainians. They can't not know this. Therefore, the choice of these Russian characters is completely conscious, they deliberately turned to the side of crime and are accomplices to what is happening.
The Holy Quran says: “And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, "Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” (Quran 4:75). Reading this verse reminds one of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Sumy, Chernihiv, Bucha, Irpin, Kiev and other cities and villages of Ukraine.
In this verse, the Almighty Allah urges the believers to stand up for the protection of the oppressed, and allows believers from around the world to fight defending the victims of aggression. But the Russian so-called "spiritual leaders" on the contrary turned on the side of the aggressor and murderers, and their faith allowed them not only to be cowardly silent, but even to approve this genocide of the Ukrainian people, including us – the Muslims of Ukraine, who stood in the protection of our beloved homeland. Understanding that this is their conscious position – we have nothing to call these muftis, they have made their choice, and they themselves will be responsible for it before Almighty Allah. I have informed them that they are doing zulm (sin and injustice). And when I am asked how we will restore spiritual ties with Russian Muslim leaders, I answer – no way, we don't need any ties with their so-called "spirituality". The blood and death of dead Ukrainians lay between us, and Muslims differ in principle, I will not infringe upon my Ukrainian dignity by extend my hand to them.
16/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
Today I made a phone call from an area of the Kiev region, where it is very unsafe, to an 87-year-old Tatar woman. She said that she is dying, can't get out of bed and can't move. She asked a young man, who also lives there, to wrap her in a blanket and bury her after her death. She asked me to promise that after the territory is liberated, I would bury her with prayers in a Muslim cemetery. I agreed.
To the Russian Muftis who have approved this attack on our country, I will send you all a photograph of this woman.
Interview with Ukrainian newspaper
You have already mentioned that you hold prayers for soldiers. And what is the situation with mosques in other regions of Ukraine, where fighting is currently taking place?
Three mosques were shelled: in Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region, after that a mosque in Mariupol was damaged, and then a mosque in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, was shelled. At the moment I do not know what is happening in Kharkiv with our mosques, of which there were several. Imams from our mosques were gathered in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk region. They were abducted for two days, then handcuffed to the Luhansk Cathedral Mosque and forced to renounce further cooperation with our spiritual administration, and recognize subordination to Russian spiritual administration. And they posted the news on many resources that the communities of the so-called "L/DNR" are now coming under the control of the Moscow Spiritual Administration.
Did they agree?
Who would not agree if they were kept there for about two days? You see, people are all people.
The main muftis of Russia approved the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Have you tried to contact them and explain what is really going on?
No, I did not even try to contact them. I know Russian reality very well. Absolutely all [Russian] muftis are controlled by the FSB, it's no secret to me. And when the war broke out, I addressed the Muslims of Russia in Russian. For this I was accused of extremism. But it doesn't matter. When our women and children are killed, when they try to destroy our country, there is no sentimentality in the war and no diplomatic courtesy. The enemy must be called an enemy and be fought on all fronts: information, armed, economic and, including spiritual. The Russian muftis were once again gathered on March 16 in the North Caucasus, and they signed a new petition in which they fully approve of Putin's Russian policy in the sense of war against Ukraine. They signed and blessed it.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that Russia is hiring people in the Middle East for the war against Ukraine. How do you view the actions of Muslims who agree to this?
Extremely negative. I also appealed to Muslims in the Middle East and around the world. I said that they would be on the side of sin, crime and injustice if they agreed to it. I tried to convey objective information about what was happening. I warned that if they sided with the aggressor, it would mean that they would be in favour of sin, violence, death and murder.
Was there any reaction to this appeal?
Yes, many Muslim TV channels from all over the world asked me to comment on what was really happening. There is strong Russian propaganda and the Arabic-speaking Russian channel has been broadcasting its propaganda to Muslim countries for many years. And many people believe that.
Will you stay in Kyiv until the victory?
