Message of peace from the Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol in the face of the risk of war between Moscow and Kiev. Ilarion appeals for the “united, hard-working and orthodox” Donbass to be spared. Monasteries must prepare to welcome the needy. The faithful must reach out to their neighbour.
Moscow (AsiaNews) – The Orthodox Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol, Ilarion (Shukalo), of the Ukrainian Jurisdiction loyal to the Russian Patriarchate, has sent a message to the clergy and people “of Donbass entrusted to God”. Ilarion asked them to intensify prayers for peace in the face of the resumption of war and strife all over the territory of the metropolis.
The text translates the anguish “because once again we find ourselves in total uncertainty about tomorrow which does not promise anything good. How many times in recent years have we had to endure this cruel war? The bleeding wounds of wars are still open, the houses of our poor people have not yet been rebuilt, nor the sanctuaries desecrated in our diocese”.
Ilarion explains that the region is known worldwide for its success in work and production, but it should also be praised for the firmness of its faith: “It is no coincidence that we are talking about the Orthodox Donbass , who knows how to work, but also how to pray”. The local populations showed mutual solidarity, even the monasteries made themselves available to the displaced and the suffering.
In addition to the threats and the bombardments, the situation is aggravated by the serious epidemiological situation, with many coronavirus patients and very precarious health care, which “it will be necessary to compensate with ever more intense prayer. We don’t 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 which “everything comes from God, the good, the pain and the 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 can also change the sad reality that surrounds us”.
The monasteries, accustomed to welcoming pilgrims, are invited to open their doors to all those in need, “who need shelter, food and consolation”. On the contrary, all the faithful “must not remain indifferent to one another. They must reach out to their neighbor and show by their actions that they belong to Christ”.
The Donbass prayer is addressed “to the whole community of the one Church of Christ, composed of men of peace who appeal to all people of good will, and to those on whom decisions depend, to bring peace, 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 hardworking Orthodox Donbass! Glory, honor and peace to all who desire good (Rom 2:10)”.