NEW YORK – Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, Archon Aktouarios, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, sent a letter to all Archons regarding the actions of Russia that led up to the attack of Ukraine and asked them to pray for peace.
In his statement, Dr. Limberakis makes reference to Metropolitan Epiphaniy, Primate of the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, which was granted autocephaly on January 6, 2019 By His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The full text of Dr. Limberakis’ message follows:
Dear Brother Archons and Friends of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle:
As Russian troops have now moved into Ukrainian territory, and tensions are higher than ever, it is vital for us to pray more fervently than ever for peace in Ukraine and the world at large.
I am urgently requesting all Archons and their beloved families to set aside some time daily to ask our merciful Lord and His All-Holy Mother to disperse the clouds of war over Ukraine, and to protect and strengthen His Beatitude Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine and all the Orthodox faithful of the country. Metropolitan Epiphaniy has been a strong advocate for religious freedom and a key defender of the ecclesiastical and canonical prerogatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and received the 2019 Athenagoras Human Rights Award for his heroic efforts in this regard.
Let us remember that on January 6, 2019, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed the Tomos of Autocephaly for the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, formally establishing the world’s fifteenth autocephalous Orthodox Church. The day before that momentous event, His All-Holiness addressed His Beatitude, saying: “The pious Ukrainian people have awaited this blessed day for seven entire centuries. And, behold, the fullness of time has come for them, too, just as so many Orthodox peoples beforehand, to enjoy the sacred gift of emancipation, independence and self-governance, becoming free from every external reliance and intervention, which have not always been nurturing and respectful of their own identity.”
It is in large part because of their longing for emancipation, independence and self-governance that Ukrainians are threatened now. It is incumbent upon us to come to the aid of our sister Church in her hour of need, and there is no more powerful or effective way to do that than by earnestly beseeching the Lord for peace in Ukraine and the entire region.
As His All-Holiness himself said in his address on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, “we are called to fervent prayer with all our hearts for the preservation of peace in Ukraine.” His All-Holiness added: “Indeed, the possibility of a new war in Europe, resulting from the escalation of violent rhetoric and militarization of the borders between Russia and Ukraine, should be unequivocally opposed. We call for enduring peace, stability and justice in the region. Peace is a matter of choice and must be shared by all the forces engaged in this extremely complex and sensitive geopolitical context. The duty of us all is to pray for and actively contribute to a peaceful resolution of conflict situations and to the unconditional respect and protection of human rights and dignity.”
Let us heed the call of His All-Holiness, and pray urgently for Ukraine now.
Yours in prayer for Ukraine and in service to our Holy Mother Church,
Anthony J. Limberakis, MD