Metropolitan Onuphrius of Kyiv (UPC) met with Russian prisoners of war at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra at their request. The meeting was organized by journalist Vladimir Zolkin, known for his interviews with Russian prisoners of war, and Boryspil Metropolitan Antony (Pakanich). After serving a prayer service, Metropolitan Onuphrius addressed the prisoners of war with the words:
“I would like to wish God to bring you back to your homeland, to your families. To see your mothers, sisters, wives, children, brothers, friends. I would like you to say the following words to them: “We don’t want a war like the one going on in Ukraine right now.” We do not want our cities and villages to be destroyed, we do not want our people and your people to perish. We do not want mothers in either Ukraine or Russia to meet their dead sons and weep over them with bitter, inconsolable tears. This must be stopped, it can be stopped.”
“We must find a word of love that will silence the guns, stop the rockets. We want there to be peace. Our Ukrainian Orthodox Church did everything so that the Russian and Ukrainian people could live in peace, understanding and love. However, it happened as it did. But even if evil has happened, it must be stopped! May God give our rulers courage, reason and wisdom to find the word of love that stops all evil. I wish God to protect you and all the people who are on the battlefield. War is not the way to achieve unity between nations, families, people. Violence does not create unity, unity is created by love. And love is God. If one prays and obeys the commandments of God, he is a man of God. May God bless our lands with peace.”
Metropolitan Onuphrius did not bless the Russian soldiers with the cross, but invited them to his office for an informal conversation. There he said:
“I don’t know if you understand or not, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You should not kill each other. Death brings no benefit to anyone, only sorrow to every home. It is a shame that the peoples who came out of the same baptismal font are at war with each other. And we must do everything to put an end to this madness,” he concluded.
Probably, the meeting of Metropolitan Onufriy with the captured Russian soldiers has the character of an intercession to the Kyiv authorities for their exchange with Ukrainian prisoners of war.
“It is a shame that the peoples who came out of the single baptismal font fight each other. And we must do everything to stop this madness,” concluded Onufriy.
In conclusion, he distributed a prayer book, an icon and a chocolate bar to the occupiersand at the prayer service all the prisoners present were named by name sang “many summers”. After a short divine service and an informal conversation in the office, Onufriy personally, face to face, talked with each occupier.
Archbishop Evstratiy, spokesman for the OCU paid attention on the three main theses expressed by Onufrio at the meeting.
1. “It turned out the way it turned out”– these words of the head of the church of the Moscow Patriarchate, says the archbishop, sound “like an excuse to those who came to take us captive.”
2. “I want to wish that God will protect you, all the people who are on the battlefield.”
“Not a word about the evil they brought. Not a word of a call to repent for the murders and destruction. Well, really: if everything happened by itself, then these prisoners of war, like the Russian soldiers, were “taken to the battlefield”, their colleagues are “not guilty “, thinks Eustratius.
3. “It is a shame that the peoples who came out of the single font of Baptism fought with each other.”
The spokesman of the OCU is certain: such words are factual the civil war formula and the Kremlin narrative. In fact, it was Russia that attacked Ukraine and occupied part of our territory.