Thursday, December 8, 2022

    Analysis of WCC statement: anti-war, pro-Russia, promoting “demilitarization”

    On September 8, 2022, the document “War in Ukraine, peace and justice” was adopted at the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

    The Spiritual Front of Ukraine analyzed the declaration and concluded that the Russian Federation has not been condemned as the aggressor. Instead, the declaration puts an equality mark between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, thus equating Russian aggression and Ukraine’s defense of its own citizens, territories, and interests.

    Such statements are not helping the actual settlement to the war. Besides, they are helping the Russians to continue committing crimes amid such weak statements by international organizations, such as the WCC.

    In addition, the WCC condemned further militarization of the conflict, which is a hidden condemnation of arms supplies to Ukraine, whose victory depends heavily precisely on such deliveries.

    Speaking about the war in Ukraine, the WCC never blames the Russian Federation. It puts blame on both warring parties.

    Also, although the WCC talks about atrocities that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual and gender-based violence, as well as greatly increased vulnerability to human trafficking, they fail to mention who is responsible for these crimes. The statement gives the impression that the Russian and Ukrainian troops are all committing the above-mentioned crimes on the territory of Ukraine, and therefore both are guilty, which is an outright lie.

    The WCC declared the war illegal and unjustified, lamenting the appalling number of deaths, destruction and displacement…This Assembly strongly reaffirms the position expressed by the central committee and condemns this illegal and unjustified war, the statement said. These are just empty words “for all good” and “against all bad”, without specifying who started this “bad” from the very beginning.

    We were also “impressed” by the call of the WCC to the Ukrainians and Russians to cease fire while the Ukrainians are recapturing their land seized by the occupiers. That is, the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not have the right to win back their territories from the Ruscists by military force, but must cease fire? This is probably what churchmen from the Russian Orthodox Church wanted to say in their statement.

    To really stop the death and destruction, it is necessary for Russian troops to pull from all territories of Ukraine, including Crimea. Only then will it be possible for both sides to “cease fire”. The position to simply stop shooting will lead to even greater casualties among the civilian population and the loss of Ukraine as an independent state. But the WCC is probably deliberately playing along with the Russians, because, as already mentioned, it does not blame Russia for the victims, but only talks about the victims and the destruction as such.

    However, indirectly alluding to Kirill (Gundyaev), who uses faith in God to justify Russian aggression, the WCC nevertheless rejected propaganda: they rejected any abuse of religious language and authority to justify armed aggression and hatred.

    Instead of calling on Russia to leave Ukraine, the WCC called on all parties to withdraw and refrain from military actions near the Zaporizhia NPP and other similar sites that could pose unimaginable threats to current and future generations.

    Then, the WCC cynically announced a prayer for all the victims of the tragic conflict in Ukraine, the region and the whole world. The wording “War of the Russian Federation against Ukraine” or “Russia’s unjust war against Ukraine” is never used in the document Instead there is “this war” and just “the war”. The obvious fact of the invasion of Ukraine was recognized only once, at the beginning.

    At the end of the paragraph related to Ukraine, the WCC again indirectly blames the country for the deaths, just as it blames the aggressor, and asks both sides to stop the war, although Ukraine is defending itself, not attacking Russia, and therefore cannot be guilty of killing the occupiers or other unforeseen victims.

    “…we reiterate the central committee’s appeal to our Christian brothers and sisters and to the leadership of the churches in Russia as well as in Ukraine, to raise their voices to oppose the continuing deaths, destruction, displacement and dispossession of the people of Ukraine. We call on WCC to provide a platform for all voices for peace to be heard and amplified and we pray that this war will come to an end very soon..”

    It looks cynical on the part of the WCC, which condemns the abuse of religious languag. to justify armed aggression and hatred, but they themselves do exactly that. Recalling a quote from the Bible at the beginning of the statement, they ask Ukrainians to call for peace and actually lay down their arms to resist death. Do Europe, particularly Germany, not understand that signing a peace deal with Russia until the last meter of Ukraine is freed from Russian occupation is like signing a peace agreement with Hitler in 1939?

    In addition, the WCC basically calls on other countries to stop financing Ukraine and stop providing it with weapons, but rather to focus on “peaceful settlement”. Also, for some reason, they used the phrase “civil conflict”. We hope that they did not mean the war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine?