To victory. And if necessary, I will go to the border. I am one of the members of the battalion and generally thought that I would be needed as a warrior, not a spiritual figure. Therefore – only to victory. And if necessary, then continue.
Caption of photograph of Ukrainian stamps featuring sunk Russian warship "Moskva"
Bought stamps, will write letters to Russian muftis that approved the war against Ukraine and called it jihad. I will send through third countries to reach the address.
Interview with RBC - Ukraine
Many prominent and influential figures, Russian muftis - have spoken out in support of Russian aggression against Ukraine, they call us "Nazis" and so on. The vast majority of them, or is there still an internal split and some leaders are silent or stand for us?
There were religious figures who were silent. And even when they were gathered for these conferences – the last of which took place on March 16 in Vladikavkaz - they also remained silent, did not speak and did not make any statements. There are muftis who remained silent, but did not oppose.
There were a number of prominent Muslim figures, including Mufti Talgat Tajuddin, Russia's supreme mufti and head of Russia's Central Spiritual Administration, Salah Mezhiev, Mufti of Chechnya, Albir Krganov, and others, who openly support, bless, and call on Russian Muslims against Ukraine.
Some agreed that they called it "jihad" – that it was allegedly a war on the path of Allah Almighty against Ukraine. This topic is constantly pedaled by the Mufti of Chechnya, who was not even ashamed and wrote a personal appeal against me personally for eight minutes, where he said that he does not know me and does not want to know that I am such an "impostor" and so on. But it's all funny to me.
The fact is? They know perfectly well and monitor what is happening here. And, we can say, react to it. At the very beginning of the war, mufti supporters of the war spoke separately. And then they were gathered on March 16. They continue to repeat the same rhetoric: they say that it is necessary to go to war with Ukraine and that Muslims who are at war with Ukraine are allegedly carrying out jihad.
Those who are silent and do not take part in anything – their insignificant minority. And nobody spoke against.
The fact is that immediately after Putin's first presidency, in the 2000s, the process of taking control of all Muslim clergy in Russia was launched. Now all the muftis there are either FSB officers or cooperate with the FSB. In any case, they are under strict control. And they continue the Kremlin's political line.
Everyone is trying to please the authorities, as you said – run in front of the locomotive. They make statements that are absolutely absurd from the point of view of Islam. For example, that Russia's war against Ukraine is a jihad, that it is a war waged for the sake of Allah Almighty.
This is absolutely complete insanity. In the Muslim world, many authoritative spiritual leaders have not simply condemned Russia's aggression – they have sided with Ukraine. It turns out that Russian Muslim leaders, in expressing such a position, are not simply contradicting the Muslim world – they are in fact distorting Islam. Because they replace the notion of just war, just protection from aggression with some slogans that they must liberate Ukraine from "Nazis", "fascists", "Bandera" and others.
At the same time, I think they understand perfectly well that they are lying. But they all want to serve the authorities and show their maximum loyalty and usefulness. At the same time, they are fulfilling the task of mobilizing the Muslim population for this war.
Note that now, at least during the conditional first stage of the war, from February 24 to today, the main "cannon fodder" are not the central regions of Russia. The most dead are Dagestan. They throw most people from the Far East, Dagestan, Tatarstan, Buryatia. That is, it is the outskirts of Russia, where the standard of living is low, where the population is poorly educated and low-income.
And if we take purely Muslim regions like the North Caucasus, then there, of course, the word of the spiritual leader is authoritative. Therefore, when the mufti declares and convinces the believers that they are waging a good war for the sake of Allah Almighty, people from some mountain villages in some Rutul or Tabasaran districts think to themselves: "once the mufti said – he can not talk nonsense."
Therefore, they play a mobilizing role. They persuade ordinary believers to sign contracts, go to war, motivate them to do "good deeds" and so on.
The fact is that in the Arab-Muslim world, we, unfortunately, see great sympathy and support for Russia. And all these videos are designed exclusively for Muslim audiences. I'm even sure it's being shot to show in Arab countries – in Iran, in Pakistan, in Syria. To show: "Look, the Muslims of Russia are so religious, so right, they are fighting here with these nationalists and fascists – Ukrainians." All this is exalted in this way.
And this is a protrusion of their religiosity – it is not because they are really so religious. And because they need to remove content that will be aimed at the Arab-Muslim world in order for Russia to have support there and be able to pursue its policies there, to support it in the international arena, to fund, help circumvent sanctions, admire Russia as a country, which opposes America.
In principle, in the Muslim world, all this is presented not as Russia's war against Ukraine, but as a war against America. And Ukraine was simply unlucky to be on the battlefield. Therefore, if we talk to the media of Muslim countries, they do not consider us a subject at all, they say that Russia's war against America is taking place on our territory. And when you start explaining to them that there are no Americans here, Ukrainians are fighting here, we are defending our homeland, they say that this is all nonsense and that they are allegedly using us.
And, of course, the opinion and desire of Ukrainians themselves to have their own statehood, to pursue their own policies, to have their own point of view are not taken into account at all. Russian propaganda has long dispelled the idea in Arab-Muslim countries that all of these countries can be neglected. And in this case I am talking not only about Ukraine. The same with Georgia, the same with Moldova, the Baltic countries, and now even Poland and beyond.
For example, the situation in Syria. It is a country torn apart by years of civil war. There is an independent committee of Muslim scholars, which recorded a separate video appeal in support of Ukraine. And the official mufti of Syria, who is supported by the Assad regime, stands for Russia and categorically against Ukraine.
That is, we have a situation where there are popular religious leaders in exile in the country, and from abroad, with the support of the masses, they express their position and the Syrians listen to them. And the official mufti supports the line of power and makes his statements on behalf of the people he does not represent.
Many Muslim leaders, Sheikh Karadaghi, Sheikh Didu, this Syrian committee, Sheikh al-Azhara, and even Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran, have spoken out in support of Ukraine. In fact, all educated, intelligent people understand what is happening. But there are official, as in Russia, religious figures who will voice the position that the government will say.
Turkey is the only country in the Muslim world that has always consistently supported Ukraine. But Turkey has its own interests. Therefore, Turkey will not sever diplomatic relations with Russia, will not quarrel, will not close air services, it will receive Russian tourists.
Everyone has their own interests, and they will, of course, bargain in case, with the support of Ukraine, they also want to get something.
This war acquired an ontological character. There can be no compromise in this war, here is one of two: either they will destroy our statehood and us as a people, or we will destroy them. If we do not defeat Russia, it will gather strength and attack again in a year or two.
If we do not survive, they will simply destroy us. Any sensible person, looking at footage from Mariupol, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Okhtyrka and other cities that are being destroyed, will understand that they do not care – it's women, children, the elderly – they just kill people. One should not think that with other regions of Ukraine, if the boots of a Russian soldier get there, it will be different. The farther west, the harder. All the central and western regions of Ukraine will be destroyed with terrible fury and hatred.
Look at what they did with eastern Ukraine, which has always been more pro-Russian than central or western, spoke Russian and voted for pro-Russian politicians - that didn't stop them from being completely destroyed. And if they move further west, the scale of the extermination of the Ukrainian population will only increase.
Prayer on the 27th night of Ramadan, the night of power
This year I urge all Muslims to pray for victory in the war with Russia, for the release of all occupied territories, for God's protection for all Ukrainian soldiers, for quick recovery for all wounded, for the mercy of God to the dead, for the quick punishment of occupants and a quick disgraceful defeat for them, for eternal shame for all the collaborators, for the collapse of the Russian economy and statehood, and for the forgiveness of all our sins.
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful!
