Kiev, March 11, 2022
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, issued another statement yesterday, again calling for an end to the war on Ukrainian land.
“War is the most terrible sin that exists in this world. It makes you look at another person not as an image of God, but as an enemy that needs to be destroyed. Therefore, there is no justification for those who start wars,” he affirms.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church ceaselessly prays for peace and for those who suffer, Vladyka emphasizes, and appealing to “Christian mercy,” he calls for the assurance of humanitarian corridors, the extradition of the wounded, and an exchange of prisoners. Met. Onuphry and Patriarch Kirill have been instrumental in arranging prisoner exchanges since the fighting in Donbas began in 2014.
Unfortunately, although the Ukrainian and Russian delegations have formally agreed to temporary ceasefires in order to facilitate civilian evacuation through humanitarian corridors, the Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly not allowed civilians to leave.
The Ukrainian primate’s statement reads:
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the Church of the Ukrainian people. It unites believers in the East and West, North and South of our country. It consists of people of different nationalities and different political persuasions. But we are all one in Christ. For more than 1000 years of its existence, our Church has always been and remains with its people.
Today, our country is going through a time of difficult trials caused by the attack on our country by the troops of the Russian Federation. In all the churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, we do not cease to offer fervent prayers for the speedy advent of peace and an end to the bloodshed. We consistently call for the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue. War is the most terrible sin that exists in this world. It makes you look at another person not as an image of God, but as an enemy that needs to be destroyed. Therefore, there is no justification for those who start wars.
Unfortunately, over these few days, a large number of civilians have died, including the elderly, women, and children; humanitarian infrastructure have been destroyed—hospitals, maternity hospitals, schools, orphanages; and the survivors are forced to leave their homes and even the country to save their lives, becoming refugees and migrants.
In this regard, in order to prevent even more victims and greater suffering for our people, we appeal to everyone upon whom it depends to provide real humanitarian corridors for the urgent evacuation of civilians from settlements located in the line of fire and to guarantee their safety.
Due to the hostilities, some Ukrainian servicemen, fulfilling their oath and duty to defend the motherland, were unfortunately wounded or captured. Therefore, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, taking care of its fellow citizens, asks to show human compassion and Christian mercy and organize the extradition of the wounded and the exchange of prisoners of war.
We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of His Most Pure Mother, will save our country and its God-loving people, and grant us the long-awaited peace.
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.