On October 17, 2022, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow met with Archpriest John Sauka, Acting Secretary General of the World Council of Churches. It is reported by Patriarchia.ru.
Addressing the guest with a greeting, the Patriarch noted: “I really appreciate that you have come to Russia at this difficult time to meet with me and my brothers, to talk about the situation that is developing today in international relations. Naturally, this situation is reflected in inter-church relations as well.”
The Patriarch stressed that in this difficult situation, “first of all, it is important that no more blood is shed, buildings and infrastructure are not destroyed, so that the suffering of people stops. Therefore, we are very interested in attracting the objective, unbiased attention of our ecumenical partners to this difficult and tragic situation, it is important to convince world leaders to bring peace through negotiations and dialogue, and not through bloodshed and destruction.”
Thanking the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church for the meeting, Archpriest John Sauka emphasized: “The members of the World Council of Churches have been looking forward to this visit. We have come here on instructions from the Central Committee of the WCC. I was instructed to visit our deeply wounded members in the Middle East: Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, later Ukraine and finally I arrived in Russia. You are aware of the fears expressed by the member churches of the World Council of Churches about the war between Ukraine and Russia. You are familiar with the positions that we voiced during the meetings of the Central Committee of the WCC. <…> We came here to understand what we can do together to build bridges of peace and reconciliation, how to stop the bloodshed and prevent the danger of a nuclear fire.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, in turn, noted that “now the time is very difficult, but now the difficulties stem not from the churches, but from the political context, and this context is extremely dangerous. We can’t even imagine how close we are to a very dangerous development of relations between peoples. Therefore, today the Churches should not add gasoline to the fire – we should do everything to put out the burning fires. In this sense, the World Council of Churches and the inter-Christian movement in general have a very important function. The active but neutral position of the World Council of Churches, which does not support one or another political side in this conflict, is, in my opinion, the only correct one, and it must be continued. Churches by their very nature have a peacemaking potential. If this or that church starts waving the flag of war, calling for confrontation, it is acting against its nature.”