August 13, 2008
Alexei and Ilya,
Though your efforts to prevent armed conflict between Russia and
Georgia have received little attention in other countries, we have
followed them as we have been able, including Patriarch Ilya's
proposal in April in which he noted the potential "role and
authority of our churches to prevent the escalation of tensions
and help restore good bilateral relations."
despite work for peace by both of you, Russia and Georgia entered
into armed conflict. Many have died, not only soldiers but
innocent people. Many of our Orthodox brethren have blood on their
More recently, with the conflict at its height, there was the
cease-fire appeal made by Patriarch Alexei, which included these
blood is being shed and people being killed in South Ossetia and
my heart deeply laments over it. Orthodox Christians are among
those who have raised their hands against each other. Orthodox
people, called by the Lord to live in fraternity and love,
confront each other."
What a sin and a scandal it is to see these armies
shedding each other's blood. That such an event can happen
is a poignant reminder of how often, among Orthodox Christians no
less than others, national identity easily takes priority over our
common identity as children of the One God.
We hope to see you both standing side-by-side in continuing
efforts to promote peace between the Russian Federation and the
Democratic Republic of Georgia, to collaborate in healing the deep
wounds left by this tragic conflict, and to bear witness in unity
to the Gospel of Christ's Peace, who called us to love, not slay,
We write on behalf of members of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship who
reside in countries around the world.
Secretary Secretary for OPF in
Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Orthodox Peace Fellowship Web Page