Priests of the Russian Orthodox Church call for reconciliation and ending the war

RFE/RL (01.03.2022) – – “Representatives of the clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church called for an end to the war in Ukraine by addressing “everyone on whom it depends.” In an open appeal, priests and deacons write that the “brotherly war” will lead to the abyss of relations between Russians and Ukrainians, and declare their grief for the test to which “our brothers and sisters in Ukraine have been undeservedly subjected.”


The appeal is distributed online on March 1. At the time of publication, it was signed by more than 130 people. It emphasizes that signatories apply “on their own behalf”, that is, not on behalf of the church – this prohibits canon law for priests. In the text, the authors write that they want “the return of all soldiers – both Russian and Ukrainian – to their homes.” “We respect God-given human freedom and believe that the people of Ukraine should make their choice on their own, not at the gunpoint, without pressure from the West or the East,” the appeal reads.


The text appeared against the background of growing intra-church criticism of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev). He is accused of not expressing a sufficiently clear anti-war position after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. At the time of publication of the news, there was not a single mention of the war on the main page of the Moscow Patriarchate website.


Against this background, a statement by priests appeared on the website of the Sumy diocese, located in the heart of the historical ROC, that they stop commemorating the patriarch during church services. In church language, this actually means that priests do not recognize it as part of the church. “We are forced to admit with particular sorrow that in these terrible days His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia did not condemn the aggressive actions of the Russian authorities,” their address reads.


They stressed that they continue to consider themselves part of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church, and expressed support for its Primate, Metropolitan Onufry (Berezovsky), who condemned the aggression.

Stop the war.”

List of signatories here (Automatic update)

194 as of 1 March 2022

Priests and deacons of the Russian Orthodox Church who wish to sign the letter can write to

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website