With messages of support for the Ukrainian people and an outright condemnation of the Russian invasion, the Intercessory Prayer for Peace in Ukraine was held on March 9, with the participation of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America along with Ecumenical leaders, political leaders, diplomats, and the faithful at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodymyr in Manhattan.
The interfaith ceremony was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony of Hierapolis of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon, His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, New York Board of Rabbis Executive Director Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations.
“Over the past two weeks, the world has watched Russia launch an unjust and violent invasion into Ukraine. During these turbulent times, we earnestly pray for those whose lives are affected by this brutal assault,” said Archbishop Elpidophoros.
“Violence is a sin in perfect contradiction with the vocation for which men and women were created,” His Eminence continued. “And this vocation is to carry the supreme legacy of God’s image while simultaneously growing in His likeness.”
“Therefore, no war can ever be called ‘holy’ or even ‘just’ in an attempt to rationalize it as morally acceptable,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said. “Today’s bloodshed in Ukraine must be set squarely on the shoulders of Vladimir Putin, who is risking global peace for his own selfish political agenda.”
We are witnessing an immense tragedy of human suffering, the targeting of civilians, the assassination and terror, and the deaths of innocents, especially children, yet we know that the Ukrainians and the Russians are both children nourished from the same breast.
They are brothers and sisters… Ten days ago His All-Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said the following: ‘We plead to end the war now, to immediately stop any act of violence, anything that spreads pain and death. Let reason prevail, love for fellow human beings, reconciliation, and solidarity, the light of the risen Christ, the gift of life.’”
“In this same spirit, we join ourselves to these sentiments expressed by His All-Holiness and we exhort to the faithful to offer prayers but at the same time to offer tangible support for all the Ukrainian people. Those of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and those of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Greek Catholics, those of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Jewish communities, for those belonging to a religion, and for those without religion, and for all those who find themselves in the dire circumstances of war,” Archbishop Elpidophoros said.
He then thanked His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel and all those who joined the prayer service for peace in Ukraine. In response to the crisis, he also noted the major fundraising efforts launched by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for Ukraine.