New York and Chișinău, February 25, 2022
Several more hierarchs have issued statements on the Russian military operations in Ukraine.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, calls on his flock to disconnect from the media and to focus our efforts on prayer, given the approach of Lent and the military operations.
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 do 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.
His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Chișinău of the Moldovan Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) also wrote yesterday:
Dear compatriots, beloved faithful of the Orthodox Church of Moldova,
This morning we all heard the sad news about the bombings in neighboring Ukraine.
Throughout the day, we received dozens of messages from believers who told us about their panic and fear.
Peace is above all. Misunderstandings between peoples must be resolved peacefully. Orthodox Christians, regardless of nationality or political orientation, must unite in the spirit of peace and love.
We pray to the merciful God, the Lord of peace, justice and love, to give peace-making wisdom to all political leaders responsible for settling this armed conflict.
Let us all pray for a good understanding between the peoples, being in deep prayer with those who are suffering.
A statement was also issued yesterday by His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna and the other hierarchs and the Archdiocesan Council of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe:
Until recently a war between Russia and Ukraine, neighboring countries sharing a common history and where a significant part of the population confesses the same Orthodox faith, seemed impossible. Metropolitan John and the Archdiocesan Council express their dismay at the dramatic situation created by the invasion and the military operations that accompany it. They deplore the loss of life and the resulting suffering.
They express their solidarity and union of prayer with their Orthodox brothers and sisters in Russia and Ukraine drawn into this conflict.
They invite all the parishes and the faithful of the Archdiocese to remain united and to raise their prayers for all the victims of this conflict and for the return to peace in Ukraine.
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens of the Church of Greece writes:
I am deeply shocked and my thoughts and prayers are directed to our Ukrainian brothers, especially to the young children and the elderly who are experiencing the horrors of war, and of course to the thousands of our compatriots in the country.
In fact, I have to tell you that I was shocked as a human and as a cleric, seeing the image of a small child tearfully saying that he doesn’t want to die and that he wants this war to end as soon as possible, but also the image of a father tearfully saying goodbye to his daughter and wife who are leaving in search of a safe haven.
So I hope and pray that this war will end now, that prudence and logic will prevail and that it will be understood that all issues can be settled and resolved through dialogue and conciliation and never by force.
Statements were also issued yesterday by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, and the hierarchs of the Finnish Orthodox Church, and His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington (OCA).
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