We can’t go wrong if we pray for everyone—Elder Zacharias comments on Ukraine

Essex, England, March 18, 2022

Photo: sttikhonsmonastery.org Photo: sttikhonsmonastery.org     

We don’t know everything about world events, and we don’t need to—we need only to pray for everyone and for God to grant peace to the whole world, says Elder Zacharias (Zacharou).

Fr. Zacharias, a longtime monk of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, was a spiritual child of the recently canonized St. Sophrony (Sakharov), and is widely respected as a God-bearing elder in his own right.

Asked by the Pemptousia outlet how to respond to the current political situation, the Elder called on all, especially monks and priests, to focus more on prayer than politics, and to refrain from judgment:

We do not know everything about the conflicts of this world, nor is it necessary to know. We just pray with a compassionate heart for the peace of the world and for all. We do not take sides, because each side will be responsible for crimes, and we do not want to share in these crimes and be condemned. If we pray for those who are more wrong than right, well, we perform the commandment to love even enemies. And if we pray for those who are more right than wrong, we do well. Therefore, we cannot go wrong if we pray that God save all and grant peace to the world.

Especially for us, priests and monks, it is very important not to be political at all, because we offer our sacrifice to God, the Holy Liturgy, for the whole world; and if we are for some and against others, our sacrifice is annulled. I think that when there is a war, the best is not to be judgmental, but to have compassion and pray that the Lord may spare all from suffering. If my Liturgy is to have any value, no one should be missing from my heart when I stand before the altar of God and say to Him, ‘Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee, in all and for all.

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Justina4/5/2022 6:08 pm
at last! some sanity!
Juan3/28/2022 11:09 am
Eugenie: For which words do you judge Pat. Kirill, and insist others do the same?
Eugenie3/28/2022 2:15 am
I come across this publication only now, but have seen it several times already elsewhere. What I see is that some people condemn Fr. Zacharias straight away, without knowing him nor his monastery, just because they belong to the Patriarchate of Constantinople... And the circumstances in which these words were uttered are not specified... This is not fair treatment. At the monastery, there is usually on Sunday afternoon a "talk" given by one of the spiritual fathers to those interested (community and guests). For the time being, there don't receive guests because of Covid, so this was an adress to the community, and more specifically, after the talk, THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION OF ONE OF THE PRIESTS OF THE MONASTERY about what stand they should adopt in those circumstances... And Fr Zacharias emphasized that, in order for the priest to celebrate the Liturgy and for the monks to participate, it is essential to keep one's purity of heart and PRAY FOR ALL, justs and sinners alike, and not to become too much involved in politics. This is just traditional Orthodox monastic teaching and, as all spiritual fathers do, referred to precise persons and their specific conditions of life... Ironically, here in Europe, this extract has been widely used by supporters of the MP to recommend to the faithful to keep quiet and not to judge Patriarch Kyrill for his own words !
George3/25/2022 12:07 am
Tyler, no problem, God bless and help you in your journey. Blessed Lent to you. George I: What you call "profound" others (myself included) would call misleading, incomplete and FALTERING! This is exactly the sort of Christianity that the atheists, globalists and satanists want us to adhere too. A weak, neutral, "never offending anyone" version. However, the phanar and his mafia have no problem offending, attacking, slandering and shaming ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS who dare disagree with their false gospel of humanism and Greek supremacy. The hypocrisy is shameful.
Tyler3/24/2022 1:43 pm
Forgive me. I've only been Orthodox 3 months and still have a lot to learn and old habits to break. By God's grace may I grow in understanding.
George Ioannou3/24/2022 10:17 am
Glory be to God! Father Zacharias, always inspires us spiritually and guides each individual according to his strength and understanding. What he has shared with us here is very profound!????????❤
George3/24/2022 4:18 am
You seem to be contradicting yourself. You earlier said that you agree with Fr. Zacharias, and then you went on to speak about alienating people because the truth may hurt them! This makes no sense. Your position is not consistent with the teachings of the church and the fact that you refuse to honor an Apostle of Jesus Christ by insisting on calling him by his first name as though he is your subordinate is very telling of the disposition of your heart. Fr. Zacharias is not speaking about scandalizing people, but about NOT TAKING SIDES! Has nothing to do with what you are saying! Again, he is saying not to take sides because both sides will stand "condemned" and you are saying not say anything because it could "scandalize" your friends! Two different things completely, and its odd that you can't see that! In addition, the fact that you brought up a non-issue is also very telling. Neither this article or the comments have mentioned how to communicate about this war, it is YOU that thought it important to make an issue of it while completely ignoring the main point of the article. St. Paul says the following: "But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility CORRECTING those who are in opposition, if God PERHAPS will grant them repentance, SO THAT THEY MAY KNOW THE TRUTH, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, HAVING BEEN TAKEN CAPTIVE BY HIM TO DO HIS WILL." 2 Tim 2:23-26. This is the teachings of St. Paul, not your liberal leaning ideas of not offending anyone. People who do not know the truth have been taken captive by the devil, and we MUST speak truth to them even if it may "scandalize" them, so that they wake up and are set free, but we must do it with love, patience and gentleness. Fr. Zacharias is saying not to take sides and just be quiet while praying for all sides, and you are saying not to say anything because it could "scandalize" people. Pretty much against the teachings of SAINT PAUL!! Its interesting how so many people like to throw the word "scandalize" about to justify their own shortcomings, and they have no idea what it even means.
Tyler3/23/2022 4:22 pm
George, forgive me if I have wronged you. I agree we must not compromise the faith. I said that. Paul also says that we ought to take care to not scandalize our brother. My prior point was this: We must stay true to the faith while at the same time trying to bring those around us to the faith. We can be correct but it does no good if we portray our correctness in such a way it scandalizes our neighbor who doesn't know the faith. St Paisius once said (to paraphrase), you can be giving people crowns but it does no good if you smash them in the head with it. Of course each situation is different and requires different tactics.
George3/22/2022 11:31 pm
I say this as respectfully as possible. I am amazed at how some people within the church think, and I do not understand how people were brought into the church without catechism. With all due respect, it's ridiculous to compare pagan Rome to an orthodox Christian nation. SAINT Paul's calling and duty was not to speak against Rome's politics, but to preach the gospel to the lost both Jew and Gentile. St. John the Baptist on the other hand did interfere in "politics" especially when he did not hesitate to condemn Herod for his adultery and fornication. St. Paul many times told the Christians to separate themselves from the godless customs and traditions of pagan Rome. What would be a more appropriate comparison is the life of the great martyr St. George who was a Roman general in the imperial army, and did NOT stay silent when his "commander in-chief" -the emperor- started to kill the Christians within the Roman empire, but instead prepared himself for martyrdom by prayer, fasting, freeing of his slaves and selling of his property. Stood before the godless emperor (equivalent to standing before obama or biden) and called the gods he worshipped demons! He also said told Diocletian that he was in delusion, and evil for the wickedness he was committing against the Christians. Your phanar, OCA and Antiochian leaders are mostly concerned about pleasing the worldly powers instead of speaking truth to power as St. John the Baptist, St George and many other great saints did. No saint thought "we have to make sure that we conform orthodoxy to appease the sensitivities of the fallen man around us, so that they will accept our faith!" such a way of thinking is a betrayal to the Holy Orthodox Christian faith! We do not "change and conform" TRUTH to suite the sinful thought process of the worldly. That's ridiculous! Christ said the following words: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household." Matt 10:34-36 HE ALSO SAID "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John 15:18-19. If you are seeking to please the world then you should join the phanar since that is their false-gospel and they have mastered the service to the evil and godless people that they love and respect so much, but remember that by so doing you will have rejected the true and Orthodox Gospel of Holy Orthodoxy!
Tyler3/22/2022 5:35 pm
I agree with Fr. Zacharias. No matter what political side I may agree with, if I am too outspoken, then I alienate people around me and tarnish my witness. There may be a time for some people to be more outspoken, but it must be done judiciously. Whether or not I agree with what Putin is doing (and I certainly don't have all the facts), here in America there are many who would immediately be turned off to Orthodoxy if I were to be outspoken about one side or the other. We must not compromise our faith but we must also not scandalize those around us that we can bring to the faith. Paul never once preached for or against the politics of Rome though he had much he could have said.
Fei-yu(Mainland China)3/21/2022 7:48 pm
@David: I was rapt in admiration of what you said!
Raphael3/21/2022 3:01 am
David, You are 100% correct. Forgive me for doing this editors, but I would like to post this homily/statement by Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol (Ukraine) that I think is very applicable. I pray and kindly ask that you allow it to be posted, so others my read what this saintly man has to say: https://russian-faith.com/news-trends/would-saints-sit-back-watching-sodomites-parade-kiev-n6567
sherlock_holmes3/20/2022 9:22 pm
David, is it you ?! My hat off !
David3/20/2022 1:13 am
I wonder if would have said the same thing if he were alive during the times of St. Constantine the great? Would he say “ We do not take sides, because each side will be responsible for crimes, and we do not want to share in these crimes and be condemned.” So, what Constantine the great did was a crime? Fighting evil that want to kill Christians, pay for “patriarchs” to cause division and schism in the church, support infanticide and abortion, hate the Christian faith with demonic hatred, force children into homosexual debauchery under the false banner of “love and tolerance” is to be condemned? Hmmm! This doesn’t sound consistent with the teachings of the Church at all! God Himself sent an Angel to kill 245,000 men of the great Assyrian army because they were blaspheming His Holy name and wanted to enslave His people! He COMMANDED the Israelites to go to war on many many occasions, so should they have said “I’m so sorry God, we believe in you, so we won’t take sides”? That’s absurd! With all due respect to this elder, he can’t say anything more than what he just said because the moment he speaks the truth he will be persecuted like all the other people that dare to speak in defense of righteousness, good…. RUSSIA! He is afraid of his government and MAYBE, just MAYBE he was instructed to give this answer, only God knows! I wonder why St. Sergius of Radonezh didn’t say to Prince Dimitry “I’m so sorry, I can’t take sides because as a monk I might get condemned” ? He gave the advice that our brother in Christ, VLADIMIR PUTIN followed, which was “try diplomacy first” and then BLESSED HIM, yes, BLESSED HIM to go to war! 8 years of pleading with the west and Kyiv to abide by the Minsk agreement! 8 years of watching ethnic Russians ( men, women and CHILDREN) be ethnically cleansed in an evil and wicked genocide funded by your western governments! 8 years of standing by while your governments fund bio-weapons that target the Slavic DNA, and you dare to criticize this man? How dare you? How long did your president bush wait before he CARPET BOMBED Afghanistan after 9-11? How long did he wait before destroying Iraq? How long did NATO wait before bombing our brothers and sisters in Serbia on our Holiest feast-day…Pascha? I will pray for Russia to be victorious and I will pray for Ukraine to be freed from the evil cabal that has taken their hearts, minds, souls and bodies captive for many years now. May God arise and may His godless neo-nazi enemies be scattered. Amen!
Paul3/19/2022 12:57 pm
Amen. Glory to God!
John Corcoran 3/19/2022 12:29 pm
The monastics at St John the Baptist Monastery in Essex are an inspiration. This is very good advice.
Rej3/19/2022 1:43 am
That's the true orthodox message!!!
sherlock_holmes3/18/2022 7:55 pm
Wise words !
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