Friday, February 25, 2022

Blessed Are The Peacemakers: Archimandrite Bartholomew of Esphigmenou Responds to Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou About the War in Ukraine

By Archimandrite Bartholomew,
Abbot of the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mount Athos

As a child I often heard people say "war is coming, gather food!"

Now that the world is objectively heading in dangerous paths, I hear some of a similar spiritual quality with the aforementioned, saying "there must be a war to cleanse the earth of evil." They say it and it fills their mouths! They say it and are happy with the expectation of slaughtering people!

In the past, when there was no issue, they terrorized people with the threat of war, in order to paralyze them spiritually and control them. Now, when there is an issue, instead of being advocates of peace and law, they are publishing supposed prophecies, in order to paralyze the resistance of Christians to evil.

God does not organize wars, nor must "war be waged to remove evil." Angry and advantageous people make war. Societies living in rage are dragged into war, where everyone criticizes everyone.

There is no place in the Church for people whose "heart rejoices" for there to be a slaughter. The Christian must seek peace, be a peacemaker, as Christ taught in the Beatitudes! The Christian defends himself to defend his home, his faith, the wronged and the weak. He does not seek war. He is not "pleased" with it. Only the devil and "his children" take pleasure in war.

How can a Christian who longs for war participate in a Divine Liturgy, where we say "In peace let us pray to the Lord", "For the peace from above ... let us pray", "For the peace of the whole world ... for peaceful weather, let us pray to the Lord" and "Grant peace to Your world".

The main tool of those who lust for war are the so-called prophecies of saints. Basically we do not know if the saints really said everything that those who lust for prophecies tell us or if they put words in the mouths of saints.

We honor certain people as saints for the spiritual condition they have reached at the end of their lives. The title of saint does not mean that all their lives they had the appropriate spiritual state.

Characteristic of the living saints was the consolation they offered to the people. They did not intimidate, they did not cause unrest, but they calmed and pacified, they gave hope.

Even if a saint said a certain phrase, it cannot go beyond the teachings of Christ. Christ is the only sinless one. There is no man who has lived and not sinned, not even the Saints. That is why we never take the words of the saints as words of Christ. Instead, we take into account the "agreement of the fathers", that is, the common views of many saints of the Church. It is not possible to want to be called a Christian if we have not once read the Beatitudes of Christ, while on the other hand we learn and parrot every false prophecy that circulates on the internet and deceives our souls.

Let us pray and work for peace, while upholding the law. Neither the longing for war nor indifference can characterize the Christian!

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.