Dear Brothers and Sisters!
We, the hierarchs of the Russian Church Abroad in Europe, published a statement on February 22. On that day, we were not yet as struck as we are now by the march of the Russian army through Ukraine. I myself grew up in the final years of the Second World War, and many of you have witnessed other wars, and so we feel how much this affects us personally – each of us, because we are all bound together by the single font of Kievan Rusʹ, and we should greatly fear that Orthodox Slavs are now shooting at Orthodox Slavs.
This notion is frightening. And we, in our weakness, are called to use the most successful, most important weapon against all that is happening. This is prayer. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, these days we are obliged to strengthen our prayer in church, at home, trusting in God as the only intercessor, as the only defender, as the only giver of peace. We cannot approve of any military interventions. Man has a tongue so as to be able to communicate with God, but also with man. And so peace talks are the only way for an Orthodox Christian to go.
This is why we call on all of you to intensify your prayers, while we here in Germany now also face a phenomenon that is new for us: refugees from Ukraine, and we are called to help wherever we can. Yesterday we, the acting bishops of the Russian Church in Germany – Vladyka Tikhon, Vladyka Iov, and I – published an appeal for all our faithful people to get involved in helping both refugees and those who remain in Ukraine in terrible conditions. We have no particular experience with housing refugees or with any other kind of assistance. But we encourage everyone to help settle these people, mostly Orthodox Christians, who have come and are coming to us. First of all, we can, in some form or measure, contribute to making them feel at peace here, we can contribute to this assistance by having bilingual faithful help these people who have lost their homes, some of their relatives – help them by translating in interactions with the authorities and doctors, help in the hospitals where they will be treated, help wherever they will be accommodated, and in all other areas where our help is needed. Some parishes have already collected food for them, both for those who have come and are coming here and for those who are staying there. We will also be collecting funds next Sunday, Forgiveness Sunday, when we all especially repent of our sins and ask the Lord for forgiveness. This Sunday all the basket collections in our churches will be for war victims or those in need, and we will pass on the funds raised not to some large organizations, but to our parishes and dioceses in Ukraine. It is important that we all participate in these events, as much as we can. Yet I ask you to make an effort, I ask you to make an effort both in prayer and in helping our brothers and sisters and to give the maximum that we can do for them.
Invoking God’s blessing upon all of you, I ask forgiveness from all of you before Lent for all my sins and shortcomings and omissions, and I ask you to do the same among yourselves so that all our sins may be washed away, especially in these days. May the blessing of God be upon on you all.
You may support the German Diocese’s work with refugees through
The Fund for Assistance to the Russian Church Abroad.
Russische orthodoxe Kirchenstiftung HypoVereinsbank Bonn
IBAN: DE20 3802 0090 0003 4461 31; BIC: HYVEDEMM402
Verwendungszweck: Flüchtlingshilfe www.rok-stiftung.de
The Russian World, or Peace, (Russkii Mir) was founded at the Holy Baptism of Russ’ in the Dniepr at Kiev by the Holy Spirit, working through Equals to the Apostles Princess Ol’ga and Great Prince Vladimir. It was consecrated, and its character as a world of peace established by the holy, martyric acts of St. Boris, St. Gleb and St. Igor who in the first centuries of its founding demonstrated Christlike love in refusing even to defend their own lives, submitting to death at the hands of their ungodly kinsmen. Its unity is that of the love of Christ, moved by the Holy Spirit, to maintain a unity of brotherhood in peace, in the bond of love.
The present attempt to enforce it by violence is a foolish, satanic betrayal of its very nature. Death threats and fratricidal coercion can neither express love, nor inspire love in its victims. A unity enforced by violence, death threats, and homicidal coercion has no spiritual integrity and can only inspire hatred, schism, and play into the hands of the enemies of Christ and His Church. This it has done and will continue to do, until the entire Russian Church condemns it, embraces national repentance, and expresses its wholehearted agreement with the wise words of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, uttered at the very outset of the current conflict.
Please. Let’s not confuse the Russki Mir with the Putinsky Mir.
Metropolitan Mark said this in May 2022:
“I consider this war a crime.”
“I find it difficult to believe that the Ukrainian part of our church wants to stay with the Russian. And Ukrainians are the most faithful members of the Russian Orthodox Church.”
I was struck by Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s (R-WY) closing remark to her Republican colleagues at the end of her presentation before the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2022: “There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
Here she rebuked the continued support of her colleagues of the attempt to install their President of choice in a coup against American democracy. Their man wanted to exercise dictatorial powers in this country like his friend and colleague, the President of the Russian Federation.
I would hate to see these kinds of words used against the ROCOR Synod should they leave off the leadership of Metropolitan Mark by continuing their silent assent to the President of the Russian Federation and his Spiritual Guide. Will history testify against the Synod with these words?
“There will come a day when Vladimir Putin is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
I would hate to read an academic paper on the ‘Loss of the Soul of ROCOR: February 24, 2022-Present’ on this site, but sadly there is plenty of material for a preliminary thesis.
Ioann, Thank you for your cogent words. All that has gone through my mind since the first statement our synod issued has been, “has ROCOR lost its soul?” More than dishonor, I experience their silence as an absolute betrayal of their shepherding duty. Who can we look to now for guidance in truth? When Putin is gone, their betrayal will remain.
Ann, Perhaps we can look forward into the future in faith, hope, and prayer for new (or newish – aka repentant) shepherds for guidance. Aren’t we always chanting about this in church? “Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.” Putin, Patriarch Kirill, and their influence are not forever. The Lord hears our prayers.
In the short term, we can look to those shepherds who do not bless this fratricidal invasion of Orthodox Christian Ukraine for guidance.
If any ROCOR Hierarch or Priest who meets this qualification wants to post their name on this thread, it would be helpful to a lot of us who are struggling.
The voice of our little sister Liza’s blood is crying to the Lord from the ground (cf. Genesis 4:10).