Russian Orthodox Churches in Europe strive for peace despite anti-Russian sentiments


Eastern Europe


Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (R) and Orthodox priests release white doves. Photo AFP, Kirill Kudryavtsev

The Russian Orthodox Churches have received much hatred since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yet, they are trying to maintain peace in their parishes, Vladimir Legoyda says. He is the chairman of the Synodal Department for Church Relations with Society and the Media of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Despite the hardships, it is still possible to maintain peace in the parishes where this could theoretically be a problem, Legoyda said, according to Ria Novosti. He points out that this might not be easy because of the anti-Russian sentiment that dominates the European media. “However, so far, the churches are coping.”

Earlier, hateful incidents occurred in which Russian Orthodox Churches in Europe were targeted. Some churches were smeared with paint, while other times, priests were attacked with paint.

According to Legoyda, the head of the department for external church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk “feels, knows and understands all this very well”, as he spent several years in Italy himself. That is reported by IRP.news.

Striving for peace

Patriarch Kirill says that Russians should not consider Ukrainians as their enemies, Ria Novosti writes. “It is essential that this (hostile, ed) feeling does not arise in our hearts that there is an enemy. We must pray today that the Lord will strengthen the fraternal feelings of the peoples of Holy Russia so that the unity of our church becomes even stronger”, the Patriarch said in a sermon on Wednesday.

Kirill furthermore pointed out that the Orthodox faith is still preserved in Ukraine, despite the schism that broke up the church in the country. As reported by IRP.news, he said that “our brothers and sisters, archpriests and shepherds, united around the throne of the Lord continue to pray I believe, for the cessation of warfare and the establishment of peace in the expanses of historical Russia.”



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