    “In response to increased militarisation, confrontation and weapons proliferation, we call for a much greater investment by the governments of Europe and the entire international community in searching for and promoting peace, rather than in escalating confrontation and division,” the statement says.

    Explaining its words, the WCC went even further and condemned the provision of arms to Ukraine by claiming that one of the many tragic consequences of the war in Ukraine is significantly increased militarization, confrontation and division on the European continent with a huge and mostly uncontrolled proliferation of weapons in the region.

    The last paragraph about “demilitarization” of conflict looks very hypocritical against the background of the fact that Ukraine’s success in the war against Russia is now very dependent on the supply of weapons from allies. Only after the provision of long-range weapons to the Armed Forces of Ukraine did the front line stop expanding, and the Russian invaders were further unable to occupy practically any populated areas. Peace will become possible after Ukraine receives even more weapons and will be able to give the Russians a hard time so that they don’t think of moving deeper into our lands. But this is not understandable to the people from WCC, who have never been under fire for a single day, never buried their brothers and sisters, and never lost their homes or entire cities.

    With its tolerant statements, the WCC acts in favor of the Russian aggressor and, even more disgustingly, hides behind good intentions and faith in God. In essence, Gundyaev and WCC are now acting in tandem and using the same methods against Ukraine, justifying the crimes of Putin’s regime. Putin also supports demilitarization and kills Ukrainians “for the sake of peace” and “security in Russia.” The mothers of the murdered occupiers often say in interviews that their “children” died in Ukraine so that “there would rest in peace.” The WCC is also advocating for peace and reduction of arms supplies to Ukraine. It’s disgusting to hear all this, in fact.

    According to the Russian Orthodox Church, such a position is acceptable. The representative of the Moscow Patriarchate thanked the World Council of Churches for rejecting the accusations voiced against them. In addition, the Russian Orthodox Church regrets that the UOC-MP’s proposal to “condemn the forcible seizure of churches” by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was not included in the final document.

    What was not done by the WCC?

    It is worth noting that Ukraine introduced sanctions against Kirill (Gundyaev) for his support of the crimes of the Putin regime. On August 31, 2022, the Cabinet of Ministers approved proposals to apply personal sanctions for 10 years against the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) and seven of its representatives.

    In June, Britain slapped sanctions on Moscow Patriarch Kirill, who supports the crimes of the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin. Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry took offense at Great Britain because of the sanctions imposed on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Canada did the same, imposed sanctions on Kirill for justifying and supporting the Russian war against Ukraine. After the sanctions from Canada, the Russian Orthodox Church pretended that they were not guilty and that their actions did not deserve punishment. The ROC called Canada’s sanctions against Moscow Patriarch Kirill “arbitrary”.

    Previously, Lithuania sought to put Kirill Gundyaev on the EU sanctions list, but due to Hungary’s position, sanctions were never imposed. However, Lithuania banned Patriarch Kirill from entering the country. Later, the Russian Orthodox Church thanked Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán for saving Kirill from sanctions. PM Orban said in May that he would not support sanctions against Patriarch Kirill, and also again opposed the embargo on Russian oil.

    At the time, the ROC said that sanctions against Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) would not force him to abandon his views, and therefore they “make no sense.”

    At the end of June, the High Representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, expressed his regret that the European Union member states were unable to approve sanctions targeting the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    But all this was done by the laymen, not clergy. That is, Britain, Canada, Lithuania, and even the EU did more than the World Council of Churches, because the WCC never directly condemned Gundyaev for his constant and persistent efforts to justify the conflict.

    ROC and OCU at the World Council of Churches.

    It becomes even sadder and more disgustingwhen all the details of the course of voting and the regulations that were in place at the WCC.

    On August 31, the World Council of Churches kicked off its work in Germany. The ROC was not banned from the event, despite the requests voiced by many WCC members. The President of Germany spoke at the opening, saying that “the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church joined the war crimes against Ukraine.” The Russian Orthodox Church reacted to Steinmeier’s statement. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate rejected the claim of their cooperation with the invasion forces, calling out the accusations as “groundless”.

    The Russian Orthodox Church compared the WCC’s document on the Russian war in Ukraine with the statements of McDonald’s and Starbucks.

