Head of the Russian Church Addresses the Ukrainian Conflict

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Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill holding a church service in Minsk. Photograph: Sergey Vlasov/AFP/Getty Images

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia addressed the archpastors, pastors, monks, and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Your Beatitude. Your Eminences! Dear Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters!

It is with deep and heartfelt pain that I perceive the suffering of the people caused by the events that are taking place.

As Patriarch of All Russia and Primate of the Church, whose flock is in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries, I deeply empathize with all those touched by the trouble.

I urge all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to avoid casualties among civilians.

I appeal to the bishops, pastors, clergy and laity to provide all possible assistance to all those affected, including refugees, people left homeless and without means of livelihood.

The Russian and Ukrainian peoples share a centuries-long history dating back to the Baptism of Russia by the holy Prince Vladimir, Equal to the Apostles. I believe that this God-given commonality will help to overcome the divisions and contradictions which have led to the present conflict.

I urge the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church to offer earnest and fervent prayer for the earliest restoration of peace.

Through the intercession of the Most Pure Mother of God and all the saints, may the Lord protect the Russian, Ukrainian, and other peoples who are spiritually united by our Church!

+KIRILL, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA