Moscow Patriarchate Dept. of External Relations
Synod of Bishops of ROCOR
There can be nothing more important for us today than the continuing
fratricide which rages on the territory of the Ukraine, taking away ever
What is happening today, primarily in the Donetsk and Lugansk
regions, and how are the members of our Holy Church to think of what is
Internecine strife has now flared up in the southern regions of historical Rus.
The results of this bloody conflict horrify one. There are no longer
one hundred, as was the case in winter in Kiev, but many, many hundreds
of people have died, there are thousands of wounded and left without a
roof over their heads. Only the devil can celebrate victory when
brothers come into conflict, destroying each other, inflicting wounds
upon each other and weakening the vital strength of the people.
And, of course, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Church of the
spiritually indivisible Rus, cannot divide the one people of God
according to political, national, social or any other principle. The
Church fulfills her mission entrusted to her by the Lord Jesus Christ,
and not the orders or commissions of any political forces. This is how
she is different from certain religions by name but in essence secular
Internecine strife has happened more than once in our history. It was
this that led to the weakening of Kievan Rus and the collapse of
alienated principalities under attack from Batu Khan, to the terrible
Time of Troubles in the Russian state in the seventeenth century, to the
monstrous in scale bloodshed and setting up for many years ahead of the
godless regime at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The lessons of history have also shown to us that internecine strife
always engenders the threat of the submission of our Fatherland to
external forces. As of old, now too before us arises in these instances
the danger of the loss of true sovereignty of the people. Sovereignty
which is expressed in the opportunity and ability to build one’s life on
the foundation of the moral, spiritual and cultural values that
together with divine grace were adopted by our ancestors in the font of
Kiev at the Baptism of Rus, which were nurtured and assimilated
throughout our many-centuries history.
I appeal to all within whose power it is to take decisions: stop the
bloodshed at once, enter into real negotiations for peace and justice.
There can be no victors in internecine strife, there can be no political
advantages which are more precious than the lives of people.
Concerning the Church, then her weapon and shield is prayer and the
Word of God, which ‘is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two
edged sword’ (Heb. 4:12).
I call upon all the children of the Russian Orthodox Church to
strengthen their prayers and to keep ever more strictly the recently
begun Apostles’ Fast. I especially call upon the monastic houses: pray
now to the Lord as our pious ancestors knew how to pray during the
terrible times of upheaval; as the heroic founders of Russian
monasticism Ss. Anthony and Theodosius implored the heavenly Father
during internecine strife; as the reconciler of the Russian Lands St.
Sergius of Radonezh prayed for an end to the hateful divisions of this
world; as St. Tikhon, Patriarch of All Russia, and the holy martyr
Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev called upon the Lord during the days of
bloody chaos and civil war.
May there now in all our churches be offered unceasingly a special
prayer for peace and the overcoming of internecine strife, the text of
which I have today blessed for use.
‘And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your
whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless’ (1 Thess. 5:23).
Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia