03/22/2022, 13.27
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Religious leaders stand before Jerusalem’s Russian Orthodox cathedral with plea to Kirill

An interfaith prayer was held in front of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, at the Russian Compound, in order to appeal to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow to work for peace. A letter signed by 150 religious leaders was taped to the building’s walls. For Patriarch Pizzaballa, “the images that we are seeing from the media are terrible and not justifiable.”

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A message of peace and reconciliation for Ukraine comes from the Holy Land, after Russia launched a brutal military offensive last month against its neighbour. 

Some religious leaders met yesterday in Jerusalem for an interfaith prayer in front of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the main Russian Orthodox church in the city, at the Russian Compound. 

Participants also made public a message sent to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, asking him to use his authority and influence within the Russian Orthodox Church to work for peace.

The event was organised by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) and the Elijah Interfaith Institute.

Participants in the initiative included the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa; Rabbi Rasson Arousi, chair of the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for Dialogue with the Holy See; Sheikh Hassan Abu Galion; Melkite Greek Archbishop Yasser Ayyash; Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Suheil Dawani; and other religious leaders.

Patriarch Pizzaballa said that the “main purpose” of the gathering was to “express our solidarity, prayer, and unity with the people of Ukraine”.

“We are not against anyone,” he added, “but the images that we are seeing from the media are terrible and not justifiable.”

“I hope and pray that all the religious leaders in Ukraine and Russia will contribute to the solution of this terrible situation.”

One of the objectives of the letter sent to Patriarch Kirill was to convince him to use his position of authority to achieve peace.

“In light of your close connection to President Vladimir Putin, we call on you to request that he take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, and seek a peaceful resolution to it,” the letter reads.

After the interfaith service in front of the cathedral, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, director of ICSD, invited some of those present to speak out for peace in Ukraine and the region.

Shaykh Mowafaq Tarīf, the spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community, emphasised that life “is a holy thing” and that the “killing of these people” is the “very killing of Jesus Christ”. For this reason, “We should unite our voices so that the leaders of the world awaken and put a stop to this war and this bloodshed”.

Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein turned to God asking him to give strength to the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and their Churches, so that they may guide the faithful in the storm.

Rev Karin Ekblom, pastor of the Swedish Theological Institute, reminded everyone of the role and importance of the "peacemaker" and its implications today in the two countries torn by war albeit in different ways.

Finally, the participants taped the letter on the cathedral’s walls. Signed by 150 religious leaders from around the world, it is addressed to Patriarch Kirill, symbolising their joint appeal for peace.

(Pictures from the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

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