"Many of us did not believe that Putin’s Russia would attack the coreligionist country of Ukraine. Now worst fears of brutalities and atrocities are coming true. The war as an organized mechanism of murder has been brought to motion."
A letter of Malkhaz Songulashvili, Georgian Bishop and House of One partner:
For me as a Georgian this war reopens some wounds of unhealed memories of Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008: deep feeling of helplesness, humiation and dissapointmet in humanity. The same scenario, same tyrant, same lies, same venomous retoric. 25th of February is also the day when Georgia mourns its fallen at another ivasion of the country by the Russian troops in 1921.
Ukraine has been drugged into in the fratricidal war. The future of our civilization in Europe and beyond now depends on the courage, bravery and strenghth of the Ukrainian people. It is our duty of people of all faiths or none to support them.
Our support will require clarity, sacrifice, resiliency and intentionality. Clarity in our words to speak out against the injustices of war and the lies of leaders who care only for power. Sacrifice of our need to protect only ourselves. Resiliency to not give in when the days grow long and our souls become weary. Intentionality to pray continually for peace and to put our prayers into action.
We are calling our fellow Ukrainians, Russians, Europeans, Americans and others to pray for peace. We suggest that every day at 7 am and 7 pm we meet in our churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and offer our prayers for peace. If we can not meet in the houses of worship we should meet in our homes for prayer. If we are not allowed to pray openly for peace let us pray in the sancuary of our heart. It is essential that we do not succumb to the fear of the murderous forces. The inadequate ambition of one single person inflicts suffering on tens of millions of people, animals, birds, and of course the mother earth. This is a suicidal attempt to push the whole of creation towards unprecedented disaster.
Praying is essential but this is not nearly enough, the prayer should accompanied by action and this action will become a prayer itself. „I felt my legs were praying,“ wrote Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heshel after the protest walk to Selma. Similarly we need to be engulfed into prayerful action:
If we can use our hands to stop the war, we should use our hands,
If we can use our brains to stop the war, we should use our brains,
If we can use voice to stop the war, we should use our voice,
If we can use our recousrces to stop the war, we should use our resources,
If we can use our time and energy to stop the war, we should use our time and energy.
While striving to stop the war we should also need to commit ourselves to show compassion to the innocent people who have already been aflicted by the war: children, eledrly, refugees from either side of cruel divide. There is no mother, no parent wishing to see their children broght in bags from the battlefileds, there are no children wishing to see their parents dead. It is in such a time when our true identity is tested: who are we, what are the values we affirm, does justice and fairness mean anything to us. We need to be compationate towards the sufferig of the creation and all its members if want to maintain human dignity
It is indeed the time of Sadness, frustration and aguish. But these cisrcimstances should never blind our perspetive that in the end justice will prevail, hatred and lie will be defited, love and compassion will definitely win. It is essential to believe that forces of darkness and stupidity will fail. It has always been the case, it shall always be the case. Therefore, let us heed the words of the prophet Amos: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Peace Cathedral, Tbilisi, February 25th, 2022