02/14/2022, 18.11
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Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew makes an appeal for peace in Ukraine

by Nikos Tzoitis

Bartholomew calls on all parties to follow the path of dialogue to achieve “peace, stability and justice” in his homily in the presence of Ukrainian diplomats. The use of force causes only "war, violence, sorrow and death". Like Pope Francis, he says “war is madness.” He urges the Church to commit to the path of peace.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew yesterday called on all parties to follow the path of dialogue to achieve “peace, stability and justice” in Ukraine.

The archbishop of Constantinople made his appeal in his homily during the Mass he celebrated yesterday in the presence of various consular officials in Istanbul, including those from the Ukraine.

Bartholomew called on all religious leaders, politicians and people of good will to avoid rhetorical statements. The use of force is not the answer and can only cause "war and violence, sorrow and death”.

Action must be taken to avoid harm to the people of the Ukrainian and beyond. A war in Europe could turn into a third world war.

At this time in the Church calendar, which according to Christian tradition anticipates Easter celebrations, Christians should pray with fervour and heart to maintain peace.

His Holiness stressed that we must strongly oppose the “possibility of a new war in Europe, resulting from the escalation of violent rhetoric and militarization of the borders between Russia and Ukraine, [and which] should be unequivocally opposed. We call for enduring peace, stability and justice in the region.

“Peace is a matter of choice and must be shared by all the forces engaged in this extremely complex and sensitive geopolitical context. The duty of us all is to pray for and actively contribute to a peaceful resolution of conflict situations and to the unconditional respect and protection of human rights and dignity. Human conflict may very well be inevitable in this fallen and broken world; but war and violence are certainly to be opposed with every fiber of our being.”

The ecumenical patriarch noted that the ancient Greeks attached great importance to peace. Citing Benjamin Franklin, he also said, “there never was a good war or a bad peace.”

“War can appear sweet only to those who have not experienced it. Indeed, if we allow our hearts and minds to freely express themselves, without any fear or passion, they will certainly not speak in favor of war, but they will unequivocally praise peace.

“We firmly believe that there is no solution possible to preserve and guarantee peace outside the path of dialogue, which abolishes the conditions that lead to violence and war.

“Peace comes from mutual respect and cooperation.” Amid “growing uncertainty with regard to human affairs, the word of the Church has to be a clear message of reconciliation and peace, of love and justice, of brotherhood and solidarity.

"We call upon all parties involved to pursue this path of dialogue and respect for international law, in order to bring an end to the conflict and allow all Ukrainians to live in harmony. Arms are not the solution. On the contrary, they can only promise war and violence, sorrow and death.”

Bartholomew also mentioned "our beloved brother" Pope Francis who recently said, “Let us not forget, war is madness.”

“All Church ministers, all representatives of religious traditions, all those in position of authority, all people of good will, each one of us, should call for a peaceful resolution of this dangerous escalation of words and means that weight heavily and ominously upon the head of the Ukrainian people.”

For Bartholomew, “Silence and indifference are not an option. There is no peace without constant vigilance. Therefore, we are all ‘sentenced’ to peace, which means, destined to the permanent struggle for its establishment and defense.”

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