The Mother of All Russian Cities… Kiev is Free!
Lately, some liars in Western media sources, abetted by unscrupulous “Orthodox” elements in the West, insinuated that HH doesn’t support the rejoining of the Crimea to Russia, and that he opposes President Vladimir Putin. Fr Vsevolod is the closest advisor to HH, and he often speaks for him on sensitive topics. Once you’ve read what’s below, you’ll know that what Radio Liberty and Sophia Kishkovsky are spouting is dezinformatsiya of the first order. However, don’t get too hot about them… they’re only doing what their paymasters demand of them… low sorts will always be with us, no?
The truth will set you free. Check out what Fr Vsevolod says…
Undoubtedly, the events in the Ukraine cause pain and anxiety to many of our believers, not to mention many Orthodox people around the world. To put it mildly, one saw bloodshed and there were untoward actions against canonical Orthodox communities. The situation remains volatile. In many places, one hears anti-Russian diatribes and anti-Russian slogans. There was a great deal of that in the last few days. However, now, as we take a more in-depth look at the situation, one sees fewer grounds for contentment and complacency every day. The future of the entire Orthodox civilisation is in jeopardy; what’s at stake is its ideological and social identity, which affects its ability to decide its own path, both in the context of life in Europe and in the world at large.
On the one hand, it’s good to note that Orthodox bishops, clergy, and believers continue to show clearly their allegiance to the Orthodox Weltanschauung and lifestyle. Immediately after receiving disturbing news, the people came to those monasteries and churches endangered by events. People aren’t afraid to talk about their hopes. Not accidentally, in his speech of 21 February, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill thanked “those members of the Ukrainian episcopate and clergy who… despite the clamour from every side… found the strength to consistently urge peace and brotherly love upon those in conflict, who firmly stood behind the right of Ukrainians to live in harmony in all faith and piety, who demanded that we preserve the Ukraine’s traditional moral and religious values, the source of which was the baptismal font of Kievan Rus, which determined the civilisational development of the peoples of Holy Rus”.
On 26 February, the Supreme Church Council, headed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias, also appealed “to all Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine, regardless of their political stance, to stand up to prevent attacks on [Orthodox holy places]“. It expressed gratitude to those “who stood up to protect churches and monasteries, to prevent their desecration, and to oppose those who wanted to tear away from the true Church”. Indeed, often, Orthodox believers showed their commitment in standing up for the faith, for the Church, for their churches and holy places.
However, on the other hand, I’m convinced that what faces us today calls for a much more organised, meaningful, and unified response. We can’t embody the ethos of the Orthodox civilisation if another bloc takes over chunks of its territory, a bloc contrary to our political, ideological, and moral ideals. We have no future if we allow them to divide us and to oppose each other. We’d betray the memory of our ancestors and our great saints if we reconciled with those who allowed the spiritual enslavement of any of the peoples of our civilisation, if we showed shallow lukewarm apathy, if we lived according to the principle “his house is on the other side of the fence”, if we preferred our personal everyday comfort to those great goals laid before the Orthodox world… the transformation of our lives and the lives of all mankind through the law of Christ.
Due to the behaviour in the recent events of some of the Ukrainian and Russian élites, I’d remind everyone of these significant words from the Gospel, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Gospel according to St Matthew 6.21). These words couldn’t be more relevant today. Many have their treasure… both material and spiritual… in foreign parts. As soon as there’s a real danger of serious dispute with the West, they have a visceral fear of losing their treasure, which they then wrap up in seemingly reasonable political, legal, and even twisted theological arguments. However, he who fears, always loses. Whoever retreats, loses everything. Anyone who negotiates primarily on Western terms, which gradually become ever more onerous, will suffer defeat; they’d destroy them, leaving them no ability to set any conditions or even rely on the West’s charity. History shows what happened to those leaders who tried the path of endless concessions.
Today, we should respect the choices of the people who make up Ukrainian society, including supporters of the Western orientation. Nobody should declare this choice impossible or try to force them to change. However, it’s also true that one can’t rule out as an alternative for the country’s future the choice of tens of millions of people, who identify themselves as Orthodox, who believe in Orthodox civilisation, who say that Kiev, Pochaev, Kharkov, Odessa, Kherson, and Sevastopol are significant Orthodox centres. if these people can’t take part in the future of the Ukraine, if there’s no possibility for them to build their lives according to their outlook in their country, as well as throughout Eastern Europe, we won’t have a truly just peace in the world.
One can’t achieve true peace through the brutal suppression of others. Moreover, of course, God and history will punish us severely if we allow others to transform the Ukrainian people into a people hostile to the Russian people and hostile to the Orthodox world, if we allowed others to turn them into a people enslaved by external forces, Western or Eastern. Such a future is unworthy of the Ukrainian people… wise, faithful, of strong character, who never bowed down to enslavers… they’re capable of being one of the main actors in our universal Orthodox civilisation, both in Europe and throughout the world.
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin
Head of the MP Synodal Department for the Coordination of Church and Society
Pravoslavny Vzglyad (“Orthodox View”)