Kiev, March 7, 2022
On Friday, March 4, with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, prayers for peace in Ukraine were offered in all churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at noon.
Met. Onuphry led a prayer for service in the Holy Trinity Church at the primate’s residence at the St. Panteleimon Convent in Kiev.
Following the service, His Beatitude spoke about the sorrowful situation in Ukraine, calling upon Russian President Vladimir Putin to “do everything to stop the war on Ukrainian soil!” He also called on both Russian and Ukrainian representatives to sit down together and resolve all differences by love, not the sword.
His address was published in English by the Chicago Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia:
In our entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we pray for peace in the Ukrainian land. To our great sadness, it is already the 9th day that the war continues on our land. Russian troops are fighting against Ukraine. This is the sadness that fills our hearts. People are dying—civilians are dying, children are dying. The earth was filled with weeping and sorrow. Refugees have nowhere to lay their heads. We pray that the Lord will have mercy on us.
Our holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church has always taught, desired, and preached love among peoples. We especially desired peace and harmony between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples. We wanted these peoples to live like good neighbors: in respect for each other, to have patience with each other, and with love. We were reviled for this and are still being reviled, they call us names with all sorts of obscenities and expressions. But we ignore these offenses. Even today we want the Russian people and the Ukrainian people to live peacefully among themselves.
Therefore, I appeal to the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and ask: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, do everything to stop the war on Ukrainian soil! War does not bring good to the people. War sheds blood. And blood separates people. You can do this, and we believe and hope you will do it. We ask that the days of Great Lent be peaceful for us, so that we may joyfully meet the bright feast of life—the feast of the Holy Resurrection of Christ.”
We know that there are problems between peoples, they are, they were, and they will be. But we have always defended such a point of view that we, as the creation of God, endowed with reason and speech must solve these problems with the help of an enlightened word.
We call on both sides, the Russian side and the Ukrainian side, to sit down at the negotiating table, so that all the problems that exist between us can be resolved—but not by the sword. The sword divides, but love unites. Let us tolerate each other, respect each other, love God and be united in God. This unity is something that no one and nothing can destroy. That unity which is achieved with the help of the sword is short-lived and precarious. This unity is solely human and decays. But the unity that is in God—this is eternal. I would like our peoples to have oneness in God, to have love for each other, and be united in God.
May the Lord bless us all!
His Beatitude has also called upon the Ukrainian faithful to read a chapter from the Gospels and to make three prostrations every day as a prayer for peace.