Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Monastic Witness for Peace in the Ukraine

A common criticism of monasticism is based on the assumption that monks want to get away from the world, and not be a witness in the world.  While this criticism might be fairly applied to some, throughout almost the entire history of Christianity, monks have been witnesses to the world around them. This week, a picture of three monks from the Ukraine reminds us of the powerful witness that monks can provide to the world around them.  

Although these events are not getting widespread coverage in American media, there is a significant amount of unrest in Ukraine right now.  During anti-government protests, several have been killed, and hundreds injured.

In the midst of the unrest, these monks made a stand for peace:

A source from Ukraine wrote about the story behind the picture:

"[Wednesday] morning, monks from the Kiev-Caves Lavra Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Melchisedek, and Fr. Ephraim stood on Grushevsky Street in Kiev with a cross and icons, between the demonstrators and the Ukrainian special police force 'Berkut', and stopped the conflict. They entered the arena as peace-makers, and not in support of one side or the other.

Although they were invited to join the 'people', the fathers only prayed and sang the Paschal troparion: 'Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,' wrote the Ramensky deanery of Moscow on its facebook page. The conflict ceased."


UPDATE: Here is a link to am amazing set of pictures of priests and monks who have put their lives on the line by putting themselves in the middle of the conflict to pray:

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