Speech at the Prayer Event for Peace in Ukraine

On Friday, April 29 the WCC the 11th Korea Accompaniment Group organized a Prayer Service for peace in Ukraine in front of the Russian Embassy in Seoul. Among the speakers at the event was the Metropolitan of Korea, who in his short address said the following:

My Beloved, Christ is Risen!

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak at today’s Prayer for Peace in Ukraine and to state the position of the vast majority of the Orthodox Faithful on the war.

During the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine, many people have the impression that the Orthodox Church is in favor of war. This impression is of course due to the sad fact that the Moscow Patriarchate has not only not condemned the war, and the war crimes, but has directly or indirectly blessed it.

To those who ask us, “Are you Orthodox in favor of war?”, we reply explicitly and unequivocally: “No we are not. The teaching and tradition of our Orthodox Church have never accepted any aggressive war. War is the greatest sin that exists. War is the opposite of the Gospel we believe in. Those Orthodox, from the ecclesiastical or political sphere, who advocate otherwise, are not entitled to be called Orthodox Christians. Or, to put it in another way: If those who support the war believe that their attitude is in line with their Orthodox faith, then we suggest that they read the Gospel again and the Canons of the Orthodox Church. However, we are unable to understand their attitude because it is against the will of God. And whatever is contrary to the will of God finds us the opposite.

And since it was heard from representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church that the war against Ukraine is a “holy war”, let us hear what His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the primordial Church of Constantinople, whose founder is Apostle Andrew: “This war is not a holy and blessed war, as some claim. It is a devilish war, an evil war!”

The reason, then, that compels us to condemn the fratricidal war against Ukraine, as well as any war and any violent act against the image of God, is not political, but clearly moral.

I am here today, along with some members of our Clergy as well as Laymen from the Orthodox Metropolis of Korea, in this prayerful event, organized by WCC the 11th Korea Accompaniment Group, against the war and for its victims, not as a politician but as the spiritual father of all Orthodox living in Korea, to reiterate the obvious that has been heard since the day the war began countless times from the lips of the majority of Orthodox around the world: Stop the war immediately. The war will have no winners, only losers. War crimes will not make anyone happy. Only shame, pain, tears, refugees, and ruins will be left behind.

Please allow me to finish with a recent statement by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the heartfelt wish that His word will soon be fulfilled: “We are in favor of justice, in favor of truth. Justice and truth are with Ukraine, that is why we are with Ukraine. The Gospel says: We Christians believe that the truth is Christ himself. Christ, therefore, will liberate Ukraine, because Ukraine has the truth on its side. We all pray, with all our hearts, for this catastrophic war to end as soon as possible.” Thank you very much.