ROCOR bishop on Ukrainian war: This is an evil that cannot be justified
Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe said that he condemns the persecution of believers of the UOC by the Ukrainian authorities.
Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, a hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, has deplored the war in Ukraine and called for its end. His statement was published on the diocese's website.
"I don't know how to express it more clearly: war is evil. It cannot be justified. God will bless peacemakers, as the Lord Himself has said," the hierarch stated.
He emphasized that his stance on the matter is not political but intrinsically religious. "We stand against all war, and this war in particular, as we stand also against bloodshed, and against persecution in all cases — whoever may be their perpetrators. We have already stated many times that the military actions in Ukraine are wrong," he said, highlighting the suffering that war inflicts on people.
Bishop Irenei mentioned that since the war began, he and his felllow bishops in Europe have stood against it whole-heartedly and vocally. They have built upon this stance with action. They have raised large sums of money that have been transmitted to humanitarian relief funds in Ukraine. They have received formal thanks from Ukrainian church leaders for the support of their suffering people. They have opened and operated food banks to provide food to Ukrainian refugees in the UK and Europe. They have assisted in housing and supporting refugee families. They have run a summer camp for children of Ukrainian refugee families in Europe. They have welcomed refugee priests and integrated them into our parishes. They have opened a new parish in Switzerland to cater to large groups of Ukrainian refugees in a region where there was no parish before.
Furthermore, Bishop Irenei stressed that he stands against the persecution of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) by secular authorities, "a reality that is well documented and against which there have been calls raised by religious leaders all across the world."
At the end of his statement, the hierarch noted, "There are those who will always try to politicise this, but we must and will ignore these false accusations and strive simply to follow the example of Christ. In the face of this sinister war, with the bloodshed it continues to cause and the persecution of innocents that it fosters, let us strive together to help all those innocents, and to bring a swift and longed-for end to this blight on human dignity."
Previously, it was reported that according to a Cypriot hierarch's opinion, the war in Ukraine could mark the beginning of a third world war.