Dear brothers and sisters! Dear compatriots! The Almighty
Creator addresses all mankind: Do not commit wickedness and violence on earth, take care of peace and order, do good! With pain in the soul and heart we perceive everything that happens in these moments. As a mufti and a believer, I deeply empathize with everyone and lift up my prayers for peace and tranquillity. Islam is a religion of peace, friendship and equality of all nations.
We urge you to do everything possible to avoid casualties. Russian Muslims have always stood for the preservation of people's lives, for the prosperity of our peoples and states.
Dear brothers and sisters!
I urge you to maintain unity and calmness, to rally around the prayer for peace, to ask the Almighty to save lives and restore fraternal ties between peoples.
We ask the Almighty to prevent the most terrible scenario – a full-scale war! In this regard, I call on all religious figures, imams of mosques and religious communities, as well as the entire Muslim ummah, during the Friday service, to turn to the Almighty Creator with a prayer for peace and tranquillity!
I call on all of you, dear compatriots, to pray for peace and the preservation of human lives, to remain reasonable, to use every opportunity to help refugees and all those in need in these difficult times.
And may the Lord of the worlds keep us all!
We do not want war and we pray for peace. I am sure that our prayers will be heard by the Lord, and politicians will sit down at the negotiating table.
The West has built a world that it considers the only possible global world order, and does not hear Russia. The duty of the President is to preserve the unity, integrity and security of Russia. The West hoped that the imposed sanctions would turn the people away from the President, but it turns out the opposite – the people rally in his support.
Central Spiritual Board of Muslims of Russia
For 30 years, Russia has been treated with cynical deceit and lies, with attempts to pressure and blackmail, while shamelessly expanding the presence of the military machine of the North Atlantic Alliance, which, despite all the concerns and protests from the Russian side, has steadily advanced and continues to move close to the borders of the Russian states.
In this regard, on behalf of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, 20 Regional Spiritual Administrations and more than 2,200 communities and parishes as part of the Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Russia, millions of Russian Muslims, in unity and solidarity with the vast majority of followers of the traditional confessions of our vast Motherland and all Russians, we fully share the assessment the situation in the Donbass, as stated at the last meeting of the Security Council of Russia.
With full understanding of the clear and frank appeal of the President of our united state, which has united 193 peoples large and small for centuries, we sincerely support the decision to conduct a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine to protect the population, demilitarize and eliminate the threat of the revival of Nazism in this long-suffering region, accepting these steps as key security measures for Russia itself.
Mufti Salah Mezhidov, of Chechnya
"The war in Ukraine is jihad, and those who participate in it (on the side of Russia) fight in the way of Allah."
Dear brothers and sisters, Ukrainian people!
Unfortunately, the efforts of many people around the world, as well as of our Council, to prevent the outbreak of war have not been a success. There was an unprovoked attack by Russia and Belarus on Ukraine.
In these circumstances, we urge you to remain calm, not to give in to panic, and to comply with the orders of the Ukrainian state and military authorities. "The truth and the international community are on the side of Ukraine. We believe that with God’s help, good will prevail!"
We support the Armed Forces of Ukraine and all our defenders, bless them for defending Ukraine from the aggressor, and offer our prayers for them.
We appeal to the religious and political leaders of the world – now do everything possible to stop the aggressor’s offensive in Ukraine.
We ask God to bless our people in this bitter time of trials.
Statement of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations on the shelling by the Russian invaders of civilian objects in Ukraine
Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale military invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine, we are seeing first-hand how Russian invaders resort to the most cynical and prohibited by international humanitarian law methods of warfare. In fact, Russia is waging a war against the civilian population of Ukraine, as it purposefully fires ballistic missiles, including from the territory of Belarus, and conducts air raids at residential areas, schools, kindergartens, maternity hospitals, hospitals, and critical infrastructure facilities that are necessary to ensure the life of the civilian population, sometimes with the use of prohibited cluster and vacuum ammunition.
