Bartholomew calls for dialogue as the only way to stop the war in Ukraine
by Nikos Tzoitis

During a meeting with young people in the Phanar, the ecumenical patriarch said that no row can be settled by war. He slammed Russia’s invasion, justified by pretexts like NATO on the borders. Nothing justifies attacking “innocent people”. Bartholomew also criticised Patriarch Kirill who speaks of “holy war”.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Speaking to a group of young students during an audience at the Phanar, see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that no problem or issue in the world can be solved through war. Had the path of dialogue been chosen, “they would certainly have found a solution.”

For Bartholomew, Russia was wrong to invade Ukraine and Russian fears of future, such as NATO presence, did not constitute a threat by Ukraine against the Russian Federation, nothing in any case to warrant taking “up arms and attack civilians, innocent people, children” and “destroy schools, hospitals, theatres, churches.”

With respect to granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church in 2018, the ecumenical patriarch affirmed that it was Ukraine’s right, the same right of other local Churches, including Russia’s.

Thus, there is no basis to blame the war on the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church.

Finally, Bartholomew expressed his deep regrets for the position taken by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow who has sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin and has described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “holy war”.