Why the Orthodox Church blesses the military, including in Ukraine?
There is a practice of blessing the new recruits, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. But those guys can be sent anywhere, including to the East of the country, in the Donbass. So, the Church blesses this war? And if the soldiers of the Ukrainian army in the Donbass to be on the opposite side of the front with the same soldiers, who also previously blessed to defend the Homeland? Boris, Moscow, 30 years.
To meet, for example, Russian and Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbass right you can't because there is no Russian army. All participating in military operations with the DPR and LPR representatives of people's militia formed from the local population.
Now let's see what a blessing. Saying "God bless", people are unlikely implies that the blessing for the murder of another man. The Orthodox Church blesses only on the good, good things, that conscience does not reprove is to protect his country and home, help a neighbor, mercy to the people, in the case of warfare - to the prisoner.
It is also unacceptable to shoot at civilians, looting. The Church calls us to love God and each other and presents future developments the Providence of God, trusting that God will provide. And, of course, the Church does not support a fratricidal war.
In General, the voice of conscience within man has to tell you how to act in certain situations. And if you have a suspicion, kind this case, you should ask your conscience.
The Church blesses the soldiers to be guarded by the Lord is a thousand years of tradition to the spiritual care of the defenders of the Fatherland. The war in the Donbass fratricidal, there are dying of the same faith and half-human. And we had six years praying and Patriarch Kirill, and Metropolitan Onufry, all the clergy of the Church - that this war is stopped.
When the conflict began, even at the front was fraternizing, but then it's ruined with blood: civilians bombed in Lugansk - people were dying relatives. Started revenge, anger. Now with both sides of the conflict there is a logic that is difficult to overcome the logic of blood and resentment.
Moreover, in Ukraine said that the shelling of the militia and the Ukrainian army is only responsible, in the Donbas say the opposite. And, in fact, and that, and on the other hand people are dying. And no one can untie the knot. Only the Church with its centuries-long experience of peacekeeping are able to heal these wounds, calling for forgiveness, dialogue and understanding.
When the bombing started, some of the priests thought to leave, because the family all large. But the Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol Ilarion (was Sukalo) said: "Me and you have where to run, has relatives in other regions, and our people – nowhere. So children submit themselves and stay with his flock". In the end, he and the priests remained for six years, supports people in word and deed.
In the Donbas four eparchy, about 1,200 parishes and monasteries. Most of the 14 thousands of dead in the Donbass civilians, including children, our parishioners. Nourished Orthodox priests on both sides of the conflict, burial service of dead Ukrainian soldiers, militia, their families, civilians. The priests cross the checkpoints, they check regularly. During this time, four priests were killed by shelling, two were destroyed a dozen temples. But we still need to Minister to all people.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has always called for an end to conflict in Eastern Ukraine, which the "party of war" we can not forgive until now. The Church supports the President Zelensky, who finds peace in the Donbass as its main objective. Is the Minsk agreement, whereby the Donbass remains part of Ukraine sit down at the negotiating table, negotiate, and stop the insanity.
We hold annual religious processions for peace in Ukraine, involving hundreds of thousands of people. All of the diocese of Ukraine collect humanitarian aid for Donbass, we are engaged in the exchange of prisoners of war, helping refugees. Monastery Svyatogorsk (Holy assumption monastery Svyatogorsk, Donetsk oblast – ed.) – now the largest refugee center in the East of Ukraine. Many people have nowhere to go and nothing to eat, they do not pay wages and pensions. The Church gives them food, comfort and shelter, including pregnant refugee women: Laura was born 27 babies. And this is also life-affirming feat of our Church.