Blatant examples of unjustified cruelty and unrestrained aggression of the Russian invaders are the shelling of humanitarian corridors, evacuation buses, and even ambulances. The disdainful attitude of the Russian leadership towards human life, which we see in regard to Russian soldiers who were thrown into the jaws of the war of conquest, is now manifested in relation to the civilian population of Ukraine, which is forced to escape from Russian missiles and occupiers, migrating to safer regions of our country and to neighbouring states of the European Union.
Moreover, Russia's military attack on Ukraine is accompanied not only by shelling and bombing of peaceful infrastructure and residential buildings but also of churches. As an example, in the village of V'yazivka, in Zhytomyr Oblast, the Russian invaders destroyed the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, built in 1862. As a result of Russia's shelling of the centre of Kharkiv on March 2, the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was damaged. On March 7, Russian shells hit the prayer house of the "New Life" Evangelical Church in the city of Izyum, Kharkiv region – the church building was completely destroyed. After the shelling, an Orthodox Church caught fire in the village of Zavorychi, Brovars'kyi district, Kyiv Oblast.
From various fronts of the Russian invasion, there are reports of shelling of churches, even those where refugees have been sheltering. Even the immense spiritual shrine, the St. Sophia's Cathedral of Kyiv, is under threat of an attack.
With this in mind, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations once again calls on NATO, as a security partner of Ukraine, the UN, the European Union, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe to take urgent measures to introduce a no-fly zone over Ukraine and to provide the Armed Forces of Ukraine with modern air defense equipment, including fighter planes, in order to protect our greatest value – human lives and civilian infrastructure – from barbaric shelling and bombing by Russian invaders.
08/03/2022 (Source. Edited for clarity)
If the army of the Republic of Belarus joins the war against Ukraine, an avalanche of suffering will descend upon thousands of Belarusian families who will no longer see their husbands, fathers, and brothers alive and well. The spilled blood and taken innocent lives of peaceful citizens of Ukraine will become an eternal condemnation for all those who is now justifying the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and advocating for the Republic of Belarus to join it.
It is especially painful to realize that missile and bomb strikes on peaceful Ukrainian cities in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Rivne, and other regions, as well as the invasion of Russian Ground Forces on the sovereign territory of Ukraine, are taking place from the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Next, even more cynical and cruel step can be an attempt to directly involve the Belarusian army in the war against Ukraine on the side of Russia as a terrorist state.
Appeal about the necessity of the introduction of a no-fly zone over Ukraine and the response to humanitarian disasters in select regions
Millions of civilians of different nationalities and faiths who lived peacefully in Ukraine are facing a humanitarian catastrophe caused by Russia's military invasion, air and missile strikes on residential areas, food warehouses, hospitals, maternity hospitals, schools, and other critical infrastructure facilities in Ukrainian cities.
As a result, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, at least 82 children have been killed and more than 100 children have been injured. Russian troops damaged or destroyed more than 200 schools, 30 hospitals, and 1,500 residential buildings, including apartment buildings, and these numbers continue to increase.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians were besieged by Russian troops in the Kyiv region, Mariupol and Volnovakha in Donetsk region, without food, water, medical care, and other means of subsistence. At least 2187 civilians have already become the victims of the Russian blockade in Mariupol – they were killed as a result of constant shelling, including during attempts to evacuate through pre-agreed humanitarian corridors.
Since there is nothing more valuable than human life, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations repeatedly calls on world leaders, OSCE member states, the EU, and NATO to take urgent measures to introduce a no-fly zone over the territory of Ukraine or to provide the Ukrainian army with modern air defence systems and fighter jets that can protect Ukrainian civilians from regular bombing and missile strikes by the Russian invaders.
In addition, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations appeals to the leadership of the Russian Federation, international organizations, church hierarchs, and religious figures of the peoples of Russia to take urgent measures to organize humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of residents of Ukrainian cities and towns from areas where active hostilities continue to safe places of their own choice, as well as the immediate exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine.
