Did Patriarch Kirill Espouse "Jihadist Theology"?

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"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Even before the beginning of the direct involvement of Russia in the war in Ukraine (which actually began in 2014), the American people had already been subjected to a steady stream of anti-Russian propaganda. Sorting out what is true and what is false in the midst of the fog of war is not very easy, even if someone puts forth the effort to try to discern such things... but most Americans are not interested enough in the subject to even make the effort, and so assume that what they are hearing in the mainstream media is true. Not only has the Russian government been criticized regularly, since the 2016 election and the beginnings of the Russian Collusion Hoax, but the Russian Orthodox Church has also increasingly been a target.

Patriarch Kirill was put into a very difficult situation by Russia's involvement in the war, and he probably would have been highly criticized no matter how carefully or wisely he had responded to it—and while I suppose one could make the case that he could have handled it better, it is easier to criticize someone in his position than to be that someone, and to try to navigate all the landmines this set of circumstances laid for him.

I doubt anyone in the leadership of the Russian Church wanted to see things come to the point of a direct war between Russia and Ukraine. However, most people inside of Russia—whether rightly or wrongly—view this war as a matter of dealing with an existential threat against Russia, and it seems Patriarch Kirill shares this view. On the other hand, many, and perhaps most Ukrainians have a very different view. Certainly, some of them at least, support Russian involvement, but many do not, to be sure. One has to have enough of an imagination to see how people on both sides can believe that they are on the right side, and not be evil.

Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that most Russians are wrong in how they view Russia's role in this war, they don't have to be evil to be wrong. They could simply be misinformed. That would also be true of Patriarch Kirill. We all view the world through the lens of our own experiences, and we trust some sources of information, and distrust others. Only God has a truly accurate grasp of all that is going on.

The background of the war is complicated, to say the least, and it is not my intention here to argue the merits of Russia's actions one way or the other. I do, however, want to address a very clear example of how western propaganda has attempted to distort something that Patriarch Kirill has said, and twist it into something that is almost the complete opposite of what he said. Even if we disagree with someone, we should at least try to be fair, and when describing their views, we should try to do so in a way that they would recognize as being accurate, and in this case, the efforts being made are focused on distorting what he has said rather than to fairly represent his actual statements.

In a sermon delivered on Sunday, September 25th, 2022 (the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross), Patriarch Kirill is said to have promised heaven to Soldiers who kill Ukrainians.

For example, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Archdiocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate said in a recent seminar, entitled "Religious Freedom, Self-Defense, and the Orthodox Communities in Ukraine":

"Russian mercenaries and soldiers murdered, raped, kidnapped, and looted with his blessing—Patriarch Kirill's blessing—even with his Jihadist-like promise of heaven for killing their spiritual brethren."

The US State Department Funded propaganda website "The Orthodox Times," didn't go quite as far, but it nevertheless intentionally misrepresented what Patriarch Kirill said in an article entitled "Patriarch of Moscow: Any Russian soldier who dies in the war in Ukraine is forgiven for his sins." But did Patriarch Kirill actually say this, or did he suggest that killing Ukrainians would get you into heaven and seventy-two virgins? No, he did not.

Here is a Google Translation of the text from the original Russian text, posted on the Moscow Patriarchate official website, Patriarcha.ru.

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). To death! The Only Begotten Son, the Divine Son! And why was this terrible divine Sacrifice required, the scale and significance of which cannot be grasped by the human mind? Almighty God gives Himself to the execution, which was used to execute criminals, outcasts of human society, who really committed terrible, dangerous crimes.

When one thinks of this ineffable divine Sacrifice, it is difficult for the human mind to grasp the whole divine plan. But it is quite obvious that the Lord does not give Himself, humanly suffers and dies for something that would be completely incomprehensible to us and inherent only in Him, who has an immense knowledge of Himself. He gives us the opportunity to understand that if God in His Son gives His human life for the sake of other people, for the sake of the human race, then sacrifice is the highest manifestation of man's love for his neighbors. Sacrifice is the greatest manifestation of the best human qualities.

We know that today many are dying on the fields of internecine warfare. The Church prays that this war will end as soon as possible, that as few brothers as possible will kill each other in this fratricidal war. At the same time, the Church realizes that if someone, driven by a sense of duty, the need to fulfill an oath, remains faithful to his vocation and dies in the performance of military duty, then he undoubtedly commits an act tantamount to sacrifice. He sacrifices himself for others. Therefore, we believe that this sacrifice washes away all the sins that a person has committed.

