Press Release

EU Bishops’ President appeals on Moscow Patriarch Kirill: “intercede with Russia to stop the war in Ukraine”

The President of the EU Bishops, Cardinal Hollerich, addressed a letter to Moscow Patriarch Kirill on Tuesday 8 March 2022 asking him to issue an urgent appeal to Russian authorities to immediately stop the hostilities against the Ukrainian people.

Cardinal Hollerich (left) and Patriarch Kirill (right)

In the letter addressed to His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), H. Em. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, appealed on the Patriarch to intercede with Russian authorities to “show goodwill for seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict, based on dialogue, common sense and respect for international law”.

Broken-hearted by the tragic testimonies coming from the besieged areas in Ukraine, the President of the EU Bishops also called on the Patriarch to advocate for “safe humanitarian corridors and unrestricted access to humanitarian assistance”.

Addressing the Patriarch as someone that could bring a sign of hope for a peaceful solution to this conflict, Cardinal Hollerich recalled the 2016 joint statement issued by Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis deploring the then unfolding hostilities in Ukraine. “Please do not let those powerful words go in vain” – the President of COMECE added.

In January 2022, while tensions at the EU Eastern border were mounting, Cardinal Hollerich called for putting “particular interests aside and promoting steps leading to de-escalation and confidence-building”.

Following the Russian military invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, COMECE President condemned the hostilities “as a serious threat to peace on the whole European continent and beyond” and appealed on European societies and governments to welcome refugees seeking international protection.