WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., April 28, 2022 — The Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) denounces the horrific and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military under the orders of President Putin and the attempt to bestow religious legitimacy to the war by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.
The indiscriminate and unjustifiable bombing of innocent civilian population centers including schools and hospitals, the rapes, mass executions and war crimes committed by Russian soldiers have shocked the entire world. Millions have been forced to flee their homes as refugees from a brutal war in which Orthodox Christians have been ordered by their political and religious leaders to kill other Orthodox Christians.
In 1917, Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow, formerly Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska and Archbishop of North America, in response to the actions of the Bolshevik government, stated: “…free the imprisoned, cease the bloodshed, violence, destruction, persecution of the faith…Otherwise you will have to answer for all the righteous blood shed by you (Luke 11.51), and you who have taken the sword will perish by the sword (Matt. 26.52).” Because of his continuous opposition to government policies to restrict and infiltrate the Church, the Bolsheviks martyred Patriarch Tikhon in 1925.
We call upon Patriarch Kirill and all faithful Orthodox Christians in Russia to follow the courageous example of St. Tikhon and other martyrs of Orthodoxy by demanding an immediate end to the killing and destruction of their brothers and sisters in Ukraine. Let us pray that they will use every means at their disposal to swiftly turn the swords into plowshares by opposing persistently and unequivocally the dehumanizing violence and destruction in Ukraine.
May our risen Lord Jesus Christ during these forty days following the celebration of the Resurrection by Orthodox Christians globally, move hearts, minds and mountains to end the bloodshed and destruction in Ukraine and bring lasting peace before Pentecost.
George D. Karcazes, Secretary, Orthodox Christian Laity
[OCL is a 35-year old 501(c)(3) educational ministry advocating for the administrative unity, accountability, transparency and conciliar governance of all Orthodox Christian jurisdictions in America as one local, autocephalous Church.]