Dear In Communion reader,
It always surprises me, for a journal of so modest a size, how much we
manage to get into it. It’s a bit like Holland, small but densely populated.
Walking home this morning, having left the paper edition of In Communion
with the printer, I thought about the longest piece in this issue, a
selection of short commentaries from the Church Fathers about the eight
Beatitudes. It struck me that the life of the peacemaker is essentially to
live the Beatitudes. Not just one of them is about peacemaking. They all
are, and none of the eight can be crossed off the list as being less
In one way or another, each of the longer pieces in this issue has something
to do with the Beatitudes. Two dramatic examples are given in the accounts
of how two bishops acted in a way that saved many lives and changed for the
better the direction of the nations in which they lived: Metropolitan Kirill
in Bulgaria, who in 1943 was able to stop a train that would have carried
Jews to a death camp; and Patriarch Aleksy of Moscow, who in 1991 called on
soldiers not to obey orders to open fire on unarmed people surrounding the
Parliament and in the process helped prevent a KGB-led coup.
Peacemaking is rarely that dramatic. Often it’s almost invisible a parish
member who quietly works to defuse a situation which, left unattended to,
could destroy the unity of the parish; or someone who manages to talk about
a controversial issue (war, abortion, capital punishment) in such a way that
ears are opened instead of closed.
Peacemaking is rooted in our spiritual life. Without prayer, including
prayer for our enemies and opponents, how can we hope to come closer to God
and to each other? Here too there is much in this issue that we hope you
will find helpful.
*We appeal to you to help us continue the work of the Orthodox Peace
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Thank you for whatever help you can manage.
In Christ’s peace,
editor and OPF co-secretary