Geneva (AP) – Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Cyril has not responded to the World Council of Churches’ request for efforts to end the war in Ukraine.
In a letter, however, he accused “forces that openly see Russia as their enemy” of being responsible for the conflict. He accused NATO of expanding its military presence on Russia’s borders and ignoring Russia’s fears of attack.
Kirill accuses foreign forces of deliberately driving a wedge between Russians and Ukrainians and trying to “re-educate” the people of Ukraine to make them enemies of Russia. “This tragic conflict has become part of a large-scale geopolitical strategy, the ultimate goal of which is to weaken Russia,” the patriarch wrote after the English translation.
Kyrill denounces “Russophobia”.
The sanctions against Russia are designed to hit the population, he wrote. “Russophobia is spreading in the Western world at an unprecedented rate.” Pray for a lasting and just peace, Kyrill wrote.
The Geneva-based World Council of Churches posted an English translation of Cyril’s March 10 letter on its website. In a letter dated March 2, Ioan Sauca, acting secretary general of the Council, had asked Kyrill to mediate an end to the war.
The council represents 580 million Christians worldwide organized in 352 churches in some 120 countries. The Russian Orthodox Church has been a member of the Council since 1961. The Russian Orthodox Church also published the original letter. The World Council of Churches did not initially comment on the Patriarch’s letter.