Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, in an interview to the Cyprus edition of Kathimerini says the suffering in Ukraine will “forever stain” those who caused it and criticizes the Moscow Patriarch’s blessing of the war.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy, it is a shame that will forever stain those who caused it, those who proved they have no fear of God. It looks like the Holy Week has not ended for the Ukrainian people who suffer greatly for the war (and) for the mothers, on both sides, who mourn their children. Christ has risen, however,” Vartholomaios says.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is sending a message of love and support to the people of Ukraine; he also decisively rejects rumors of the Patriarchate’s intervention in the internal affairs of the Church of Cyprus, saying that any such rumors are “disrespectful” of the self-governing church’s head, Archbishop Chrysostomos.
Asked if he is concerned by the continuing war, Vartholomaios said: “Of course, we are worried. And it hurts us deeply…we have said, several times, that war is not the answer. It should not even be a last resort. The way to resolve differences is dialogue, and dialogue alone. I would not like to comment on the stance and the choice’s of Russia’s political leadership, which is being judged on the results and will further be judged in the near and far future, and by history itself, whose pages are being written in the blood of the innocent. However, we are convinced that the Russian people, at least our Christian Orthodox brothers, cannot agree with what is being done to their neighbors, the Ukrainian people. And we all saw that in the reaction of a brave segment that opposes the fratricidal war and are for peace.”
Asked about the stance of the Patriarch of Moscow on the war, Vartholomaios notes that “in the face of the death of innocent people, the bombing of unarmed civilians, the razing of whole cities, in the face of this human tragedy, you cannot have sermons declaring a war ‘holy.’ This is something very sad. It causes us the deepest sadness and pain. But it causes more pain to the Ukrainians themselves. Because you cannot declare yourself a brother to a people and bless the war your state is waging against them. You cannot stubbornly insist that the Ukrainian church belongs to you and let the faithful…be killed and their churches destroyed by Russian bombardments. Unless they hope the military invasion will settle their ecclesiastical claims.”