Russian evangelicals urge Putin to stop the Ukrainian war


Eastern Europe


A damaged church in Irpin, Kyiv region. Photo EPA, Roman Pilipey

Over 300 Russian evangelical pastors signed an open letter in which they condemned the war in Ukraine. They call for repentance and ask their leaders to “stop this senseless bloodshed”.

Despite the increasing censorship and risks of prison sentences, the Christians signed an open letter demanding that the hostility towards the neighbouring country ceases and that the bloodshed be stopped. The letter calls the Russian attack “full-scale hostile”. It stresses that Russia must repent “first before God, then before the Ukrainian people”. This reported Evangelical Focus.

According to the Christian French news website Evangeliques, the signatories cite several passages from the Bible, including Jeremiah 18, 7-8 and state: “The Holy Scriptures exhort us to withdraw “our hands from evil” and to seek “the ways of peace”. They warn that “he who sows evil will reap it”. According to them, the war destroys “not only Ukraine but also Russia - its people, its economy, its morality, its future”.

According to Christianity Today, the signatories are mainly Baptists and Pentecostal pastors as well as other Christian leaders from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities across Russia. The text was made public on the website of a Protestant publishing house on March 2nd but has since then been removed.

According to the writers, it is important at the moment not to fall short of beautifying paraphrases of what is going on. “The time has come when each of us must call things by their proper names.”


The letter comes after fierce criticism from Ukrainian evangelicals, who demanded condemnation and not just prayers for peace. “Your unions have congratulated Putin, giving thanks for the freedom of belief,” said Taras Dyatlik, the Overseas Council regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “The time has come to make use of that freedom.” This is reported by Christianity Today.

Dyatlik’s colleague, Valerii Antoniuk, went even further. “Where are your Bonhoeffer’s, where are your Barths?” the head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists asked on Facebook. “Your silence now is the blood and tears of Ukrainian children, mothers, and soldiers — that is on your hands.”


Taras Dyatlik is pleased that Russian evangelical Christians now dare to criticise the Russian attack. He also emphasises that he is praying for them. This reports the Christian Swedish daily Dagen.

“They are really risking their lives. But they show their love for God and for his body: we are united in the Spirit.”



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