Minsk, February 25, 2022
His Eminence Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk and All Belarus has joined those hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the broader Orthodox Church who have issued statements following the launch of Russian military operations in Ukraine yesterday.
The Belarusian primate writes of how the Belarusian people are of one family with the Russians and Ukrainians and feel pain of heart at seeing fraternal peoples fighting.
Thus, he calls for increased prayer and reconciliation. He writes:
Dear brothers and sisters!
Our hearts are filled with sorrow and worrying these days. The conflict on Ukrainian land didn’t begin yesterday, but until recently there was hope for its peaceful resolution.
Those who stand against each other in combat positions today are often people related by blood, faith and spirit. Soldiers are dying on both sides, civilians are suffering.
Feeling as one family with Russians and Ukrainians, we share the pain of our brothers and sisters. The words of the Apostle Paul that our God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33) are especially important today. Only in reconciliation and the speedy cessation of combat can we look for a way out of the conflict that has arisen.
Just as there are times of trials in an ordinary family, contradictions and conflicts arise in the relations of fraternal peoples, which are sometimes very difficult to resolve. And the enemy of the human race especially rejoices when brother goes out against brother.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church calls to take steps towards each other. Let us remember our single Baptismal font, our common spiritual heritage, our saints.
In these days, it’s especially critical to turn to the words of the prayer of St. Silouan of Mt. Athos: “O Lord, grant Thy peace to Thy people. May all Thy peoples understand Thy love and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, that they might forget the sorrows of the earth, forsake all things evil, lovingly cling to Thee, and live in peace, fulfilling Thy will unto Thy glory.”
I call upon all the faithful children of our Church to pray fervently that peace might return to the Ukrainian land and that fraternal peoples might find a path to reconciliation and mutual forgiveness.
Statements have also been issued 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, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of Washington (OCA), His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR, His Eminence Metroplitan Vladimir of Moldova, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna, and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens.