Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill proposes ‘Christmas truce,’ Ukraine reacts with scorn

5 January, 02:55 PM
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Kyrylo supports a full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine (Photo:Oleg Varov/Російський Patriarchal Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Kyrylo supports a full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine (Photo:Oleg Varov/Російський Patriarchal Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Vladimir Gundyayev, also known as Patriarch Kirill, a supporter of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, has proposed a “Christmas truce” between Ukraine and Russia.

The Kremlin-controlled news agency RIA Novosti reported Gundyayev’s proposal in a posting on the Telegram messenger on Jan. 5.

In particular, Gundyayev called for the “Christmas truce” to last from 12 p.m. on Jan. 6 to midnight on Jan. 7 for 36 hours.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said the proposal from the Kremlin regime henchman was “cynical” and “propaganda.”

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“The Russian Orthodox Church is not an authority for global Orthodoxy and acts as a ‘war propagandist,’” Podolyak tweeted.

“The Russian Orthodox Church called for the genocide of Ukrainians, incited mass murder and insists on even greater militarization of Russia. Thus, Russian Orthodox Church’s statement about a ‘Christmas truce’ is a cynical trap and an element of propaganda.”

After the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, Gundyayev supported Russia’s aggression and blessed its military’s killing of Ukrainians. For example, in April 2022, during the service in the Russian armed forces’ church, he praised Russian soldiers and questioned the independence of Ukraine.

In September, during a Sunday sermon, he declared that a Russian soldier’s death in the war with Ukraine “washes away all sins.” He went on to compare mobilized Russians to Jesus Christ.

He also supported the mobilization announced in Russia.

The Kremlin announced on Dec. 14 that it had not received any proposals from the Ukrainian side after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Moscow to withdraw Russian troops by Christmas.

In an address to the G7 leaders on Dec. 12, the Ukrainian president said the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine would ensure there was a stable ceasefire.

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