Polish Catholic leader asks Ukraine and Russia’s bishops to join in prayer for peace.
Rome Newsroom, Feb 15, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).
The president of the Polish Catholic bishops’ conference appealed on Monday to Christian leaders in Ukraine and Russia to unite in prayer with Poland to stave off war.
“We are bound together by a common history and the holy Christian faith,” Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki wrote in a Feb. 14 letter to the Orthodox and Catholic bishops of Russia and Ukraine.
“Let us therefore unite the spiritual efforts of the followers of Christ of different denominations in Russia, Ukraine, and Poland, together offering fervent prayer to the One who alone is Peace, to avert the specter of another war in our region,” he said.
Poland shares a border with Ukraine. On Ukraine’s eastern side, where it borders with Russia, the country has seen a build-up of Russian military personnel in recent weeks. The crisis at the border has led to fears that a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.
According to the Guardian, Russia has at least 130,000 troops at the border. United States officials have expressed hope that a diplomatic resolution is still within reach.
“I address you, dear brothers, as a bishop of a country that neighbors both Russia and Ukraine,” Gądecki said. “Every war is madness.”
Recipients of Gądecki’s letter included Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.
“The fact that Russia and Ukraine are two Christian and Slavic nations would add drama to the war between them,” the Polish archbishop wrote. “In human terms, therefore, and in God’s terms, these two different nations should have much in common and it should lead them not to hatred, but to mutual respect and friendship. A necessary condition for this to occur is respect for the rights of the nations, including the right to self-determination and territorial integrity.”
Gądecki recalled the two world wars of the previous century and quoted a line from the Polish Pope John Paul II’s message for the World Day of Peace in 2000: “Wars are often the cause of further wars because they fuel deep hatreds, create situations of injustice and trample upon people’s dignity and rights. Wars generally do not resolve the problems for which they are fought and therefore, in addition to causing horrendous damage, they prove ultimately futile.”
“May our prayerful effort be a cry to prevent the suffering and death of thousands of innocent human beings, especially the weakest, defenseless, who will not find the strength and possibility to escape the conflagration of war,” the archbishop wrote.