UOC Chancellor about Church and protests: Hatred is not Christianity
If the Church calls to the barricades, it's a true marker this is not a Church but a political organization in church vestments, says Met. Anthony (Pakanich).
There is no sin in a peaceful protest within the framework of the law, but where there is hatred, aggression and there are outright attacks, this is no longer Christianity, no matter under whatever noble slogans all this is done. The Chancellor of the UOC, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspil and Brovary, told the Orthodox Life portal about why the Church does not call to the barricades.
“When unrest and turmoil occurs in the state, one can often hear from various activists accusations of the Church that She does not support protest actions,” the UOC hierarch noted. “But you need to understand that the Church is higher, wider and deeper than any momentary political action.”
He recalled that the children of the Church, as a rule, are on one and the other side of the barricades, and therefore "if the Church goes to the barricades, it is only to stand between the opposing sides and call for peace."
“One of the main functions of the Church is peacemaking, because if the Church calls to the barricades, this is a true marker of the fact that this is no longer a Church but a political organization in church robes,” stressed the UOC Chancellor.
According to him, when a person participates in a confrontation, “especially in a crowd, he often becomes radicalized, loses the ability to reason soberly and sensibly, and demonizes those on the other side. At this point it is only a step to bloodshed."
“The Church cannot participate in this, and only a person who is absorbed in the passion of struggle can accuse Her of ‘inaction’ and ‘indifference’. But passion is already a sin, because it blinds, distorts reality, and antagonizes,” specified Metropolitan Anthony.
He added that it is very difficult to sober up a person blind with hatred. But it is worth at least trying to remind him/her “that they are Christians, that they are not part of the crowd, that they are children of God by grace, turning daily to God with ‘Our Father’ prayer, that at the end of this prayer there are the words: ‘... forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’."
“Peaceful protest within the framework of the law against any injustice is, of course, not a sin. But when it comes to hatred and aggression, directed at whoever or whatever, when there are outright attacks, this is no longer Christianity, no matter under what noble slogans all this is done. Let us be more sober in our attitude to ourselves and more tolerant of each other and bear in mind the only necessary thing – about the salvation of our souls, and ‘all these things will be given to you as well’, according to the Scriptures,” summed up the UOC Chancellor.
As the UOJ reported, in view of the ongoing mass protests in Belarus, the Primate of the Belarusian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslawye, exhorted the opposing sides to stop hostility and hatred and to all together seek a way out of the current situation.