Moscow, August 8, 2014
Chairman of the Synodal Information Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Vladimir Legoida has regarded the cases of damage and destruction of churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which took place in Lugansk and Horlivka in recent days, as breaking the hope for peace.
“The Synodal Information Department has already issued a statement in connection with the killing of Orthodox clergymen and a threat to religious peace in the Ukraine, in which, among other things, it called for the prevention of this civil conflict in the country from assuming a religious dimension as well,” reminded Legoida.
“But nevertheless, churches in the south-east of the Ukraine are still being targeted by non-selective weapons. For last two days alone, two Orthodox churches have been damaged by artillery fire,” he added.
“One of them, the Church of the “Tender Feeling” Icon of the Mother of God in central Lugansk (whose foundation stone was laid by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in 2011), has been seriously damaged; the other one, the five-domed wooden Annunciation Church in Horlivka of the Donetsk region, has even been burned to the ground,” chairman of the Synodal Information Department added.
“A Protestant church in the Kuibyshiv district of Donetsk has probably been damaged by a mortar explosion as well,” noted V. Legoida.
The church representative has recalled that in antiquity, in medieval times and in modern times churches, monasteries, almshouses as well as other sacred buildings and sites were given by law the status of refuge (sanctuary), and the authority to provide shelter to anyone who seeks protection in the house of God.
“Unfortunately, in this environment of fratricidal confrontation in the Ukraine, neither church walls nor ecclesiastical rank can protect people from violence,” resumed Legoida.
“The Church is once again calling not to sacrifice to hatred the inviolability of sacred buildings and clergy” he stressed.
“The sacred space of churches and monasteries must be protected from any encroachments. In the terrible circumstances of the civil confrontation this is especially significant, since it gives hope for peace,” concluded the Synodal Information Department’s chairman.
The Synodal Information Department