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The damaged buildings of a children's hospital in Mariupol The damaged buildings of a children's hospital in Mariupol 

Ukraine: EU Bishops implore Russian Patriarch to intercede to stop the war

A letter addressed to Moscow’s Patriarch and signed by the President of EU Bishops is an appeal to the Russian Orthodox Church leader to intercede with the government to stop the war in Ukraine.

By Linda Bordoni

Describing his sentiments, and those of his brother bishops as “broken-hearted” as they continue to witness the suffering caused by the war in Ukraine, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich appeals to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to address an urgent appeal to Russian authorities to immediately stop the hostilities against the Ukrainian people.

The appeal comes in a letter, dated 8 March and addressed to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, whom Cardinal Hollerich calls a “brother faithful in Our Lord Jesus Christ."

The Cardinal, who is the President of the Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), speaks of the sorrow caused by “the foolishness of war” in which thousands have already lost their lives or have been forced to flee their homes and country.

Hollerich goes on to decry the violence striking the people and notes the growing need for humanitarian assistance “while diplomatic efforts have remained fruitless so far.”

“In these dark moments for humanity, accompanied by intense feelings of hopelessness and fear, many look to you, Your Holiness, as someone who could bring a sign of hope for a peaceful solution to this conflict,” he writes.

Recalling the document signed jointly by Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in 2016 in which the two leaders deplored the violence in Ukraine and called for “action at constructing peace and social solidarity,” Cardinal Hollerich implores: “Please, do not let those powerful words go in vain.”

Sharing the Pope’s feelings of anguish, which he has repeatedly expressed, the head of COMECE writes:

“I dare to implore your Holiness in the spirit of fraternity”

“Please, address an urgent appeal to Russian authorities to immediately stop the hostilities against the Ukrainian people and to show goodwill for seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict, based on dialogue, common sense, and respect for international law, while allowing safe humanitarian corridors and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance.”

He recalls a recent meeting the Patriarch had with the Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation, in which it was highlighted that “The Church can be a peacemaking force.”

Cardinal Hollerich concludes the EU bishops’ appeal noting that in this time of Lent, Christians must unite to proclaim the same Gospel and to pray to the same God, “who is the God of peace and not of war."

“Let us pray and do our utmost to help end this senseless war so that reconciliation and peace may dwell again on the European continent.”

 

10 March 2022, 17:31