Moscow Patriarch, who backs Putin, gets another plea from World Council of Churches to intervene for a ceasefire in Ukraine
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is believed to be one man that President Vladimir Putin might listen to if a peace plea is made to him to call a halt to the war, if only temporary, Russia launched against Ukraine on Feb.24.
"He leads his flock from a soaring, gilded cathedral built to celebrate Russia's victory over Napoleon, where week after week the powerful head of the Russian Orthodox Church is working to ensure that the faithful are all in on their country's invasion of Ukraine," The Washington Post wrote on April 18.
Whether warning about the "external enemies" attempting to divide the "united people" of Russia and Ukraine, or publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war's most prominent backers, said the Post.
"His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians."
World Council of Churches acting general secretary Rev. Ioan Sauca wrote to Kirill on Aprill 19 urging him to "intervene and ask publicly for a ceasefire for at least few hours during the Resurrection service."
"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," said Sauca, a Romanian Orthodox church member.
"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."
UN CHIEF'S ORTHODOX EASTER PLEA
Hours after the release of the WCC letter United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a Tweet, saying, "I am calling for an Orthodox Holy Week humanitarian pause to the war in Ukraine.
"I urge all parties – and all champions of peace around the world -- to join my Easter appeal."
The Russian Orthodox is the biggest Orthodox church in the WCC, which has more than half a billion Christians from Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox traditions worldwide as its members.
The WCC said ti receives daily requests from the faithful in Russia and Ukraine but also from all over the world to contact 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.
In the lettler he urges 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."