Metropolitan Onuphry to Ukraine: a divided kingdom cannot stand! To Russia: stop the killing!

Chernivtsi, Chernivtsi Province, Ukraine, January 18, 2023     

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Chernivtsi in western Ukraine on Sunday.

In his address, the Ukrainian primate pled with both the Russian and Ukrainian authorities to end the violence and persecution against the Ukrainian people, and to allow peace to reign.

In particular, His Beatitude expressed condolences to the families of those who were killed and injured in the attack on Dnipro on Saturday, when a Ukrainian air defense missile crashed into an apartment building, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

He stressed that whole past year has been difficult and mournful, with many people dying in the continuing war against Ukraine, including members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church who “gave their lives for their land and for their people.”

His Beatitude also strengthened his flock with the words: “God is with us and the power of God keeps us. We believe that we won’t be broken by those who want to break us and that we will live and glorify God. We will enjoy peace, joy, and a quiet life.”

Turning to the Russian authorities, Met. Onuphry appealed:

For the sake of Christ, stop shooting at our people. God has given us life, and it shouldn’t be taken away from us, because he who takes someone else’s life will receive the same measure from God—he will lose his life. Even one drop of blood will have to be answered for before God. So, for the sake of Christ, stop shooting at our people, stop killing them! The Lord created us not to kill each other, but to live peacefully with each other. We are children of the same Father, and God wants us to bear with each other, to help each other, that we not bomb, but support each other. I think that our voice will be heard. I pray and ask God for this.

His Beatitude also highlighted the danger of the religious war that is currently playing out within the Ukrainian state:

A foreign war is going on. And someone is trying to make a religious war within the state to weaken the state, to weaken us, to make us vulnerable. That kingdom that is divided against itself cannot stand—these are the words of God. If someone doesn’t like something, that’s not a reason to fight against each other within the country.

At the same time, the Church is different from all human organizations, because it’s characterized by repentance and forgiveness.

“In other institutions, there is no such forgiveness: those who have sinned are imprisoned, expelled, fired from work, fined, and so on,” His Beatitude said.

“But in the Church there is forgiveness. We’re often asked that if someone has sinned, we should crucify him. We can’t do that. If we listen to those who advise us, we’ll destroy ourselves,” the Ukrainian primate warned.

And of course, there is no greater example of forgiveness than the Lord Himself, Who forgave even those who crucified Him, Met. Onuphry said.

“Where God is, there is victory, there is eternal life. So we must ask God to forgive all people their trespasses, to make amends. And only this will be the right path—the path of faith and Divine love,” His Beatitude concluded.

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Pfmd1/23/2023 10:36 pm
The Anglo-zionists and pretend Orthodox Christians do not want to talk about Geopolitics as they have expressed, just as long as Russia is being attacked, destroyed, and its’ people murdered and persecuted by the Americans and NATO. Our Anglo-zionist pretend Orthodox are currently only interested in talking about prayers and turning the other cheek, like the good Orthodox followers they feign to be. The Anglos hate the fact that Russia is able to fight back and protect its lands and orthodox faith and will eventually defeat them in this religious war. This is when these hate-filled and Russophobic Anglos will attempt to attack Russia with nuclear weapons as Patriarch Kirill and other Russian officials have made clear to the entire world. Make no mistake, this is a religious war.
James P1/22/2023 10:01 pm
Pat: If you weren't able to get my simple point, I don't see any point in continuing this discussion with you. I don't think I could make it any simpler for you. I will only add that we (including Met. Onuphry) are talking about a war, and war is geopolitical.
Pat1/22/2023 9:12 pm
James P, don’t quite follow your point, I’m afraid. Besides, you have completely dismissed my original point, which was that I support met. Onuphry’s view on this (I therefore assume you very much disagree with him as well, despite him suffering in the middle of the war and yet offering Christian forgiveness…). You seem quite set about making this a geopolitical argument; my sense is that you must just have had many such discussions with other people and I simply become another of your targets (previous arguments must therefore have been very frustrating for you). Yet I don’t accuse you of anything nor do I feel to have the right to say whether you act like a Christian or not. Knowing myself, I am sure you act one million more times like a Christian than I do. I have much to work on that. Regardless, met. Onuphry has made a valid Christian point and I agree with it. For all the other geopolitical views I encourage you to find someone else as a target as I won’t give you the satisfaction. I believe this website is about orthodox Christianity and not geopolitics.
James P1/21/2023 9:32 pm
Pat: You like many others seem to think that Russians are "killing Ukrainians" because they somehow enjoy it. No, they are killing Ukrainian soldiers (not intentionally civilians, as the Ukrainian side has been doing to the people in Donbass), because this is a war. The Ukrainian army doesn't just go to the front, stand there without fighting, and then get killed by Russians. From what I've read, the Russians would much prefer to take them prisoner, but the Ukrainian military police don't let the soldiers surrender. It's a horrible situation, and you have to admit that it's being caused by NATO, which is using Ukrainian soldiers to fight Russia. They don't care about the Ukrainians. If they did, they would not have turned them into disposable military material. It's just inhumane. But you don't seem to care about that. You only want to blame the Russians in general and Putin in particular, who simply want to go on existing as a nation. Are you acting like a Christian in this case?
Pat1/21/2023 9:15 pm
James P and Max, the fact is that I largely agree with both of you: Things have been very bad in Ukraine for the Russian side for a number of years, we all know that, of course. A lot of unnecessary and very painful suffering. Have prayed much for those who suffered and I will admit, I also harboured at times a wish for revenge and justice for all those people (like when their churches were being brutally seized). And you are right, if it was a western country we would retaliate too (though frankly I don’t think in the disastrous and horrific way it is currently being done). Though it begs the question: what does Christ mean with the words ‘turn the other cheek’? Defending is one thing, going on such a large scale destruction of human beings is quite another (not to speak of the large scale trauma for so many). Even many Russian I know and who were so much in support of the Russian attack initially, have gone very quite over the past months and to me they now look quite shocked themselves. In any case my initial comment wasn’t about the geopolitical situation (though you seem to focus on that for some reason), but rather about the fact that patriarch Kirill and met. Onuphry speak a very different language on this very topic. And if I compare the two languages to Holy Scripture and holy Fathers, there is no doubt within my soul which of the two is in line with the words and the will of God. Did history for met. Onuphry also only start in 2022 Max? I am just reiterating what he is saying. Shouldn’t he know better than you and me seeing he is at the centre of the suffering with all his flock? We are just sitting back comfortably watching from the outside, aren’t we? I was always very much pro Russia on so many topics and I thank Russians for having helped me discover Orthodoxy (my wife is Russian). Though God gave me an upbringing in a different country, where one is encouraged to question the choices of leaders. It is beyond me how so many people just trust blindly everything Putin says and does as if he was a cult leader. Well, not that beyond me: Russians are typically known (not always of course) to accept more easily authoritarian governments than people in other countries because it was so prevalent in their history and they may not know any better (I can see with my wife or mother in law how unreasonable or contradicting their arguments are for supporting Putin - in fact they often don’t even quite know why they do, they just ‘do’ because it is that thing that you ‘do as a Russian’). I believe God gave us reason for a reason. I disagree with the way western powers and Ukrainian authorities lead their countries, make policies and the way they made many Russians suffer horribly as well as the geopolitical pressures - but I equally have come to disagree with Putin and his government as well as the Russian Patriarch. Indeed I think it is easy to find out at that level if someone is acting in the name of God or not: just read their sermons. Patriarch Bartholomew speaks of trees and flowers and Patriarch Kirill speaks of Russia and the Nation. Thankfully metropolitan Onuphry and many other hierarchs still talk about Christ and encourage us to follow Him and not nature or Putin. James, wonder what you mean by ‘see the other side of things for once.’? When was the other time you ‘caught’ me being one sided? I don’t remember ever having communicated with you before.
