Moscow, May 18, 2022
The Church fervently prays for its flock, both in Russia and Ukraine, and for the restoration of peace, the Russian Patriarch said in a speech before Russian parliamentarian deputies yesterday.
Speaking before the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly, the upper house of Parliament, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill recalled and emphasized the spiritual unity of the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, reports Patriarchia.ru.
“Our flock is in Russia and Ukraine, and we fervently pray for the restoration of peace, that the Lord might overthrow the designs of the external evil force that feeds hatred,” the Patriarch said.
I would like to remind you that from the very beginning of the conflict, the Church in Ukraine and in Russia has incessantly offered prayers for peace and invariably called on people to overcome divisions. Throughout the eight years of armed confrontation, the Church organized many charity events in support of those who found themselves in trouble, lost their homes and were forced to flee from the fighting. As you know, the exchange of prisoners of war has repeatedly taken place through the mediation of the Church.
What is happening in Ukraine today is nothing new for Russia, Pat. Kirill said, pointing to several historical examples of external forces attempting to divide the peoples of historical Russia, such as the 1596 creation of Uniatism at the Union of Brest.
“We can’t but say that the schism in Ukrainian Orthodoxy is another link in this vicious chain of divisions. The actions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which legalized the schism, are worthy of historical comparison with Uniatism. The final goal of this project is to reorient the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in such a way that it could no longer serve for the unity of the fraternal Russian and Ukrainian peoples,” His Holiness continued.
“The political goal of creating all these autocephalies, all these schismatic associations is to weaken the influence of the Orthodox Church, the united Orthodox Church of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, using ideological cliches to incite hostility and create new myths that would alienate one nation from another,” Pat. Kirill stressed.
“It’s well known that the colonial powers, guided by the principle of ‘divide and conquer,’ have also created points of military tension and internecine conflicts in other regions of the globe. Today, this shameful rule, unfortunately, is also used to escalate the Russian-Ukrainian enmity,” he said.
“Yes, quarrels happen between brothers, but it was possible to bring it to fratricide by the purposeful propaganda of aggression and lies. I said earlier that the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, who emerged from the single Kiev Baptismal font, united by the Orthodox faith and bound by a common historical destiny, cannot be considered the culprits of this situation.”
The Russian primate also called on all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties:
Yes, military clashes have accompanied the entire history of mankind after the Fall. Being one of the sad manifestations of sinfulness, military clashes are likely to accompany human history going further. However, even in the conditions of armed conflicts, a person can and should preserve his dignity and take care of the dignity of others. The exclusion of prohibited methods of warfare, the protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, respect for prisoners and wounded—that’s what I, as Patriarch of All Russia, call the parties to the conflict to, asking them to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.