Thursday, March 30, 2023

    All who take the sword will perish by the sword – Metropolitan Epiphanius

    “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). These words of our Lord Jesus Christ should be heard by aggressors and tyrants, those who plot evil, who knowingly resort to violence in order to appropriate someone else’s, seize, offend. And the “sword” from which, as the Lord warns, they will perish, is in the hands of the defenders who took it for defense.

    The army, like weapons, according to Christian doctrine, exists to defend not to attack. In essence, these words were spoken by Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane to confirm the Old Testament’s “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9: 6). The Church of Christ is against violence, but always is in defense of truth, peace and neighbor.

    Why do we call our defenders heroes? Because they sacrifice their lives for the sake of others, for the sake of us and you, showing the highest degree of love, for “there is no more love than that which layeth up his life for his friends” (John 15:13). They perform a feat of self-sacrifice, putting themselves under attack for the sake of others. They do not commit an act of aggression, do not intentionally offend others, do not sacrifice other people’s lives. This is the big difference between those who “bring the sword” and those who “defend themselves with the sword.”

    God is always on the side of truth and protects those who remain faithful to His commandments. The history of mankind knows many examples when the enemy was defeated, even if it was several times superior to those who defended themselves, both in number and in armament. And our country is not an exception, but Ukrainian history is a clear evidence of that.

    Ukrainians are peaceful people, but strong in spirit and faith. We believe that the violence and weapons that are being unlawfully directed against us today will turn into God’s wrath and “sword” against the aggressor. For all criminal intentions are known to God, as it is said: “Consider plans, but they are destroyed; speak the word, but it will not come to pass: for God is with us. (Isa. 8:10).

    The primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius.