In Open Letter, Russian Pastors Oppose War in Ukraine

“We call on the authorities of our country to put an end to this senseless bloodshed! ". 

Christianity Today reports that an open letter signed by Russian pastors and Protestant leaders has been published on the site of a small evangelical publisher in St. Petersburg, the Mirt publishing house.

In this letter, the pastors call on the authorities to put an end to the war that is currently unfolding in Ukraine since the Russian army invaded the neighboring country on February 24.

“We call on the authorities of our country to put an end to this senseless bloodshed! ".

“The time has come when each of us must call things by their true name, while we still have a chance to escape punishment from above, and prevent the collapse of our country,” declare the Protestants in this missive which is no longer available, since according to Christianity Today, it was closed after collecting 400 signatures in two days.

Referring to the Bible by quoting Jeremiah 18 verses 7 and 8, their message reminds that a nation which turns away from its bad habits will be spared.

“Suddenly I speak, on a nation, on a kingdom, of uprooting, of cutting down and of destroying; But if this nation, about which I spoke, turns back from its wickedness, I repent of the harm that I had thought of doing to it. Jeremiah 18: 7-8« 

The pastors also evoke Cain, who killed his brother Abel, thus denouncing a fratricidal war. They call on the nation to apply the words of Jesus in Matthew 26 verse 52:

“Then Jesus said unto him, Put thy sword in its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. »

" They risk their lives "

A declaration which was received with joy by Ukrainian Protestants who had been calling since the beginning of the conflict on Russian Protestants to speak out. Taras Dyatlik, the Overseas Council's regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia expressed his "great joy" while saying he would pray fervently for these courageous pastors.

"They are literally risking their lives," he said, emphasizing that they are thus showing "their love for the Lord and his body: we are one in the Spirit."

Dance an open letter published on March 1 on Facebook, Taras Dyatlik had urged Russian Christians to stand up against the conflict and be "faithful to the body of Christ". “Remember Mordecai and Esther,” he wrote. “Do not be like Jehoshaphat, who made a covenant with Ahab and was silent when God spoke through the prophet Micah”.

Another Ukrainian Protestant, Valerii Antoniuk, head of the All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical-Baptist Christian Churches,  also appealed to Russian Christians on Facebook “Praying is good, but for today it is clearly not enough”, he wrote, before asking: “where are your Bonhoeffers, where are your Barths? »

“Your present silence is the blood and tears of Ukrainian children, mothers and soldiers — it is on your hands. »

Their messages have obviously been heard.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shutterstock / Grand Warszawski

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