Orthodox clergymen pray next to armed servicemen near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean. Photo: CNS/Reuters
“We need help and spiritual support … a miracle, a miracle of peace,” said Fr Jacek Pyl, a Roman Catholic priest in Crimea. The head of the Jesuits in Ukraine, Fr David Nazar, called the annexation of Crimea a “completely illegal occupation”.
While most of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches condemned Moscow’s actions in Crimea, the Russian Orthodox Church called it “the peace-making mission” that “should guarantee the Crimea citizens the right to self-determination and close ties with other peoples of historical Rus”.
Fr Vladimir Legoyda, spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, added: “We pray for fraternal blood to never be shed on the Crimean land and for God to keep all residents of the peninsula – Russians, Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and representatives of other ethnicities – in peace, wellbeing and consensus.”