By Kostas Onisenko
The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine issued today a statement on the threat of war that appears to exist in Ukraine due to the huge concentration of Russian troops on the border with the country, in Crimea, and the Donbas areas controlled by the Russian army and separatists.
The message was addressed inside and outside Ukraine, while the publication, in addition to Ukrainian, was also made in Russian.
“We are not afraid! – is our response to another aggressive attitude of the Russian authorities. ‘We will give our souls and bodies for our freedom’ – are not just words from the Ukrainian Anthem. It is a belief, one of the characteristics of the Ukrainian nation (…). We do not ask to take something that is not ours, the Ukrainian people want to live in peace and harmony with everyone, first of all with the historical neighbors. But we will not allow the yoke, from which the Ukrainian people were liberated three decades ago, to fall on us once again,” the statement said.
This is not the first time that on behalf of the Local Ukrainian Orthodox Church we have warned the authorities of the Russian Federation and we are forced to recall the words: your criminal intentions are known to God, you will not succeed in them, as it has been said: “Devise a plan, but it will fail; State a proposal, but it will not stand, For God is with us” (Isaiah 8:10). The weapons with which you are illegally targeting us, the sword you have raised against Ukraine – will return as the wrath of God on your heads! For it has been said, “For all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).
For this reason, until the final punishment for the innocent bloodshed has not yet come to you – stop, repent, correct your guilt by ending the war and agreeing to a just peace.”
The church also called on Russian soldiers and others involved in Russian aggression to say that everyone would be called to account for their responsibilities. At the same time, addressing the people inside Ukraine who cooperate with the attacker, the message of the Church reminds the fate of Judas Iscariot.
“We are grateful to our allies, the countries of the free world, for unanimously expressing their support for Ukraine in these difficult times, and we call on the Russian authorities to stop the escalation of aggression. Just as gold is tested by fire and cleansed of dirt, so friendship, devotion to the principles of peace and democracy are confirmed by the readiness to defend them. Freedom and peace for Ukraine is peace and security for Europe and the whole world. And this is the cornerstone of a better future for Russia itself, when, sooner or later, it realizes how harmful the chosen – at the moment – authoritarian way of restoring the empire of evil is,” the message concludes.