His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, of Moscow and All Russia, has stated that around fifty churches of the Russian Orthodox Church have been either completely destroyed or heavily damaged as a result of actions of the Ukrainian military since the beginning of the armed opposition in Ukraine this spring.
The RIA News Agency has reported that the Patriarch delivered a speech during a meeting with students of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, in which he noted: “Currently there is a forceful opposition against our Church – three clergymen have been killed, over ten priests have been arrested, detained, and tortured, and many clerics have been expelled from the country. Approximately fifty of our churches are either completely destroyed or heavily damaged by precision strikes of the Ukrainian artillery.”
Speaking about the tragic events in Ukraine, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church noted that the Church consistently supports a position on peace, disapproves of bloodshed, and tirelessly encourages both sides to invest in dialogue and peace.
“Today there is no other peaceful force in Ukraine, but the one of the Russian Orthodox Church. Considering our historical experience, we do not identify ourselves with either of the sides of this civil conflict,” His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill, pointed out.