WCC urges Patriarch Kirill: “intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire during the Resurrection service”

Ivars Kupcis/WCC

WCC- In a letter to H.H. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia on 19 April, World Council of Churches (WCC) acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca urged Patriarch Kirill to “intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire for at least few hours during the Resurrection service.”

The letter reads: “I am aware that it is not in your power and authority to stop the war or to influence those who have such powers of decisions. But the faithful are waiting for a comforting word from Your Holiness. They think that if you come out with a public statement and request, as the spiritual father of so many millions of Orthodox in both Russia and Ukraine, that might have an impact.”

This is Sauca’s second letter to Patriarch Kirill; in the first he urged the patriarch to be a voice of mediation and help stop the war.

“The Orthodox and Greek Catholic faithful in Ukraine, in Russia and all over the world are preparing to celebrate at the end of this week the most important feast of the year, the Day of Resurrection,” wrote Sauca. “It is well known that for Eastern Christianity this day has a special resonance and importance.”

Sauca’s letter touched upon the moments in history that remind us, even in the most difficult moments of persecution, wars and suffering, nobody could stop the faithful singing and proclaiming boldly the Easter hymn which affirms the victory of life over death.

“In the light of these affirmations which are the core of our very identity, I have dared to write to you, with deep respect and filial love,” Sauca wrote. “People lost their trust and hope in politicians and in a possible peaceful negotiation and a ceasefire.”

The WCC receives daily requests from the faithful in Russia and Ukraine but also from all over the world to contact Patriarch Kirill to ask him to intervene and mediate for a peaceful solution, for dialogue rather than confrontation, for end to the fraternal blood shedding. 

“We hear now worrying news that plans are to attack churches during the Easter night celebrations and to spread even more terror, fear, mutual accusations and demonization,” wrote Sauca. “We have kept asking the political leaders for a ceasefire and for return to the table of dialogue since the very beginning of hostilities but with no result.”

Sauca notes that, on the contrary, the war has intensified, and urges Patriarch Kirill to intervene to “give a chance to the soldiers and to the terrified civilians to embrace and greet one another with the paschal greeting, to silence for a moment the bombs and the missiles and to hear instead the triumphant sound of the church bells and the joyful signing of the faithful people.”   

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