15 February 2016, 10:11
Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis call on believers in Ukraine to stop conflict
Havana, February 15, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Francis have called for overcoming the conflict in Ukraine.
"We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace," Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis said in a joint declaration they signed following a meeting in Havana on Friday.
They urged their Churches in Ukraine "to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict."
"It is our hope that the schism between the Orthodox faithful in Ukraine may be overcome through existing canonical norms, that all the Orthodox Christians of Ukraine may live in peace and harmony, and that the Catholic communities in the country may contribute to this, in such a way that our Christian brotherhood may become increasingly evident," the document says.
"It is our hope that our meeting may also contribute to reconciliation wherever tensions exist between Greek Catholics and Orthodox. It is today clear that the past method of 'uniatism', understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re-establish unity," the patriarch and the pope said in the declaration.
The Orthodox and the Greek Catholics are in need of reconciliation and of mutually acceptable forms of co-existence, and they are "united not only by the shared Tradition of the Church of the first millennium, but also by the mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in the world today. This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism."
"We are not competitors but brothers, and this concept must guide all our mutual actions as well as those directed to the outside world. We urge Catholics and Orthodox in all countries to learn to live together in peace and love, and to be 'in harmony with one another'," the declaration says.
"Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions," it says.