Panagiotis1/20/2023 5:14 am
To Orthodox Brothers Max and James P: God Bless both of you. To Orthodox Brother Editors: You are doing a Great job, and Thank You for doing God's work. This is one of the few websites that speaks the truth. The truth is something that is foreign to the internationalist hypocrites who have brainwashed many. Here are a few examples: Remember when Western Powers invaded Iraq under the great weapons of mass destruction lie? Where are those weapons of mass destruction? A great fabrication to justify an attack on Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of civilians, including elderly, women, and little children, were killed and/or crippled. The Western Powers claimed they had a right to launch a preemptive attack on Iraq. But Russia does not have a right to attack the gangster state of Ukraine which was persecuting and/or killing ethnic Russians and Russian speakers? But Russia does not have a right to prevent the Ukraine (which borders Russia) from joining NATO? Would the United States permit Mexico or Canada to form a military alliance with Russia? Of course the U.S. would not permit this. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the United States was ready to start World War III because of Soviet missile in Cuba? Remember that all you brainwashed people out there? Remember when the United States illegally invaded the Caribbean nation of Grenada? Remember that all you brainwashed people out there? The U.S. claimed that medical students were in danger in Grenada, but this was also a lie. The real reason they invaded was to prevent Soviet influence there. Remember when Western Powers illegally attacked my Serbian People? Western Powers claimed they had a right to preemptive attack, even though the Serbs never fired a single shot against the Western Powers before the Massive Western Attack. Remember that brainwashed people? The real reason they attacked the Serbian People was because they hate ALL Orthodox Christians and they wanted to weaken and dismember the proud conservative Serbian People, and thereby prevent unified Serbian Lands. God Almighty, I can go on and on about the MASTERS of Lies, Deception, and Hypocrisy. The devious internationalists want to destroy conservative Russia and the conservative Russian Orthodox Church, and this is the TRUTH my friends. The Sinister internationalists are behind the curtains pulling the strings, while our Orthodox Brothers are killing each other. The cohesive diabolical internationalists want to destroy Conservative Nations, Conservative Christians (and Conservative Muslims), and Conservative Churches in order to pave the way for the FALSE Messiah or Antichrist. Stupid people and weak churches are easily manipulated and will accept the false Messiah and thereby reject Jesus Christ, who is THE ONE AND ONLY Messiah. I speak the truth my friends, whether people want to hear it or not. ALMIGHTY GOD will help us because we FEAR HIM. All Glory to our True God Jesus Christ! THOXA SI O THEOS, THOXA SI! Just my humble opinion.
Max1/19/2023 4:44 pm
Pat, I must largely agree with James here. Russia did not invade based off of some animus against Ukraine or Ukrainians, nor to fulfill some imperialism, but because their own people were being slaughtered (2014-2022) and all based off of NATO's desire further surround Russia. We in the West would never tolerate such events without conflict if it happened on our own doorstep. This gets to the gist of my own comment: war of course is abhorrent, but there are two sides to every story as well. I'm all in favor of critical responses to Russia and to my own comments, but continuing to operate as though history started in 2022 is dangerous to the rest of the world.
James P1/19/2023 1:12 pm
Pat: What do you expect the UOC to say when there is a gun to their heads from their own people? You probably aren't old enough to remember the Russian Church representatives who went around the world saying that the Russian Orthodox Church is free in Communist Russia. Don't be so naive. And I would say, tell NATO to get out of Ukraine, so that Russia is not threatened. See the other side of things for once.
Pat1/19/2023 11:52 am
I am surprised you publish the words of the Metropolitan on what he says to the Russian authorities! Recently I posted a message twice on your website (polite and non-offensive ones), highlighting my surprise and concern that Patriarch Kirill was asking to stop the shooting 'just' for the Nativity period (as if it is OK from a Christian perspective to continue killing after that). You decided not to publish both messages. Perhaps your website is not about Christianity anymore, not about honesty and letting people say their opinion? Is it now about making sure Russia doesn't get criticized? Of course you will very likely not publish this message either - but my message is for you. Are you with Christ or are you with 'Russia'? I've loved your website for years but I think it has now taken an unchristian turn. Thank God Metropolitan Onuphry is speaking sense, shouldn't your 'Christian' website do too and call out Russia on each 'drop of blood' (to use the metropolitan's expression)? This is not about being emotional, this is simply about listening and acting on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else is of this world. May God help you return back to the courageous selves you once were!
Max1/18/2023 10:15 pm
I am a relatively new convert to Orthodoxy and I understand the Church stands against war, as do I personally. In all reality, this war started in 2014 and goes back 35 years in context. But I have to ask...what was Russia supposed to do? The Russians were that last ones who wanted the conflict but here they are condemned? Honest question.
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