Patriarch of Antioch to Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Onuphry: We weep with you

Damascus, June 7, 2022

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His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East recently sent letters to His Holiness Patriarch of Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, offering them his support and prayers in this time of fratricidal war.

Excerpts from both letters were published on the Antiochian Patriarchate’s official Facebook page today.

The letter to Pat. Kirill included:

We have followed in detail the present conflict. As Your Beatitude is well aware, we too are sadly acquainted with the tragedy of war, and we understand the pain of losing members of one’s flock in battle. We pray for the souls of all those departed and for the well-being of all whose lives have been deeply affected by the conflict.

Under the leadership of Your Beatitude, the Church of Russia has consistently been a great support to the Church of Antioch during our own difficult times, and we pray that the Lord will continue to give Your Beatitude the strength and wisdom to lead the Russian Church through the challenges now facing it. We join our prayer to that of Your Beatitude that the Holy Spirit may swiftly bring peace, reconciliation, and healing to all.

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The letter to Met. Onuphry included:

We weep with Your Beatitude—as Your Beatitude has wept with us—at the devastating loss of life among Your Beatitude’s flock and countrymen as a result of war. We are all too familiar with the violent destruction of churches; the deaths of clergy, monastics, and faithful; and the displacement of civilians from their homeland.

At this dark moment, our constant prayer is with Your Beatitude and the entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and the whole Church of Antioch implores the Holy Spirit, especially in this season of Pentecost, that He may descend and restore peace and bring healing. May the Lord continue to guide Your Beatitude in leading the Ukrainian Orthodox Church through these challenging times.

Pat. John’s letter marks the first communication of an Orthodox primate with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church since the Council held on May 27 in Kiev at which the UOC resolved to remove all mention of a connection with the Russian Church from its Statutes as a reiteration and emphasis of its independence and self-governance.

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Anita Poleski6/8/2022 2:41 pm
Thank you for this article. It is barely the tip of the iceburg. There should be continual conversation between these important heads of Church and all of Patriarchs. I would appreciate the full context of these letters so I can have a more complete understanding of the efforts made towards peace. Thank you, Anita
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