Moscow, February 21, 2014
Honorable Archpastors and Pastors, Dear Brothers and Sisters, Children of the Church:
It is with anxiety, pain and alarm that I continue to follow ongoing events in Kiev and other cities of Ukraine. Kiev is the birthplace of a great Orthodox civilization which united the peoples of Holy Rus. Kiev is the city of the One Font of the Baptism, the 1025th anniversary of which we only recently celebrated together with all the Local Orthodox Churches. For me, Kiev is a special, dear city, a city I have often visited, it is a city I love and know well. It is unbearably painful to hear the news of the many casualties in this holy place, of the hundreds of wounded, of the unrest in various regions of Ukraine.
Our entire multi-national Church fervently prays for peace in the Ukrainian land, for the end of civil strife. Our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are suffering one of the most dramatic moments in its history. The future fate of the Ukrainian people depends on what is now happening. So far, thank God, the specter of civil war has been averted. But this scenario may still become manifest. This will occur if the Lord allows people to abandon Divine moral commandments and reject the Christian legacy of Ukraine, if the residents of Ukraine deny respect for self, for each other and for the law.
I would like to thank the representatives of the Ukrainian episcopacy and clergy who, amidst the shouted appeals and slogans of every possible persuasion, have found the inner strength to coherently call the opponents to peace and brotherly love; those who stand firmly for the right of Ukrainians to live in concord with their faith and piety, for the preservation of traditional Ukrainian moral and religious values, the wellspring of which is the Kievan Baptismal Font, which determined the civilized development of Holy Rus.
With tears of grief from all my heart for the dead, in empathy with their loved ones, suffering together with the wounded, I beseech the pastors and flock of the Russian Orthodox Church to lift up their prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Most-Pure Mother. Let us pray for the repose of our dead brothers and sisters, for the healing of the injured and sick, for the pacification of hardened hearts, for the end of the strife and unrest in Ukraine, that the Lord sends down upon us all the spirit of love, peace, forgiveness and brotherly love in Christ!
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA