Met. Arseny to “People of Peace”: We have choice – to be human or non-human

Abbot of the Holy Dormition Sviatogorsk Lavra, Metropolitan Arseny (Yakovenko) of Sviatogorsk. Photo: seraphim.com.ua

Vladyka Arseny said that the war in the Donbass is a tragedy for both the residents of Eastern Ukraine and Western Ukraine.

We all trace our lineage from Adam and Eve, righteous Abel and righteous Noah, therefore we are all brothers and sisters to each other,” - said the abbot of the Holy Dormition Sviatogorsk Lavra, Metropolitan Arseny of Sviatogorsk on September 21, 2020, at the International Forum "People of Peace" broadcast on the "1Kozak" channel.

Vladyka Arseny said that the war in the Donbass is a tragedy for both the residents of Eastern and Western Ukraine.

“For the feast of the Sviatogorsk Icon of the Holy Theotokos, people from Donetsk, Horlivka, Luhansk, Luhansk region came to us. They came with their troubles, grief and misfortunes,” said Vladyka. “One had his house broken, another's neighbour was killed, the third one had three children killed, someone's mother was torn to pieces by a mine. At the same time, pilgrims from the Rivne and Volyn regions arrived. One said: "They sent my nephew in a coffin, we buried him three days ago. His mum is black with grief." Another said: "My son was killed; he was a sexton in the church. He was taken (to the army – Ed.) at the age of 19, two weeks later he returned in a coffin." And after such a mother's grief, she came here to the Lavra to pray."

Met. Arseny asked those present a question – how could the pilgrims from Western and Eastern Ukraine treat each other after this? And he continued his story.

“After the end of the feast, many people gathered from Donetsk, Luhansk, Rivne, Volyn regions and began to complain to one another. One had his house damaged, and another had his son sent in a coffin. And so, they told all this, and then wept and hugged together. Then the Rivne residents and Volhynians got on the bus, and our Donbass people waved at them,” the bishop said.

Our people feel Christ's love in their hearts, Vladyka believes. “In Western Europe, they heard about Christ, but we live with Christ,” Vladyka concluded.

The Metropolitan gave another illustrative example: when during the Second World War captured Germans were led through Konstantinovka, women cooked potatoes in buckets and threw them to the Nazis – "Pitied them!" And this despite the fact that all had husbands, brothers and fathers at the front, and many were killed.

In his address, the hierarch also reminded the audience of the well-known words of Patriarch Pavel of Serbia about the choice of a person and stressed that it is in our power to be human or non-human.

In conclusion, Metropolitan Arseny urged those present not to waste time and use it for good deeds.

As reported earlier, the Primate of the UOC addressed the participants of the International Forum "People of Peace".

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