Following messages from the Kremlin in line with Patriarch Kirill, a senior prelate of the Russian Patriarchate, he spoke of the war in Ukraine, saying it was “our common tragedy” and thanked the churches in Poland and Romania for helping Ukrainian refugees.

Vladimir Putin and Patriarch KirillPhoto: ALEXEI DRUZHININ / AFP / Profimedia

Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, a member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Russian Patriarchate, sent a message to the World Council of Churches, entitled “The Purpose of God’s Love, Incarnate in Jesus Christ, Is Reconciliation and unity “, according to the Russian Patriarchate.

He said that with the “blessing of Partner Kirill”, the Russian Orthodox Church was “praying daily for the speedy restoration of peace.”

The Metropolitan claimed that the Church provided assistance to refugees who came to Russia, and then thanked the churches in Poland, Romania and other European countries that also provided assistance to Ukrainian refugees.

“Millions of refugees have arrived in Poland, Romania and other European countries. We are grateful to the Polish, Romanian and other Local Orthodox Churches, as well as to the non-Orthodox Christians and all the people of good faith who help the refugees. This is our common tragedy and we must survive together, “said the high prelate, who sent a similar message two days ago, referring to” the misfortune that befell the people. ”

The statements come in the context in which Patriarch Kirill got on the Kremlin’s train, striving to theologically justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Gay parades and the “metaphysical significance” of war in Kirill’s view

Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Patriarch Kirill, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, said gay community parades were one of the reasons Russia invaded the neighboring country.

He also described war as a struggle of “metaphysical significance” for mankind to follow God’s laws. “What is happening today in the field of international relations is not only of political significance. We are talking about something different and much more important than politics. We are talking about man’s salvation, “he said.

Kirill’s pro-Kremlin position created a chasm between the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian churches.

The Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Ian Sauca wrote to Kirill asking him to “intervene and mediate with the authorities to stop this war.”

Kirill refused, saying NATO was expanding its military presence on Russia’s borders and ignoring Moscow’s fears of a possible attack. The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church has accused foreign forces of deliberately creating a chasm between Russians and Ukrainians and of trying to “re-educate” Ukrainian people to become enemies of Russia.

Hard attack on Pope Francis and Putin’s arguments by Kirill

Kirill’s position aroused the displeasure of Pope Francis, who said in an interview with Italian media that he “cannot become Putin’s altar boy.”

In response, the Russian Patriarchate expressed a view that Pope Francis “chose the wrong tone to convey the content of this conversation” he had with Kirill on March 16.

In fact, however, the Russian Orthodox Church is taking over the Kremlin’s rhetoric, which justifies the invasion of Ukraine and the danger that NATO poses to Russia.

“Moreover, Patriarch Kirill recalled that at the end of the Soviet era, Russia was assured that NATO would not move an inch to the east. However, this promise was broken, even the former Soviet Baltic republics joined NATO. As a result, the most dangerous situation has developed: NATO borders are located 130 kilometers from St. Petersburg, the flight time of the missiles is only a few minutes. If Ukraine were admitted to NATO, then the flight time to Moscow would also be a few minutes. Russia could not and cannot allow this to happen, “said the Russian Patriarchate.

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