Orthodox pray for the salvation of Donbass
Message of peace from the Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol in the face of the risk of war between Moscow and Kiev. Ilarion appeals that the "united, hard-working and Orthodox" Donbass be spared. Monasteries should prepare to welcome the needy. The faithful must extend a hand to their neighbour.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Orthodox Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol, Ilarion (Shukalo), of the Ukrainian jurisdiction loyal to the Russian Patriarchate, has addressed a message to the clergy and people "of the Donbass entrusted to God". Ilarion has asked them to intensify prayers for peace in the face of the renewed war and conflict throughout the territory of the metropolis.
The text reflects the anguish "because once again we find ourselves in total uncertainty about tomorrow, which promises nothing good. How often in recent years have we had to endure this cruel war? The bleeding wounds of the wars are still open, the houses of our poor people have not yet been rebuilt, nor have the desecrated shrines of our diocese".
Ilarion explains that the region is known throughout the world for its success in work and production, but it is also to be praised for the steadfastness of its faith: "It is no coincidence that we are talking about the Orthodox Donbass, which knows how to work, but also how to pray". The local people have shown mutual solidarity, even the monasteries have made themselves available to the displaced and the suffering.
In addition to the threats and bombings, the situation is aggravated by the serious epidemiological situation, with many people ill with coronavirus and very precarious health care, which "we will have to compensate with ever more intense prayer. We do not have the strength to change the situation, but Almighty God can save and change things in the blink of an eye'.
Ilarion recalls the words of Blessed Ephrem Syrus, according to whom "everything comes from God, good, pain and shame: the first by grace, the second by edification, and the third by concession". On the eve of the beginning of Lent, these words and circumstances "call for the most authentic conversion. By changing ourselves, we will also be able to change the sad reality around us".
The monasteries, experienced in welcoming pilgrims, are invited to open their doors to all those in need, "who need shelter, food and consolation". Instead, all the faithful "must not remain indifferent to one another. They must extend their hand to their neighbour and show by their actions that they belong to Christ".
The Donbass prayer is "for the entire community of the one Church of Christ, made up of men of peace who appeal to all people of good will, and to those on whom decisions depend, to bring about peace, the preservation of the common good and mutual understanding".
The Metropolitan concluded with words of hope: 'I sincerely believe that we will be able to live happily in our beautiful, united and hard-working Orthodox Donbass! Glory, honour and peace to all who desire good (Rom 2:10)".