A Letter to a Friend in Ukraine

29 April 2014. Alkmaar, The Netherlands

Dear Natalie,

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

It is good to hear from you. I hope you are well.

>> I guess, you know about the situation in our country.

I try to follow developments in Ukraine each day.

>> What do the Orthodox Christians from your country say about the situation in Ukraine?

In our parish in Amsterdam (in which there are many Russians and Ukrainians), there are special prayers for Ukraine at every liturgy. Mostly what I hear in conversation among members of the parish is distress and worry.

>> People are divided here. Sometimes it is really not so easy to understand what is happening and what can be done for living in peace.

Nationalism is a spiritual disease in which differences become more important than similarities and ethnic identity (really an artificial creation) becomes more important than religious identity, so it can easily happen that it is more important to me that I am Ukrainian or Russian (or whatever) than I am an Orthodox Christian.

You say it is not easy to find out what is happening and we face the same problem. I don’t think there is any single news source that reports fairly what is going on, both good and bad, on the various sides. Much that is presented as “news” is in fact propaganda, in the sense of being information that is incomplete and tilted toward one side. I often think of the Greek proverb, “In war the first casualty in truth.” Both the US and Russia are playing manipulative roles that serve their own interests.

We have set up a special page on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship is encourage prayer — see our home page: http://www.incommunion.org/ .

If I see any articles that I think you might find helpful. Some of the content of the current issue of our journal “In Communion” will interest you and will soon be posted.

What is the atmosphere like where you are?

In Christ’s peace,

Jim Forest, International Secretary
Orthodox Peace Fellowship

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