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Leading Russian Orthodox official weighs in on Ukrainian conflict

Catholic World News - July 18, 2014

One of the leading officials of the Russian Orthodox Church has told the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation that while each side has legitimate grounds to take up weapons in the unrest in Ukraine, God’s truth must have priority.

“There are various positions, there are two truths, or even more human private truths about developments in Ukraine, but for an Orthodox believer God’s truth should be higher, priority of moral values should be higher, priority of freedom for Orthodox peoples in modern world should be higher,” said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the chairman of the Synodal Department for the Cooperation of Church and Society of the Moscow Patriarchate, according to the Interfax news agency.

Stating that the patriarchate “doesn't bless aggressive war or civil war,” he said that “theologically it is very difficult to deny that people, who feel their unity with [a] certain community, can stand up with weapons in their hands to protect this community and they can interpret this protection differently.”

“We must understand it clearly: there are different positions and there are grounds to protect these positions with weapons in hands,” he continued, while emphasizing that the “priority of God's truth should be present in the Church independently of any political influence, any authorities, national or regional.”

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