Source: Elijah Interfaith Institute
On March 22, a group of religious leaders were brought together in Jerusalem by the Interfaith Centre for Sustainable Development and the Elijah Interfaith Institute to call for peace in Ukraine.
Among the speakers were His Beatitude Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Sheikh Hassan Abu Galion, Rabbi David Rosen, and Muslim and Druze religious leaders. The purpose was to encourage Patriarch Kirill to use his position as head of the Russian Orthodox Church for peacemaking.
This interfaith gathering follows the delivery of an interfaith letter to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, calling on him to speak with President Putin to seek peace. The letter was signed by 150 Jerusalem and global religious leaders and clergy, led by the members of the Elijah Board of World Religious leaders, including H.E. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, Dharma Master Hsin Dao, Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric and Rabbi Michael Melchior. The prominent religious leaders, representing the world's major faith traditions, expressed their deep concern with the war and affirmed the key role religious leaders play in promoting peace between Russia and Ukraine.
At a time when everything hangs in the balance, we must not assume that political and military leaders alone will be able to defuse this crisis. As Putin has put Russia on nuclear alert, human casualties mount and bombs ravage cities and nature, it is a key time for religious figures worldwide to advocate for peace.
The letter to Patriarch Kirill can be found below and on Elijah's website.
Your Beatitude Patriarch Kirill,
We, religious leaders representing many faith traditions, write to express our concern with the war taking place in Ukraine. We are mindful of our religious obligation to choose peace through dialogue. Our role is to pray for and support peaceful resolutions of conflict situations.
We are saddened to see the fighting, which pits people of faith against each other. The current conflict has already resulted in a significant loss of life, of both combatants and civilians. The conflict also poses a much wider risk of destruction beyond Ukraine, including the threat of a nuclear accident and a larger conflict between nuclear armed powers, which we know God wants us to avoid at all costs. In this moment, religious leaders are called to rise to the occasion on behalf of God, people, and all creatures.
We appreciate how as Patriarch you have spoken for peace. In light of your close connection to President Vladimir Putin, we call on you to request that he take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, and seek a peaceful resolution to it.
We thank you for your time and attention in considering this request.
With blessings for peace on God’s good earth