Friday, March 4, 2022

Russian Soldiers Must Refuse to Participate in War Crimes: Stanisław Gądecki Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznań, Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference


Letter from the Chairman of the EESC to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia


Author: Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki


Warsaw, March 2, 2022


Your Holiness,


Thank you very much for the words in the letter from Metropolitan Hilarion yesterday. I share Your Holiness's view that hostility towards any nation is always unacceptable. We are all brothers, therefore we perceive each misfortune of the Ukrainian or Russian people as our own. That is why we pray with all our hearts for peace in Ukraine.


However, in order for our prayer not to be considered an expression of hypocrisy, it must be accompanied by deeds. I believe, Your Holiness, that you are a man of peace. Our Lord Jesus Christ taught: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God" (Mt 5: 9). Therefore, I am asking you, Brother, to appeal to Vladimir Putin to stop the senseless struggle with the Ukrainian people, in which innocent people are dying and suffering affects not only soldiers, but also civilians - especially women and children. One man can stop the suffering of thousands of people with just one word - that is the president of the Russian Federation. I am asking you, as humbly as possible, to appeal for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the sovereign state that is Ukraine.


No reason, no reason ever justifies the decision to start a military invasion of an independent country, bombing housing estates, schools or kindergartens. War is always mankind's defeat. This war - as I wrote in the previous letter - is all the more meaningless due to the closeness of both nations and their Christian roots. Is it allowed to destroy the cradle of Christianity on Slavic soil, the place of the baptism of Rus?


I also ask you to appeal to Russian soldiers not to participate in this unjust war, to refuse to obey orders which, as we can already see, result in numerous war crimes. Refusing to carry out an order in such a situation is a moral obligation. The time will come for these crimes to be brought to justice, also before international tribunals. If, however, someone can avoid this human justice, there is a tribunal that cannot be avoided. "For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, that each one may receive payment for the works done in the flesh, bad or good" (2 Cor 5:10).


I believe that many of the Russians sent to the war are noble people. "We don't know who to shoot at, they all look like us ..." said one of your soldiers. So I ask you to appeal to them to come home as soon as possible without staining their hands with innocent blood.


As disciples of Christ, we know that the main weapon at the disposal of the Church is the spiritual weapon. "This kind of evil spirits is only cast out by prayer and fasting," we read in St. Matthew (Mt 17:21; Mk 9:29). In Poland, in response to the appeal of Pope Francis, today we announced a day of prayer and fasting for the establishment of a just peace in Ukraine. I am asking You, Brother, to call on all the Orthodox brothers in Russia to undertake a similar spiritual work. I believe that God will not remain indifferent to our prayers and sacrifices. I believe that fasting and prayer change the human heart.


In Christ the Lord,


+ Stanisław Gądecki

Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznań,

Chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference









  1. The Man He Killed
    Thomas Hardy - 1840-1928

    "Had he and I but met
    By some old ancient inn,
    We should have sat us down to wet
    Right many a nipperkin!

    "But ranged as infantry,
    And staring face to face,
    I shot at him as he at me,
    And killed him in his place.

    "I shot him dead because--
    Because he was my foe,
    Just so: my foe of course he was;
    That's clear enough; although

    "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
    Off-hand like--just as I--
    Was out of work--had sold his traps--
    No other reason why.

    "Yes; quaint and curious war is!
    You shoot a fellow down
    You'd treat if met where any bar is,
    Or help to half-a-crown."

  2. Here is another Thomas Hardy poem. He thought about the sadness of things a lot. But he also loved and praised the beauty of the creation.

    This is a poem that can still make me cry. And I hope so much that Hardy and all the young Drummer Hodges have a wonderful awakening ahead of them, into an earth truly at peace.

    Drummer Hodge
    Thomas Hardy - 1840-1928

    They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
    Uncoffined—just as found:
    His landmark is a kopje-crest
    That breaks the veldt around;
    And foreign constellations west
    Each night above his mound.


    Young Hodge the Drummer never knew—
    Fresh from his Wessex home—
    The meaning of the broad Karoo,
    The Bush, the dusty loam,
    And why uprose to nightly view
    Strange stars amid the gloam.


    Yet portion of that unknown plain
    Will Hodge for ever be;
    His homely Northern breast and brain
    Grow up a Southern tree,
    And strange-eyed constellations reign
    His stars eternally.

  3. Arwa Damon is there.

  4. UK grants 50 Ukrainian refugee visas so far

  5. According to German TV the UK refuses to accept the refugees.


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