The former Archbishop Artemiy (Kishchenko) of Grodno of the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, released from his position in June 2021 at the request of the Belarusian authorities, gave an interview to Vera+, condemning Russia’s war on Ukraine and the position of the ROC leadership:
— Vladyka, how did we perceive the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24?
– Not in a Christian way!
— How do you generally assess the position of the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church, in particular that of Patriarch Kirill, precisely on this situation of the so-called “special operation”?
– I believe that it is not from the Holy Spirit.
— What can an ordinary Christian do to help Ukraine?
— The simplest thing that an ordinary Christian can do is to pray for Ukraine.
– Vladyka, if you had the opportunity to address the Ukrainians, not only the Orthodox, but simply as a Christian shepherd to the people, what words would you like to say to them?
— I would say: “Brothers, hold on!” Christ is Risen!”
In 2021, Archbishop Artemiy of Grodno became one of the first hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church to speak out about the situation in Belarus and to condemn violence by the security forces, when in the wake of flawed presidential elections last year, protests swept across the country.
The real reason for his release, most likely, was the fact that Artemiy (Kishchenko) openly spoke out against unjustified violence by the Belarusian security forces against the participants in mass protests.