The war that is now going on in the vastness of Russia is an internecine strife. That is why it is so important that this battle should not result in a wave of bitterness and alienation; So that fraternal peoples are not divided by an impassable wall of hatred. And how we all behave towards each other today, what we ask the Lord in our prayers, what we hope for, will largely depend not only on the outcome of battles, but also on what will happen as a result of all this. May God grant that the present military operations do not destroy the single spiritual space of Holy Russia, and even more so do not harden our peoples. So that by the grace of God all wounds may be healed. So that by the grace of God, everything that today brings sorrow to many and many will be erased from memory. So that what will replace the current situation, including in relations between our fraternal peoples, is bright, peaceful and joyful.

And this can only happen if we live with faith in our hearts. Because faith destroys fear, faith gives the possibility of mutual forgiveness, faith strengthens relationships between people and really can and does transform these relationships into fraternal, cordial and kind ones. May God grant that everything that now darkens the souls of many will end. May God grant that during this internecine struggle as few people as possible will die or be injured. May God grant that there may be as few widows and orphans as possible, fewer separated families, less shattered friendship and brotherhood.

The Church, which carries out its pastoral ministry among the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and many others in the vastness of historical Russia, today especially suffers and especially prays for the speedy cessation of internecine strife, for the triumph of justice, for the restoration of fraternal communion and the overcoming of all that, having accumulated over the years, eventually led to a bloody conflict. We believe that all the saints who shone forth in the Russian land—in this case, using the already accepted expression "in the Russian land", we mean Russia, the whole Russian land, Holy Russia—today together with us lift up prayers to the Lord for peace to be established on earth, for the reconciliation of fraternal peoples and, most importantly, for justice to triumph, because without justice there can be no lasting peace.

May the Lord protect us all and help all of us to walk our Christian career with dignity, despite the difficult life circumstances that today are the reality of our earthly existence. Through the prayers of the saints, whose names we have glorified today, may the Lord help us all to be strengthened in peace, love, like-mindedness and purity [Emphasis added]."

Very few references to this sermon make any mention of the fact that he called this a "fratricidal war," and states that the Church prays for it to end swiftly. Furthermore, when he speaks of soldiers sacrificing themselves, he does not limit his comments to soldiers going to Ukraine, nor does he assign any merit to killing Ukrainians. He simply speaks of soldiers who, out of a sense of duty and in the fulfilling their oath as a soldier, die in the course of that duty. These words would apply to Ukrainian soldiers or to any other Orthodox Christian soldiers who lay down their lives out of a sense of duty.

What does he mean by a soldier having "a sense of duty"? Perhaps this comes across differently in Russian and in the context of Russian culture, but I think he is clearly speaking of the love that such a soldier would have for his country, and for their family and friends... and so it seems to me it would have been clearer had he made reference to "love" explicitly, but it clearly is implicit.

So the Patriarch did not say that any soldier who goes to Ukraine and happens to die there falls into this category of soldier, much less did he say this of soldiers who kill Ukrainians. He is speaking of soldiers motivated by love, duty, and honor. Furthermore, there is no reason to think he was speaking of atheists or non-Orthodox Christians here, or even of otherwise unrepentant Orthodox Christians.

But does such sacrifice in fact wash away sins? Let's first consider whether the blood of martyrdom washes away sins? The Church clearly does teach that the blood of martyrdom, in some sense, washes away a person's sins. However, this does not apply to everyone who is ostensibly a martyr. As St. John Chrysostom said:

"Now a certain holy man said what might seem to be a bold thing; yet, nevertheless, he spoke it out. What then is this? He said, that not even the blood of martyrdom can wash out this sin. For tell me for what dost thou suffer as a martyr? Is it not for the glory of Christ? Thou then that yieldest up thy life for Christ’s sake, how dost thou lay waste the Church, for whose sake Christ yielded up His life?" (Emphasis added, Homily 11 on Ephesians).

Probably, the holy man St. John Chrysostom had in mind was St. Cyprian of Carthage, who wrote:

"What sacrifices do those who are rivals of the priests think that they celebrate? Do they deem that they have Christ with them when they are collected together, who are gathered together outside the Church of Christ? Even if such men were slain in confession of the Name, that stain is not even washed away by blood: the inexpiable and grave fault of discord is not even purged by suffering. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church; he cannot attain unto the kingdom who forsakes that which shall reign there. Christ gave us peace; He bade us be in agreement, and of one mind. He charged the bonds of love and charity to be kept uncorrupted and inviolate; he cannot show himself a martyr who has not maintained brotherly love" (Treatise on the Unity of the Church 13-14).

For one to be a true martyr, he would have to be a right-believing person, who was offering himself as a sacrifice for his confession of Christ, and this cannot apply to a person who is a heretic or a schismatic. But in what sense does the blood of martyrdom wash away a person's sins? Obviously not in the same sense that only Christ's blood can wash away sin. Christ's sacrifice alone provides the basis upon which anyone can be saved. However, this sacrifice is only available to those who repent and believe the Gospel. But repentance is not a one-time act. St. John the Baptist taught that those who repent have to bring forth the fruits of repentance (Luke 3:8). The Church teaches that if a person dies with at least the beginnings of repentance, but without having had a chance to bring forth the fruits of repentance, he does not immediately enter into God's presence upon death, but that there is some period of time in which by the prayers of the Church, he grows in grace, until he is able to enter into God's presence.

Bringing forth the fruits of repentance involves our cooperation with God's grace, so that we purify our hearts and minds, and become filled with the Holy Spirit. This makes someone a truly holy person, and when such a person dies, they do enter immediately into God's presence. What is true of the sacrifice made in martyrdom, Patriarch Kirill argues is also true of a Christian soldier who willfully lays down his life out of love. In the case of martyrs, the Church usually does not long hesitate to declare them to be saints. In the case of soldiers, this is not true, but probably this is so because in the case of martyrs the disposition of the person is clearer. Whereas in the case of soldiers, they may or may not have died out of love for God, country, family, and friends—it is simply harder for us to make such a judgment, but obviously God would have no such difficulty.

We also find the idea that our actions in cooperation with God's grace can cleanse sins in the Scriptures. St. Peter, in his first epistle, states: "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). St. Peter is in turn alluding to Proverbs 10:12, which says "Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins" (c.f. James 5:19-20). And as Christ Himself said: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). Christ is the supreme example of this to be sure, but this statement has long been applied to soldiers who lay down their lives for their friends, family, and country. And so if a Christian soldier willfully lays down his life for others, this, according to Patriarch Kirill, qualifies as bringing forth the fruits of repentance fully and completely.

I suppose one could criticize him for not putting more qualifications and clarifications in his sermon [after all, it was a sermon and not a treatise or synodal resolution.—OC], but it is simply not fair to suggest that he said that soldiers would go to heaven by killing Ukrainians, or simply by virtue of dying while fighting in the war in Ukraine. And there is no comparison with the Jihadist belief that one gains salvation by killing people for God. He neither said any such thing, nor did he imply it.

