Allen asked the bishop what role the Orthodox and Greek-Catholic churches should play in this crisis going forward.
The Churches have an “enormous” role and indeed a “primary” role, Metropolitan Antony said. He continued:
We have all along, and so have all the churches in Ukraine have called upon those involved to remember the dignity of the human being, to remember the sanctity of life throughout this whole conflict. The Church and the clergy will be required to refrain from participation in any kind of political maneuvering or machinations, and to simply preach the word of God, and preach the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to overcome the difficulties first and then to begin the process of forgiveness, because this is a process that I believe will go on for some time to come.
I do not believe that Ukraine is headed for civil war. I believe that there is a feeling throughout the boundaries of the nation today that Ukraine is one nation and will stay that way. The conflicts between east and west have always been there, and I believe that they will be in the future, but I don’t believe that it is a threat to the stability and the existence of one, single Ukrainian nation.
But the churches must take on their responsibility, and we have been saying it here in our epistles to the faithful and our statements to the faithful throughout this situation and earlier situations: The Church of Ukraine must do everything it can, and this may be an opportunity for the unification of the churches, the process to begin. I understand that the patriarch has issued a statement calling for the unity of the churches now at this difficult time in the life of the nation. But our statements here and our call has always been that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church must regain what its primary role was in the life of the nation. It must once again become the moral conscience of the nation.
Read the transcript of the interview or listen to the 29 minute podcast at Ancient Faith Radio.
If you haven’t caught up to it yet, give a listen to the latest Radio Free Acton podcast on the Crisis in the Ukraine posted on this blog Friday.