Russian priest arrested for preaching against the war

10-03-2022

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Servicemen arresting somebody. Photo not related with content. Photo AFP, Vasily Maximov

"Brothers and sisters in Christ are now killing Christians. It is impossible to live with this fact." For this statement, made in a sermon in the church, the Russian priest Ioann Burdin was arrested.

Zona Media reports that Burdin is one of the first to suffer under a new law, which criminalised calls for the end of the war. The Russian priest says that he finds it irreconcilable that Russian Christians are killing Ukrainian Christians. "For me, this is about the same as if I would come to our Church and stab someone who is praying because I did not like what he was saying. We cannot break the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" so easily."

Burdin is a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian village of Karabanovo in the Kostroma region. During one of his sermons, he announced that he would pray for the war's end. According to him, however, that was not the point of his sermon. "It is a deeper call to people to retain humanity in their hearts; so that they do not feel hatred for either Ukrainians, Russians or the Americans."

Furthermore, the priest did not want to comment on the speech of the Russian Patriarch Kirill. Burdin: "I will die and stand before God. The Patriarch will not answer God for me. I will answer for myself, for what I did and said. The same applies to the Patriarch: he will appear before God, and I will not be responsible for him, but he himself."

Burdin's statements, however, led to his arrest. He was summoned to the police station, heard and charged with "discrediting" Russia's war in Ukraine, Dagen reports. The new law made it illegal to question the Russian invasion. Violating this legislation can lead to imprisonment or a fine.

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