We emphasize once again that in order to avoid any provocations, the evacuation of the civilian population through humanitarian corridors can be carried out by civilian volunteers and ministers of Churches and religious organizations, either accompanied by Ukrainian police officers or without their participation.
Even in times of the greatest upheavals, wars, and disputes, we must not forget about humanity and mercy. Each of us must do everything possible to preserve human life and establish peace through negotiations.
Appeal to the Russian religious leaders and clergy regarding prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine as a manifestation of mercy
The whole world now sees what tragic events are taking place in Ukraine as a result of the invasion of the Russian army on the sovereign territory of our state. Despite this, the Armed Forces of Ukraine show humanity towards captured Russian soldiers: they receive medical care, food, water and are kept in warm rooms.
With this attitude, the Ukrainian army proves that it adheres to the norms of international humanitarian law. Ukraine seeks to end the war and bloodshed which is possible as soon as Russian troops and fleets return to their permanent bases, and aircraft and ballistic missiles stop destroying peaceful cities and villages in Ukraine.
On your part, as people of faith and endowed with the spiritual authority of religious leaders, each of you can contribute to saving the lives of people caught in the jaws of this terrible war. First of all, make every possible effort to enable the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine as an expression of mercy.
The Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations calls on every religious leader and clergymen in the Russian Federation to facilitate the return of captured Russian soldiers to their families, and Ukrainian soldiers to their own.
And May the All-Merciful Lord help us in this act of good!
Appeal on the provision of air defence for Ukraine and humanitarian corridors for the rescue of civilians
In more than a month of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine, at least 153 children were killed, and more than 245 children were wounded. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have already suffered from constant Russian bombing and missiles aimed at residential areas.
Russian troops shelled about 859 educational institutions, 83 of which were completely destroyed. The bombing also destroyed at least 100 manufacturing plants, 150 healthcare facilities, and 4,500 residential buildings, including apartment buildings, and these figures continue to increase. The UN has recorded dozens of incidents of bombing and missile attacks that have damaged medical facilities, including 50 hospitals.
As a result, millions of civilians of different nationalities and faiths who lived peacefully in Ukraine now face a humanitarian catastrophe caused by Russia's military invasion. The situation is particularly complicated by the shelling of food warehouses and convoys with humanitarian aid, as well as the blockade of a number of Ukrainian cities, which the Russian invaders are resorting to. Thousands of people in the Kyiv region and tens of thousands of people in Mariupol, Donetsk region, are still under blockade by Russian troops without food, water, medical care, and other means of subsistence.
Almost 5,000 civilians have already become the victims of the Russian blockade in Mariupol – they were killed as a result of constant shelling, including during attempts to evacuate through pre-agreed humanitarian corridors. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions are currently under constant shelling, bombing, and missile attacks.
Every human life is an extraordinary value, therefore, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations repeatedly calls on world leaders, OSCE member states, the EU, and NATO to take urgent measures to introduce a no-fly zone over the territory of Ukraine or to provide the Ukrainian army with modern air defense systems and fighter jets that can protect Ukrainian civilians from regular bombing and missile strikes by the Russian invaders.
In addition, the UCCRO appeals to the leadership of the Russian Federation, international organizations, church hierarchs, and religious figures of the peoples of Russia ‒ to take urgent measures to stop the blockade of Mariupol, Berdyansk, Kherson, and other cities of Ukraine and to organize humanitarian corridors in order to evacuate residents of Ukrainian cities and towns from areas where active hostilities are taking place to safe places of their own choosing.
Even in times of the greatest upheavals, wars, and disputes, we must not forget about humanity and mercy. Each of us must do everything possible to preserve human life and end this Ukrainian-hating war of aggression launched by Russia as soon as possible.
Statement regarding the facts of the genocide of the Ukrainian people, committed by Russian troops in the Kyiv region
Entire Ukraine and the whole world were horrified by the numerous facts of cruelty and inhuman brutality that Russian soldiers committed against innocent civilians in the captured cities of the Kyiv region. The month of temporary occupation of Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel, and surrounding villages by the Russian troops led not only to the large-scale destruction of beautiful newly built residential areas, playgrounds, hospitals, and other social infrastructure but also to the total destruction of the civilian population of the region.