Ion6/14/2023 6:25 pm
To the editor. Thanks , but it is better to pray for patriarchs as they all have fallen from the path except patriarch Ilya of Georgia. Flee WCC, Flee Freedom of Concience Gatherings with Jews , Moslems , Budhist and pagans , Flee The False Ecumenical Week Praying with all false religions outhere , Flee Ecumenism. Start following Holy Fathers of the only true faith , our Orthodox Faith the only one can save mankind. It might look racist that way but that is how to keep our faith and it is not racist , God called us to keep His way , the path of salvation. As for patriarch Kirill in this situation with the war against Ukraine , he just simply should have been opposed to the idea of going to war against the brothers and sisters of the same faith no matter of the circumstances. Ion
Editor6/14/2023 1:41 pm
Ion: Sorry to hear that they were normal to you. We will keep you in our prayers,
Ion6/13/2023 8:10 pm
Not sure how you categorized comments as inappropriate as I wrote my point of view in a normal manner.
Editor6/13/2023 11:24 am
Ion: Our comments are moderated--we will not open inappropriate comments.
Ion6/13/2023 9:01 am
Please, do not get rid of our comments. Post all of them . Thanks
Panagiotis6/9/2023 4:22 am
Just some more questions here that they don't want you to ask: During the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans, did Greek Bishops and Priests tell Greek freedom fighters and People that they are fighting for God (and our Holy Orthodox Faith), and they will be martyrs (and therefore in Paradise) if they perish in this Noble struggle? Did Serbian Bishops and Priests say the same thing when the Serbs were fighting the Ottomans, the Muslims, and Ustase, and imposter Tito's (Weiss) communist partisans? Did Bulgarian Orthodox Bishops and Priests say the same thing when the Bulgarians rose up against the Ottoman yoke? This is absolutely absurd that they are bringing this up against Patriarch Kirill. Look, here is the absolute fact and the end of the story: They hate Patriarch Kirill because he speaks the truth about the no good liberal garbage movements and the sodomites, pure and simple! The no good liberals and the internationalist puppet masters want to destroy the conservative Orthodox Church, especially the Russian Orthodox Church, and they want to destroy conservative Russia. This is a Noble struggle indeed, and God is with the Orthodox People of Russia. Take a look at the corrupt Ukraine now and see how they want to legitimize homosexuality, even though the vast majority of the Ukrainian People do not want this (as Father John correctly stated), including all of the major religions, including both Orthodox Denominations I believe. Why is the gangster State of the corrupt Ukraine doing this? Real simple, because that is what the no good liberals and the internationalist puppet masters want, and they are receiving vast amounts of financial assistance from the decadent West, and therefore they will do as they are told. Ask yourself this: Ukraine is an Orthodox Nation, so why are three top leaders of Ukraine of Ashkenazi descent, the midget clown president, the defense minister, and the prime minister? They are not Orthodox Christians, and they are not of ethnic Ukrainian descent, but they are leaders of the Orthodox Nation of the Ukrainian People, i.e. Ukraine. I love Patriarch Kirill, and I love the Russian Orthodox Church, and I love the Ukrainian Orthodox People, and God Willing, all Orthodox Peoples' eyes will be opened up. The masters of lies and deception are doing what they do best. Let us pray to Almighty God and the Panagia to give our people knowledge. WAKE UP. All glory to Almighty God, all glory to Him. Just my humble opinion.
David6/8/2023 6:46 am
I think the answer here is simple. If Patriarch Kyrill meant that dying in a war for your country can in itself absolve you of sins, this is obviously wrong. But, I have heard funeral orations for fallen soldiers where the language certainly says this implicitly, particularly if they died saving others. The circumstances of the serviceman's death certainly factors heavily here. I think clarification is definitely needed.
Fr. John Whiteford6/8/2023 1:02 am
Herman, the UOJ is a great source of information on Ukraine. However, in this article, their main argument is that the examples of St. Speaking of soldiers gaining heavenly crowns involve the defense of the faith, and they argue that many of the Ukrainian faithful are on the frontline. But one could reasonably argue that the war is against the government in Ukraine, and not all the people who are forced to fight on its behalf, and this is a government that is, without a doubt, persecuting the legitimate Church in Ukraine, in addition to promoting the LGBTQP agenda, and the acceptance of gay marriage, despite the fact there is almost no support for such things among the people in Ukraine. One could of course make other contrary arguments, but I don't think that the people who view this conflict that way are necessarily evil or malicious for thinking these thoughts.
Herman6/7/2023 9:30 pm
To Fr John and all who are interested: I sent an inquiry to the Union of Orthodox Journalists site and they reposted the article I mentioned. https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/73762-does-holy-tradition-really-speak-of-the-forgiveness-of-sins-in-war
Herman6/7/2023 8:46 pm
Fr John: yes, I understand, and agree it's clear the Patriarch said nothing about killing Ukrainians. However, the reason I sent the article is the commentary on Emperor Nicephorus Phocas, and the discussion of the article by the Orthodox historian Pashkov (which I find interesting and directly relevant). Regardless of the Patriarch's motivations for the words he used in the sermon, there is clearly a parallel to Islamic theology here. He made a categorical statement - "we believe..." I am taking issue with the words he used and the theological implications. We can talk about love, repentance, and sacrifice, and find quotes from saints that seem to suggest a "crown" for death in battle, but we won't find in direct and plain language in the Church Fathers the theology of absolution of sins as a reward for death in warfare. I would argue that you won't find it, because this concept is not part of the Holy Tradition, and therefore, alien to the teachings of the Church.
Max H6/7/2023 8:09 pm
Herman, are you saying only Westerners can fall victim to Western propaganda? Indeed we see Western interference in the Orthodox Church all over the place. Even leaving aside the West, how many don't understand their own Church's teachings or have sought to usurp a Priest, Bishop, or Patriarch (and thereby also attempting to usurp the Church itself) with false allegations and false teachings? The fact is those critical of Patriarch Kirill have done so either out of ignorance or malice, but regardless of which it falls under, they are wrong for doing so. That's the point.
Fr. John Whiteford6/7/2023 5:56 pm
Herman, you are citing a livejournal article that begins: "Relatively recently, we discussed the attempt of Patriarch Kirill to introduce the Islamist theology of jihad into Orthodoxy, guaranteeing paradise to murderers if they kill at the behest of the Russian command." This is exactly the kind of nonsense that inspired me to write this article. No where did the Patriarch say or imply any such thing.
Editor6/7/2023 3:19 pm
Herman: We see you couldn't resist. We're waiting for Pfmd to respond!
Herman6/7/2023 1:59 pm
Fr John: many in Russia and Ukraine also called Patriarch Kirill's words a "heresy", including Metropolitan Augustine (Markevich) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: https://azbyka.ru/news/ierarh-upc-nazval-eresju-uchenie-chto-smert-na-pole-boja-smyvaet-grehi-i-napomnil-chto-grehi-smyvajutsja-tolko-krovju-hristovoj-i-pokajaniem. Patriarch Kirill's words were obviously widely reported and received much commentary in Russia. This has nothing to do with "western propaganda" because many in Russia also have major problems with this. Some relevant commentary can be found here: https://sektyby.livejournal.com/3459.html
Fr. John Whiteford6/7/2023 5:47 am
Herman, I would suggest that what Patriarch Kirill said was not substantively different than these two quotations from St. Philaret of Moscow: "Do not fear dangers, as you ally yourself with truth, for it is better to die for her than to see her vanish. With your blood redeem the blessings that were purchased for you by your ancestors. Avoiding death for your faith or for the freedom of your homeland, you will die either as a criminal or a slave; die for your faith and for your homeland, and you will acquire life and a crown in heaven." – A word spoken by Archimandrite Philaret (Drozdov), later Metropolitan of Moscow and since glorified as a saint, on May 20, 1813, at a meeting of the members of “Conversations among lover of the Russian word.” "God loves a peaceful world, and God blesses a righteous campaign. For as long as there are innocent people on earth, it is not possible to maintain peace without conflict." – St. Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow, from a speech made before Russian troops in 1843 during the Sebastopol campaign.
Panagiotis6/7/2023 4:16 am
Just a couple of questions that they don't like you to ask: During World War II, did Croatian Catholic priests, bishops, etc give their blessings to the Ustase animals, the demons who cut the throats of Serbian men, women, elderly, and children? During the colonial era wars, did Protestant missionaries, in cahoots with Western powers, travel all over the world in their colonial empires to so-call "convert" the natives, while the indigenous population were subjugated to vicious yoke? But yet the hypocrites talk about Patriarch Kirill. God Almighty what hypocrisy. "Thou shall know them by their sewer mouths, and by their sewer mouths thou shall know them". That is from the book of Panagiotis, Chapter 3, Verse 34........The enemies of our Holy Orthodox Faith will say anything and will do anything to achieve their ultimate goal, which is the destruction of the Orthodox Church. The internationalist puppet masters use others to do their dirty work. They hate all Orthodox. But God is with us, and God is with conservative Russia and the conservative Russian Orthodox Church. The internationalist monster communists, who were demons straight up out of the pits of hell, could not destroy us. The Church has been resurrected in Russia and the Ukraine and other Orthodox Lands, and this is GOD'S WILL and Divine Providence. Let us pray to Almighty God and the Panagia to protect Orthodox People and to give our people knowledge. All Glory to God. Just my humble opinion.
David6/7/2023 3:34 am
I think it is good to set the record straight on what His Holiness actually said. If one is to be criticised, let it be for what they truly said, not a caricature or distortion used for propaganda purposes. It is great that Father John wrote this article. Patriarch Kyrill was speaking to a very specific audience, and as Father John noted, it is a variation of the scriptural injunction "No greater love..." How that exactly applies in wartime is murky, but having served in the US Army Chaplain Corp, such language is not heretical, although imprecise. Had it been said in remarks at a soldier's funeral, few would have batted an eye, but because of who said it and where, there is an uproar. Interestingly, "Metropolitan" Epiphany made similar remarks not too long ago, and nobody in the West bothered to correct it. Whatever one thinks of Patriarch Kyrill, the one-sidedness is obvious here.
Philip6/6/2023 11:08 pm
Whose business is it what sins a soldier absolves and which ones he retains? Is this not between the person and God? I'm sure any kind of self sacrifice will cover a multitude of sins but I am not the judge of that. I sincerely hope that Orthodoxy is not going to be branded an 'extremist religion' like radical Islam. Is not what is happening in the western churches with their 'inclusion' an example of extremism? Is this not the religion of the antichrist masquerading as some type of Christianity? Did not the Scriptures teach us how this is exactly how it would be done in the final years? I fear this will lead to a split down the middle of Orthodoxy: one side the 'old fashioned' one and the other the 'modern reformed' one that will try to convince you they are the real Church and the other side that was around for 2000 years is somehow now obsolete or irrelevant.
Max H6/6/2023 10:18 pm
Following the homily in September a protestant whom I follow on occasion attacked Orthodoxy as a "man-made something or other" based on the twitter snippet with provided translation. While I was sure this was taken out of context I do not speak Russian so I could not refute it. I just sent him this for correction to the record.
Antonio6/6/2023 9:54 pm
My support to His Koliness Kiril. Let me remind the author of this article an American that the war had been instigated by President Biden and also the theory of the Salamanca School of Theology Father Suarez stating when a war is just or unjust. It is just when arms are taken in self-defense and that is the case. Russian soldiers are fighting a devil called Waldemar Zelenski
Natasha6/6/2023 3:37 pm
Alexei, the Russian state does not interfere in the affairs of the Church. They have friendly relations.
Herman6/6/2023 1:41 pm
My own ROCOR priest, a highly respected and experienced priest, gave a sermon to us in which he directly refuted what Patriarch Kirill said, saying "this idea that the sins of a man can be washed away/absolved by dying in war is wrong." There was a great article posted to the Union of Orthodox Journalists site back in November which exhaustively demonstrates that what Patriarch Kirill said is wrong. The article is titled "Does Holy Tradition really speak of the forgiveness of sins in war?" and this is the link (unfortunately the article no longer appears on the site, perhaps someone can locate it): https://spzh.news/en/zashhita-very/91445-dejstvitelyno-li-svyashhennoje-predanije-govorit-o-proshhenii-grehov-na-vojne
Ion6/6/2023 8:06 am
Everything is twisted these days . Orthodoxy is not kept as Holy Fathers handed down to us . God allowed this to happen just to show us as in Old Testament about Israelites . When Israelites kept the commandments nothing will conquer them . When they did not keep the commandments God allowed them to be conquered . Not sure why we point the finger at the West when in fact we do not keep orthodox faith as it was handed down to us . Stop making excuses. Get out of WCC and Ecumenism and stop befriending Imams and Popes .
Archpriest Nectarios Trevino 6/6/2023 4:01 am
Thank you Father. We hold the same reverence for American men and women in combat. They are often recognized posthumously with medals.
Shayne Swenson6/6/2023 2:42 am
Amen. Thanks for bringing the truth regarding this tired politicized trope into the light. I’ve never been so disappointed in my country and some of the people around us in the Orthodox Church as I have been this last year. May the war end swiftly and glory to God for all things.
Alexei6/5/2023 7:38 pm
I have talked to and I have met Fr. John Whiteford and I found him to be thoughtful, kind, and well spoken. In my opinion, hopefully I present it in meekness and kindness, Fr. John Whiteford makes some very good points. I live in the State of Washington on the West Coast of the United States and I would ask all those who are out there reading this article to please remember this about me, who lives in the United States. I do NOT take to heart what I hear in the media. Did I see articles in the media about Patriarch Kirill? Of course I do. Did I believe this about Patriarch Kirill, no I did not. I would ask this about any article when it is first read. 1. Can it be true? 2. What is the full context of what was said? 3. Who presented the information? To mention 3 questions. If Patriarch Kirill truly said this, he would be against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry which he has voiced support for, and not against! I would mention that I am only 1 person in the United States, but I am also 1 person who believes that this fratricidal war must stop and peace be restored and Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Onuphry can once again meet with each other without any government involvement. And I do mean any government, that includes the United States, Russian, and Ukraine. To all 3 governments, stop interfering with the Orthodox Church. Leave the church alone.
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