2014-04-30 16:01:00

Russian patriarch urges clergy to remain "above fighting" in Ukraine, to stay within "Divine Mandate"

Moscow, April 30, Interfax - The Orthodox Church's role in the civil conflict in Ukraine is to reconcile people, not to serve anyone's political interests, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

"The position our Church has assumed - and this position has remained unchanged for the past 25 years - is that our Church never yields to any political temptations and never serves anyone's political interests. It is our position of principle that the Church must remain above fighting. It must preserve its peacekeeping potential even when everyone thinks no peacekeeping potential exists any more," Patriarch Kirill told the Supreme Church Council in Moscow on Wednesday.

He said the Church can and must give support to the conflicting sides "exclusively within the framework of its Divine Mandate," within what "God entrusted upon the Church." "We must do the pastoral soul-caring work and reconcile people. But we must not in any case serve any of the political views, positions or concepts. In that case the Church, remaining above fighting, will be able to preserve its peacekeeping potential," the Russian patriarch said.

Noting that both "the Right and Left" belong to the Church, Patriarch Kirill said that, the Church "cannot have political enemies." The Church's enemies are "those who rise against God, against the Divine Law, and who use force while doing so," he said.

Addressing the leaders of the Synodal organizations and representatives of other leading church agencies, the Russian patriarch urged them to do all they can and help ensure that, "peace return to Ukrainian soil, that people find reconciliation, that law and order be restored, human rights guaranteed and human dignity not trampled underfoot."