Statement of His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav on the Conflict in Syria

Friday, 06 September 2013, 06:26
Request of His Beatitude Sviatoslav to the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and all people of good faith to pray for prevention of armed conflict in Syria. To our venerable bishops, reverend fathers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

In reply to countless calls and prayers of our brothers and sisters in Syria for christian solidarity, and in conjunction with the call of the Holy Father in regards to the ongoing tragedy befallen of christians in Syria, I turn to you, the faithful, with this letter.

For quite some time we have witnessed tragic conflicts in various countries of the Middle East. The tragedy in Syria directly influences the world’s most ancient christian communities and Churches in this country. Christians are quickly becoming the main target of mental and physical abuse, victims of kidnapping, blackmail, and other unprecedented atrocities. The Syrian insurgency, as well as the government and military of Syria, often take advantage of ancient christian holy places and communities as strategic bases, and use the residents of those communities as living shields.

With great concern, the entire christian world hears of the news of imminent armed intervention in Syria by western nations. These attacks would undoubtedly destroy countless christian communities in Syria. No conflict is ever solved with use of force, and such force is never beneficial; quite the opposite – it always ends in disaster, especially for peace-loving civilians.

We, as sons and daughters of Christ, cannot be indifferent to the tragedy in Syria. We must unite in prayer and fasting for God to grant peace to this much-suffering nation in acknowledgment of Christ’s words, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). It is to this blessing which the Holy Father Francis invites us to this Saturday, September 7th, 2013, with a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the entire world. We pray to God, as St. Paul writes in his epistle to the Ephesians (2:14) because, “He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.”

With my whole heart, I turn to all of you: bishops, priests, religious, and laity of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine and around the entire world to join the call of the Pope of Rome to, “with one heart and one mouth,” together with the Universal Church, dedicate your prayers for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and the entire world.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

+SVIATOSLAV

Signed in Kyiv at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,

4 September 2013 Anno Domini

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