Fr. Thomas Colyandro
Patriarch Porfirije on Ukraine
On March 6, 2022, during the Sunday of Forgiveness Vespers, in the temple of St. Sava in Vracar, His Holiness, Serbian Patriarch Porfirije, spoke on the conflict in Ukraine:
We constantly pray for peace, but particularly these days, especially as people and as Christians we pray for peace in Ukraine. Our own memories, the memories of each of us, of the tragic wars and conflicts in the former Yugoslavia are very much alive among us, and here is another war that broke out in Europe, among our Christian brothers, Russians and Ukrainians. The war in Ukraine produces suffering and divisions, however, not only at this moment between our brothers, Russians and Ukrainians, but threatens to bring suffering and divisions both to the whole world, and to Europe, where we feel like a tragedy is imminent. Because of that, sorrow erupted in our hearts just like the war broke out, but also in our souls, sadness because of the suffering of the peoples close to us in every way, and anxiety as well because of the danger that this war brings to the whole of Europe and the entire world. That means danger for us who live in areas that are divided and still insufficiently reconciled. That is why I feel the need to encourage all those gathered to turn sorrow into compassion, in solidarity with those who are suffering, with those who are now left without their homes and who seek refuge and security elsewhere. I remind myself and you, and call on myself and on you, to have sympathy with those who lack basic needs for survival and, of course, with those who are already coming to our country as refugees.
We are indebted to Christ God for the sake of witnessing true love, evangelical and Christian love, and, not only to receive those people who come as refugees only into our homes, but also to place them in our hearts, in our love. As you already know, we, as the Church, have started collecting donations for the victims in Ukraine and we have already collected a certain amount, which we will, in whatever way possible, deliver to Metropolitan Onufry, and He will know where to realize our modest offering as an expression of compassion, and provide love where it is needed, regardless of religion and nationality.
Also, brothers and sisters, I call on all of us to turn anxiety into prudence, into wisdom, because we need it in a world of one-sided, and certainly not new, media manipulations and campaigns, now in a time of our personal, emotional, and experiential temptations. We pray that God will give us the wisdom to decide and act as best we can in the interest of protecting one another from ourselves, yet preserving each other for ourselves; to pray, brothers and sisters for peace, to act decisively, to keep and witness peace wherever we are, wherever we live, and especially to invest all our spiritual and all other efforts to preserve, and preserve peace in the areas where we live and where we live with other nations and, if you will, in the areas of a country until recently in common. From this place today, we pray for the establishment of peace in Ukraine as soon as possible. Let us pray to God to have peace talks as soon as possible instead of war, as peace is priceless.
Source: The Official Website of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate (Patriarch Porfirije on the conflict in Ukraine | Serbian Orthodox Church [Official web site] (spc.rs))