By His Eminence Metropolitan Hierotheos
of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Not long ago we followed the ceremony in the gardens of the Vatican for peace in Palestine and in the Middle East in general, and this event was brought together by the Pope. This event was attended by the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the religious leaders of Orthodox, the various Christian Confessions, the Jews and Muslims. During the musical break, where it took the position of a "musical meditation", each religious leader read various passages from religious books that specifically refer to peace.
Several comments, both positive and negative, can be made about this event. Nobody denies the need for prayers of peace in the world to be made and for the cessation of war, from the followers of the various religions on an individual basis, but there are very clear reservations.
The first reservation is that common prayer and the reading of sacred books that refer to peace and the cessation of war is meaningless when the interpretive analysis of these texts differ and are aimed at various "gods", so that somehow we receive a syncretistic god who is imagined in a different way.
The second reservation is that such a meeting takes place, unfortunately, by political powers who are responsible for the warfare, and when they are found to be in a deadlock they use religions. For some of the people in this meeting we are referring to, it was purely political, and yet they are creating wars.
Proof of this is that a few weeks after this meeting of prayer for peace in the gardens of the Vatican, a war in Palestine showed its fierce face, since Israelis and Palestinians were murdered. Indeed, according to press reports, in the first week Hamas launched more than 100 missiles into southern Israel and Israel made at least 100 air raids in the Gaza Strip that killed many people, which prompted reporters to speak of "death from heaven" (Nea, 7/9/2014). Unfortunately, the war continues with many victims.
Thus there was prayer to heaven, but from heaven there fell missiles and bombs!
And I wonder: What kind of meetings are these while war is being prepared? What kind of prayers are these when after the prayers they drop missiles and bombs?
Of course, every effort for the peaceful settlement of things is welcome, but it cannot be made by those responsible for the wars, who are moving arms and their hands are dipped in blood, otherwise all such actions are hypocritical.
At least those who are proponents of the "new order" of things should not use religion in order to exonerate their guilty conscience and their political plans.
However, we should all pray to the God of peace to enlighten our leaders to act soberly and peacefully and not violently and hypocritically.
Source: Ekklsiastiki Paremvasi, "Προσευχή στόν οὐρανό καί θάνατος ἀπό τόν οὐρανό", July 2014. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.