    The OCU has reacted to such comparisons. “If the Church fails to speak out when violence and injustice is taking place, will we continue to be the ‘salt of the land? I also turn to the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church and ask them: if you are against Russia’s war on Ukraine, please raise your blue cards. It is very unfortunate that you are comparing the blood of Ukrainians with Starbucks or McDonald’s,” Oleksandra, an OCU delegate, emphasized.

    It also became known that the Russian delegation at the WCC Assembly did not vote for the declaration related to Russia’s  war on Ukraine. Also, the delegate representing the UOC-MP never referred to Russia as an aggressor, limiting himself to general statements calling for “peace”, while Ivanna Illina (UOC-MP) said she “drew the attention of the international community to the pain and sorrow of the people of Ukraine, who are suffering from Russian military aggression and inter-confessional enmity, which is incited by OCU supporters.”

    At the same time, OCU delegates were given almost no time to speak. According to those taking part in the discussion, Ukraine representatives were given one minute to speak, while the Russian representative spoke for a total of six minutes.

    “Just a minute. This is how long a Ukrainian can discuss the declaration regarding the war in Ukraine. I can’t express how painful it is to hear a statement that treats the victim and the aggressor equally. I hope the Committee will receive and consider our reservation to the declaration. Let’s hear the voice of Ukrainians when it comes to the war in Ukraine!” noted the delegate representing the OCU, theologian Roman Sihov.

    Also at the World Council of Churches, OCU Archbishop Yevstratiy spoke about the killing of an OCU priest by the Russian occupiers.

    Kirill blesses the invaders – something which has not been addressed at the WCC

    The Moscow patriarch called the atrocities of the Russian occupiers in Ukraine a “real feat.” He also said that the occupiers in Ukraine “protect Russia on the battlefield.”

    In March, Moscow Patriarch Kirill once again blessed the Russian military for killing Ukrainians, and accused Ukraine of “persecuting Orthodoxy.”

    On June 21, Moscow Patriarch Kirill visited the wounded invaders, assuring them that they had not been following “criminal orders.”

    Earlier, the head of the OCU, Metropolitan Epifaniy, proposed a ban on the “Russian world” ideology, which he compared to that of Nazism. Also, according to him, Kirill has already made his choice in favor of the Antichrist. Metropolitan Epifaniy is sure that the occupiers are committing genocide against Ukrainians, continuing Stalin’s crimes, while Kirill (Gundyaev) must be held accountable for covering up Putin’s atrocities.

    On April 23, Gundyaev expressed the opinion that the “special operation” would be completed rather quickly.

    In early May, Kirill lied that Russia “didn’t attack anyone.” He declared that the Russian military “chose the right path” and again supported Putin’s aggression. In addition, after the horrific atrocities of the Russian military in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, and other Ukrainian cities were exposed, Gundyaev said serving in the Russian army was a “feat”, and referred to Russia as a “peaceful” nation.

    Despite the atrocities committed by Russian invasion forces, Kirill said Russia would proceed with all necessary efforts toward a peaceful life in Ukraine.

    Moscow Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev), speaking on May 17 at the Federation Council of Russia’s Federal Assembly, recalled that part of his congregation was also in Ukraine, and therefore, according to him, not war, but autocephaly is allegedly harmful to the unity of “fraternal nations”: Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian. On the same day, Gundyaev admitted that banning the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine would make it impossible to “serve the unity of the fraternal Russian and Ukrainian peoples.” The leader of the pro-Russian wing of the UOC-MP, Antoniy Pakanych, also opposes the ban on the ROC in Ukraine.

    Gundyaev also tried to shift criminal responsibility for Russian atrocities in Ukraine from Russia to other countries, including to Britain and the USA. He recalled how in the past, divisions in Russia were “provoked by external forces”. Gundyaev blamed not Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, but external hostile political forces for the division of the peoples of “historical Russia.”

    At the end of June, after awkwardly falling in the temple in Novorossiysk, Kirill expressed hope that Russians would not acquire any fears and feelings of insecurity. He assured hos followers that the actions of Putin and the Russian invaders were correct.

    Late August, Kirill lied that the Russian Orthodox Church “brings the word of peace” while the Russian troops, he claimed, bring “justice.”

    Patriarch Kirill says the truth is on Russia’s side. And two days before the WCC meeting, on September 6, the Moscow Patriarch declared that only Russia was capable of distinguishing between good and evil.