In recent days, in Bucha, liberated from Russian invaders, 15 people were found shot in the head with their hands tied on one of the streets alone. There is evidence of Russian soldiers tormenting Ukrainian women and even children who, after collective rapes, including in front of their relatives, were shot and abandoned in mass graves or just on the streets. Hundreds and possibly even thousands, of innocent Ukrainians, were tortured and killed in a few weeks of Russian occupation.
Such a terrible, bloody trail of the Russian occupiers on the Ukrainian land, as well as the support of their humanity-hating actions by their mothers, wives, and the general public in Russia, is evidence of a complete distortion of the worldview and moral degradation of the Russian society. The war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine are a convincing argument in favour of comprehensive and non-exclusive sanctions against the Russian economy in all its sectors, and should finally encourage world leaders, NATO, and the EU to provide Ukraine with all the necessary weaponry to defeat Russia as a terrorist state, including air defence systems, fighter jets, lethal offensive weapons, tanks, and anti-ship missiles.
The whole world should realize that this is not a “Ukrainian crisis”, it is not even a “war of Russia against Ukraine” – it is a war of humanity, moral values, virtue with concentrated evil that has a satanic fascist nature. The cult of war and chauvinism have been celebrated in Russian society for decades – they began to worship the war, built a temple dedicated to it in Moscow, and with the slogan "We can repeat it" justifies new sacrifices to its bloody idol.
Now every state in the world should not remain silent! Every state in the world should recognize the genocide of the Ukrainian people during the Russian invasion in 2022 and condemn the ideology of the "Russkiy Mir" as one that is justifying the genocide of peoples and the destruction of entire states.
We offer prayers for the eternal peace of all innocent residents of Ukraine who were killed in the Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy regions, in Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Melitopol, Berdyansk, and other cities where the Russian invaders encroached. We pray for the complete victory of Ukraine over this evil, for the defeat of the Russian occupation forces, the overthrow of the humanity-hating regime in Russia, and the eye-opening and repentance of Russian citizens blinded by propaganda.
Appeal regarding safety during religious holidays
This year, according to the Western church calendar, Christians celebrate Easter on April 17, and according to the Eastern church calendar, on April 24. From the evening of April 15 to the evening of April 23, Jews celebrate Passover. Until the end of April, Muslims celebrate the fasting month of Ramadan.
As representatives of the religious community of Ukraine, we appeal to stop the shelling of cities and villages in Ukraine and to slow down offensive hostilities, at least for the duration of the sacred days for all three religions.
We are convinced that if there is a desire and goodwill, the Russian side, within the framework of the ongoing negotiation process and in contact with competent representatives of Ukraine, could reach agreements that would provide civilians of Ukraine the opportunity to meet and celebrate the next sacred days without shelling and risk to their lives.
May the Almighty God inspire with wisdom and mercy all those on whom the solution of this issue depends.
Appeal to Russian religious figures on the evacuation of civilians and wounded defenders of Mariupol from Azovstal
Currently, tens of thousands of civilians in Mariupol are on the verge of survival. Many of them have found shelter at the Azovstal plant, where they are hiding from constant shelling and bombing. Among them are children, women, and the elderly, as well as many sick and wounded people who need urgent medical care. They do not have food, water, hygiene products, and necessary medicines due to the lack of a humanitarian corridor and the impossibility of evacuation. Their lives can end at any moment if nobody stand up for them right now!
The Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations calls on every Russian religious figure, regardless of confessional affiliation, to make public and non-public requests to the Russian authorities to organize the evacuation of civilians and wounded defenders of Mariupol from the Azovstal plant.
