Pope sends letter to Orthodox leader, cites ‘devastation’

Pope Francis sent a message to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Cyril, in which he cites the “devastation” caused by the war in Ukraine.

The letter took place on the occasion of Orthodox Easter, celebrated yesterday, and was also sent to the patriarchs of other eastern churches.

“Dear brother! May the Holy Spirit transform our hearts and make us true peacemakers, especially for war-torn Ukraine, so that the great Easter passage from death to new life in Christ becomes a reality for the Ukrainian people, longing for a new dawn that will put an end to the darkness of war,” Francis wrote.

The Pope added that today it is possible to feel “the full weight of the suffering of our human family, crushed by violence, war and so many injustices”.

As Moscow’s patriarch, Cyril is aligned with Vladimir Putin’s regime and has already shown public support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, he blamed the West and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) for the conflict.

Francis and Cyril held a videoconference meeting on March 16, when the Catholic leader warned the Orthodox patriarch that “wars are always unjust” and that religious figures “must not use the language of politics.”

However, in a recent interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nación, the Pope revealed that the Vatican has given up on holding a meeting with Cyril in Jerusalem next June.

“Our diplomacy understood that a meeting between the two at this time could lead to a lot of confusion,” said Jorge Bergoglio. This would be the second face-to-face between the two leaders, who have already met in Havana, the capital of Cuba, in 2016.

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