Moscow, February 24, 2022
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,
dear brothers in the priesthood!
We, like all of you, are deeply shocked that, despite huge reconciliation efforts, the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine has turned into an armed confrontation. This confrontation brings death and destruction and threatens the security of the whole world. The peoples of our countries are united not only by a common history, but also by the general huge suffering that has fallen on us in the past because of the madness of war. Our peoples deserve peace, not only as a lack of war, but a peace that is a firm determination to respect other people, other peoples and their dignity. Let our contemporaries know that they will have to give a strict account of the military actions they have taken. After all, the course of the coming centuries largely depends on their current decisions (cf. Const.Lumen gentium, 78, 80).
We call on all politicians on whom this decision depends to do everything decisively to end this conflict. “God is the God of peace, not war, the Father of all, not just some, and He wants us to be brothers, not enemies,” Pope Francis addresses us. And we also appeal to all people, especially fellow Christians, to resist lies and hatred, and to be a source of reconciliation, not an increase in hatred and violence.
We ask all our believers to devote these days to intensive prayer and fasting to save human lives – especially on Ash Wednesday, March 2, responding to the call of the Holy Father. Priests are asked to serve the Holy Mass for the preservation of peace and justice, using the Eucharistic prayer for reconciliation, and reading the prayer from the demand book “On Peace and Fatherland”.
Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia
Archbishop Pavel Pezzi
Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow
Bishop Joseph Werth
Ordinary of the Transfiguration Diocese in Novosibirsk
Bishop Clemens Pickel
Ordinary of the Diocese of St. Clement in Saratov
Bishop Kirill Klimovich
Ordinary of the Diocese of St. Joseph in Irkutsk
Bishop Nikolai Dubinin
Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow
Noteworthy is the fact that the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia does not use use the rhetoric of President Vladimir Putin, unlike the Russian Orthodox Church and several other religious denominations in Russia taking sides with him. See HRWF research paper here.