Sarny, Ukraine, December 7, 2018
In an appeal published on the website of the Diocese of Sarny and Polesia yesterday, His Eminence Metropolitan Anatoly called upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors who were detained by the Russian border service in the Kerch Strait incident on November 25.
His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail also appealed to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to intercede on the sailors’ behalves.
Met. Anatoly writes that he is making his appeal on behalf of the clergy and faithful of his diocese and on his own behalf, to release the sailors so they can celebrate the Nativity of Christ at home with their families.
“There is no family in Ukraine that would not be affected by this war. It is very painful to see the tears of young children who will never see their fathers again and it is difficult to find words of comfort for elderly parents who have lost their sons, many of whom I have personally buried,” His Eminence touchingly writes, adding that the people of Ukraine and Russia are exhausted by the war, which is only exacerbated by the incident in the Kerch Strait.
“I cannot give an assessment of political incidents, but my Christian duty, as a hierarch of the Orthodox Church, of the two neighboring peoples and states united by the one Christ, obliges me, as well as my Christian conscience, to sympathize with the suffering sailors and their families, and not to remain silent when people and their loved ones suffer, considering that one of the sailors comes from Polesie,” Met. Anatoly continues.
“This pain obliges me to appeal to you, Mr. President, with a request for the release of our sailors from captivity, so that they can celebrate the Nativity of Christ with their loving families,” the hierarch concludes, signing his letter “With hope in a positive result.”
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