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Guest Viewpoints

Mass Killings of Civilians are a Sign of Genocide

April 6, 2022
By Metropolitan Epifaniy - Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine

Apparently, the vast majority of you have already heard and know about yesterday’s announcement, which is undoubtedly joyful for us: owing to the courageous defenders of Ukraine and with God’s help, the whole Kyiv region was cleansed of the enemy – Russian aggressors were expelled from it.

At the same time, yesterday brought us terrible news that we are not yet able to fully comprehend – in the liberated towns and villages of the northern Kyiv region, in Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel, and other [places], until recently flourishing and cozy corners of our region, the bodies of numerous victims of Russian violence were found.

The killed civilians lie near their homes and in mass graves. People with their hands tied. Men, women, children. Those who tried to escape and who remained in their homes. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent people were tortured in the weeks of Russian occupation. No military necessity could motivate this, as the civilians did not pose a threat to the occupiers.

Mass killings of civilians are a sign of genocide. The Russians did not come to release the Ukrainians. Everything that can be seen now in the Kyiv region, Mariupol, cities and villages of the Chernihiv region, the Sumy region, the Kharkiv region, Donbass, southern Ukraine, testifies: the Russian tyrant, people who support him and their army, came to our land to ‘liberate’ Ukraine from Ukrainians. They continue the black, diabolical work of Tsar Peter’s troops, which [slashed] and burned Baturyn. They are doing the same thing as the Russian-Bolshevik gangs that shed rivers of blood during the so-called ‘red terror’. They are the successors of Stalin’s crimes, the perpetrators of repression and the Holodomor genocide, which were planned in the same blood-red Kremlin to destroy the Ukrainian people. Therefore, on behalf of millions of our faithful, on behalf of our suffering people, on behalf of [those] raped, tortured, and shot by Russian invaders, whose blood cries out to Heaven, we raise our voices again and again, calling on the international community to do everything immediately to stop and to punish the tyrant and the state that became an instrument of genocide of the Ukrainian people in his hands.

You have the power, you have the weapons, you have the moral duty to do so, to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves – and to protect you! Protect humanity itself!

In conclusion, I would like to address once again those who, unfortunately, have not yet understood the truth or do not want to understand it: [the ‘Russian World’ ideology] is the same as the ideology of Nazism. It justifies violence, murder, war, and genocide, and must therefore be rejected and condemned in the same way as Nazism was condemned, its ideologists and its crimes. The co-creators and leaders of this criminal ideology are the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Kirill Gundyaev and his associates. Together with his subordinates, he not only kindled this fire in every possible way, but also openly blessed the executioners and murderers with false lips on behalf of God and the Church for their dirty work.

To condemn these crimes, to condemn the violation of human and divine laws, is not just a right, but a moral duty of every person, and especially of Orthodox Christians.

After all, this is not about discussing the intricacies of canon law, theological controversy, or historical discussions.

It is about good and evil as such and about everyone’s own choice: are you with God or with the devil?

Kirill Gundyaev has already made his choice in favor of the affairs of the antichrist. I urge those who still have him as their shepherd – open your eyes, look at the poisonous fruits of his teachings, stay away from the lawless, do not be his accomplices!

Yesterday we prayed for the rest of all those who had died, and especially for the peace of the souls of our fallen defenders and civilians killed by the Russians.

Today, remembering the horrific testimonies of crimes in Mariupol, Bucha, Irpin, and other until recently peaceful parts of Ukraine, we again ask the Kingdom of Heaven for the dead and blessed to repose in the homes of the righteous.

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