Russian Orthodox Patriarch declares worldwide ‘holy war’ on terrorism

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, foreground, addresses the 2nd Moscow Cadet Parade dedicated to the 71st anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Moscow. © Iliya Pitalev
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has called the fight against terrorism a “holy war” and urged international unity and an abandoning of double standards to defeat this global evil.

Today, when our warriors take part in combat operations in the Middle East, we know that this is not an aggression, occupation or an attempt to impose some ideology on other people, this has nothing to do with supporting certain governments,” Patriarch Kirill said as he held the Friday mass at the major Moscow memorial to those who fought in World War II. “This is the fight against the fearsome foe that is currently not only spreading evil through the Middle East but also threatening the whole of mankind.”

He added: “Today, we call this evil terrorism.”

READ MORE: ‘Christians are under pressure in many developed countries’ – Russian Patriarch Kirill

The Patriarch also said that terrorists were targeting innocent civilians to intimidate their opponents and to crush any resistance to their doctrines, causing a great number of casualties and human suffering.

This is why the war on terrorism today is the holy war today. I pray to God that people all over the world understand this and stop dividing terrorists into good and bad ones as well as connecting the war on terror with their own goals, that are often non-declared yet strongly present on the political agenda,” the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said.

He also told Orthodox believers to pray for the Russian military to remain faithful to the spiritual course that only allows the use of armed forces against evil, for justice and to save human lives.

In February this year, the chief foreign spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church said in a press interview that global leaders should overcome political dissent and unite in fighting international terrorism as the challenge to mankind at large.

READ MORE: World needs single antiterrorist coalition – Russian Orthodox Church spokesman

We expect the message of peace to be heard. That instead of creating various anti-terrorist coalitions, alienated with deep-rooted contradictions and fraught with unpredictable consequences, there would be only one such alliance,” Metropolitan Hilarion said as he commented on the meeting between the Russian Orthodox Patriarch and Pope Francis in Havana, Cuba.