Bp. Victor about situation in Donbass: Forgiveness is the only way to peace

Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka. Photo: screenshot/YouTube/112 Ukraine

From the very beginning of the conflict in Donbass, the UOC has called for peace, mutual understanding and common ground to end the war, the hierarch emphasized.

In order to overcome the trials in eastern Ukraine and come to peace and unity, we must unconditionally forgive each other. Bishop Victor (Kotsaba), vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations, said this on the air of the project “People. Day of the Baptism of Rus” on the TV channel 112 Ukraine.

“The events in Donbass are an extremely painful issue for us, for every conscientious person who lives in Ukraine, for every citizen of Ukraine,” said the UOC hierarch. “From the very beginning of these events, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has called for peace, mutual understanding and looking for the common ground that could end this conflict.”

The bishop recalled the words of the Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, who at the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine said that in order for us to endure this test, we must unconditionally forgive each other.

“Then some opponents raised their voices: what does it mean – to forgive?” noted Vladyka Victor. “Those began to measure everyone by the degree of their offence. However, this will not lead to any result. One of the holy fathers says such wonderful words: the word "forgive" defeats Satan. This is a word that is extremely powerful, if we not only pronounce it but really implant it in our heart and it settles there – even if we may be offended more."

For some it may be more difficult, the hierarch agreed, "but the Church always communicates this idea, and the path of forgiveness is the only one to lead us to peace, to unity, to mutual understanding."

He stressed that the entire fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prays and will continue to pray for peace till the Lord grants it to us. “At the moment the UOC has five eparchies on the territory not controlled by Ukraine, there are almost a thousand of our parishes, where worshipers pray in their temples for peace in Ukraine, for mutual understanding, for overcoming hostility, aggression, for a return of the bright future.”

“I will tell you one case Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk personally told me about, whose eparchy is divided into two parts. Once, when he was travelling from one territory to the other, the military asked him, "Where are you going?" He replied, "Home. There is my home, my clergy, my flock there." In the evening, on his way back, the soldier at the check point asked him again, "Where are you going?" The metropolitan said, "Home. My home is there too, I live there, my flock is there too." A pastor cannot divide people into right and wrong, left and right. The Church’s position is to be beyond all of this. If She takes only one side, She will become incomprehensible and probably even hostile for the other side. The Church should be above everything and show the path that can lead to healing, overcoming evil and establishing peace. For this we pray and will continue to pray with the fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – and this is more than 12.5 thousand parishes and monasteries. We will continue to pray until the Lord bestows peace to us,” Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka summed up.

As the UOJ reported, within the framework of the “People. Day of the Baptism of Rus”, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine said that the UOC prays to God and calls on people to reconcile and not fight with one other.

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