Posted: February 27, 2022
Dear Patriarch Kirill,
Greetings in the name of Jesus from Mennonite World Conference (a Global Communion representing Anabaptist-Mennonites in fifty-eight nations). We lament the current violence between people of Russia and people of Ukraine. It must grieve the heart of God when the body of Christ becomes divided, especially when that is by war.
As Russia unleashes weapons upon Ukraine, we call on you as a Christian leader in Russia to speak and act boldly for the gospel of peace. Regardless of any rationale given for the attack upon Ukraine, this is an immoral action that Christians everywhere must condemn.
“My kingdom is not from this world,” Jesus said. “If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting...” (John 18:36). When Peter pulled out a sword, Jesus told him to put it away.
You are in a difficult situation, Patriarch Kirill. Anabaptist-Mennonites pray for you and for all Christians in Russia and Ukraine. The church may not be able to stop this fratricidal war, but we must protest when one nation threatens or attacks another.
“We must obey God rather than man,” the Apostle Peter declared when on trial. Today, Christians on both sides of this confrontation are in an hour of trial. Will we give allegiance to God’s kingdom instead of bowing to the gods of nation, empire, and war? God grant you courage to be a peacemaker as Jesus taught and modeled.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Fraternally, in Christ,
J. Nelson Kraybill, MWC president