Orthodox Bishop denounces hate speech
April 6, 2016. Archbishop of Severodonetsk and Starobelsk Nikodim in his interview on the official website of the Severodentsk diocese stresses that “hate speech” is unacceptable in calls for reconciliation. He also speaks about peace and patriotism as well as how to properly take up Lent.
“Christians take up Lent to rise up to the Savior, to become better, and thus to be kinder, more merciful and considerate to their near and dear ones, as in everyday life we become slaves of worries, vanity and habits. Fasting helps to escape from this captivity. We purify the body through abstinence from food, and the soul – through prayer and virtues,” the bishop said.
As to the hostilities in the East and whether repentance and forgiveness make a difference and can bring people together, the archbishop said that, of course, thousands of people killed cannot be revived. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church prays for their souls, but there is nothing irreversible. “All wars come to an end eventually. And when these hostilities cease can be affected. I think that not only the Orthodox Christians in the east of Ukraine, but also all over the country, in their prayer ask the Lord to lay mercy, to stop the confrontation and bloodshed. We often hear the question, “Why God does not send us peace, as we pray without ceasing?” God hears our prayers, but we ourselves have to work hard: to repent of our sins, because it is a request for salvation and ability to forgive. God commanded us to forgive,” said the archbishop.
Regarding provocations on the part of the Kiev Patriarchate, Archbishop Nikodim put it categorically, “You cannot call for reconciliation using “hate speech”, which we often see and hear from the clergy of the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate”. The priest must spread the word of Jesus, and not turn his sermons in a lecture about the socio-political life of the country, blaming the canonical Church for all the troubles. Such activities (exactly activities, not the service) cannot definitely be called peacemaking. ”
The bishop stressed that the schismatics, with the support of certain political forces and paramilitary groups, commit offences in the western regions, organizing seizures of churches. And even the most unbending parishioners, who are trying to protect their shrines, are helpless in an unequal confrontation. “We all understand that any voluntary transition of believers into the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate” is out of the question. However, churches are being seized, and such cases often go unpunished,” said the bishop. Regarding the service in the Diocese of Severodonetsk and Starobelsk, on the territory administratively uncontrolled by Ukraine, and difficulties which may arise due to this, the archbishop remarked, “The diocese entrusted to me is a single whole. I always say that we cannot divide believers into “us” and “them”. No matter how complex the political situation is, canonical and prayerful unity is preserved, Faith unites and reconciles us.”
In the conclusion, the archbishop wished all the fasting to feel the joy, quiet and deep, purify their mind from the hustle and do good to adequately prepare for the celebration of the celebrations – Easter Sunday.