Odessa, December 5, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail has appealed to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to assist in ensuring the release and sending home of the Ukrainian sailors who were detained by the Russian border service in the Kerch Strait incident on November 25.
“Only the Orthodox Church can become the sole link above the confrontation whose authoritative voice can be heard on both sides of the conflict,” His Eminence writes in his open letter that was published on the Odessa Diocesan website on December 3.
“In these difficult days, by God’s permission, our countries have entered a period of fiery trials that could provoke an unprecedented military conflict that could bring with it a huge number of human victims, destruction, suffering, grief, and tears,” the Ukrainian hierarch writes, noting that several of the 24 sailors are natives and residents of Odessa and the Odessa Province.
“Therefore, as the ruling hierarch of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, whose heart is filled with pain, sorrow, and constant concern for the flock entrusted to me by the Pastor Christ, prompted by the daily appeals to me by Odessans, I ask Your Holiness to hear the cries of mothers, the groans of wives and children, and the pain of relatives whose sons are in captivity, drawn into the political conflict, and to facilitate their speedy liberation,” Met. Agafangel fervently entreats.
“Your Holiness! I respectfully appeal to you with a request to raise your primate voice, to appeal to the leadership of the Russian Federation and all those who can influence a solution to this issue, with a request for the speedy return to their homeland of the detained Ukrainian sailors,” the metropolitan continues.
And with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he concludes: “I believe that the all-merciful Lord, Who arranges everything for good, will halt the emerging military storm and grant Ukraine the blessing of peace. This is our holy prayer.”
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