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Patriarch Kirill calls for ‘Christmas truce’ with Ukraine after backing Russia's aggression.

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 5, 2023 2:30 PM 1 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church and a supporter of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, has urged “all parties involved” to cease fire and establish a “Christmas truce” on Jan. 6-7.

The Russian Orthodox Church and some other Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, while a majority of Orthodox churches celebrate it on Dec. 25. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine had historically preferred the Jan. 7 date but allowed its parishes to celebrate on Dec. 25 last year.

In his statement on the Russian church's website, Kirill wrote that the truce is needed “so that Orthodox people could visit (church) services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.”

In June, Patriarch Kirill said that Russian troops fighting against Ukraine were “protecting Russia…guided by an inner moral feeling based on the Orthodox faith.”

Earlier, he denied Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, saying that Russia “has never attacked anyone.”

On Apr. 3, Kirill gave a speech at the main church of Russia’s Armed Forces, praising young Russians who joined the army, which he called “a real feat” in wartime.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to the head of the President’s Office, wrote on Twitter that Kirill’s appeal for a “Christmas truce” is “a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”

“The Russian Orthodox Church is not an authority for global Orthodox Christianity and acts only as a ‘propagandist of war.’ It has called for the genocide of Ukrainians, encouraged mass murders, and insists on even greater militarization of Russia,” Podoliak added.

During Russia's full-scale invasion, the Russian Orthodox Church has also illegally annexed two dioceses of its autonomous Ukrainian branch - the Crimean diocese and the Rovenki diocese in Luhansk Oblast - in parallel with Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian regions. Previously they were subordinated to the Moscow-affiliated metropolitan of Kyiv but now they are controlled directly by Patriarch Kirill.

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