Their exit will take place under the control of an international mission throughout the entire process, up to the delivery of people to the territory controlled by Ukraine. At the same time, Ukrainian defenders can be exchanged for captured Russian soldiers and other persons detained for anti-Ukrainian activities.
On these holy days for most believers – the celebration of Easter, Passover, and Ramadan – we call on everyone to make every possible effort to save the lives of thousands of civilians in Mariupol who are under blockade and need immediate evacuation!
APPEAL OF THE PRIESTS OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH FOR RECONCILIATION AND AN END TO THE WAR
We, the priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church, each in our own name, appeal to everyone on whom the cessation of the fratricidal war in Ukraine depends, with a call for reconciliation and an immediate ceasefire.
We send this appeal after Last Judgment Sunday and on the eve of Forgiveness Sunday.
The Last Judgment awaits every person. No earthly authority, no doctors, no guards can protect one from this judgment. In our concern for the salvation of every person who considers himself a child of the Russian Orthodox Church, we do not want them to appear at this judgment bearing the heavy burden of this mother's curses. We remind you that the Blood of Christ, shed by the Saviour for the life of the world, will be received in the sacrament of Communion by those people who give murderous orders, not into life, but into eternal torment.
We mourn the trial that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are being undeservedly subjected to.
We remind you that the life of every person is a priceless and unique gift of God, and therefore we wish the return of all soldiers – both Russian and Ukrainian – to their homes and families, safe and sound.
We bitterly think about the abyss that our children and grandchildren in Russia and Ukraine will have to overcome in order to once again begin to be friends with each other, respect and love each other.
We respect the God-given freedom of man, and we believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice on their own, not at gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East.
In anticipation of Forgiveness Sunday, we remind you that the gates of paradise are opened to anyone, even a serious sinner person, if he asks for forgiveness from those whom he humiliated, insulted and despised, or from those who were killed by his hands or at his orders. There is no other way but forgiveness and mutual reconciliation.
“The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground; and now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive the blood of your brother from your hand,” God said to Cain, who was envious of his younger brother. Woe to every person who realizes that these words are addressed to him personally.
No non-violent call for peace and an end to war should be forcibly suppressed and considered as a violation of the law, for such is the divine commandment: "Blessed are the peacemakers."
We call on all warring parties to dialogue, because there is no other alternative to violence. Only the ability to hear the other can give hope for a way out of the abyss into which our countries were thrown in just a few days.
Let yourself and all of us enter Great Lent in the spirit of faith, hope and love.
Stop the war.
Priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church who wish to sign the letter can write to email@example.com
(The letter has been signed by 278 priests and deacons by 5/3/2022. The full list can be seen on the original website. There is no date on the letter.)
Russian Church Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostals
RCCEF leadership address to all churches
Recent events in Russia and Ukraine have shown how quickly things can change and how fragile the world in which we live can be. Many processes are so intertwined, affecting the destinies of brotherly peoples, that it inevitably echoes in our hearts with pain.
Jesus Christ affirms that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, therefore let our hearts and lips lift up in prayer to the God of peace, mercy and order, crying out according to His will, in the hope of His answers.
We call all the faithful of the Russian Church Christians of the Evangelical Faith Pentecostal to heartfelt prayer with fasting. Because God is looking for those who would stand “in the breach for this earth”. We have something to present with our hearts and lips before His Heaven.
From February 27 to March 31, 2022, we declare a fasting and prayer marathon.
Let us pray and fast:
1. That those on whom peace depends may see these ways and bring peace to the nations. Let us remember that the hearts of kings and rulers are in His hand (Proverbs, ch. 21, v. 1).
2. For the willingness of the churches to sacrificially serve the afflicted.
3. For a deeper understanding of the purpose of the Church of Christ “to be light and salt”.
“My heart says of you, ‘Seek my face’; and I will seek your face, O Lord.”
(Psalm 26, verse 8)
With prayers, Bishop Eduard Grabovenko and members of RCCEF Board