Tag Archives: iraq war

re “10 Questions”

A response to the questions posed by Fr Hans Jacobse in this memo “10 Questions To Ask When Orthodox Peace Fellowship Visits Your Parish”

note: the original text by Fr. Hans Jacobse is posted on the Orthodoxy Today web site at:


>> In the document “A Plea for Peace,” OPF posits a doctrine of moral equivalence when it states that, “Saddam Hussein is an enemy of the United States and of the people of Iraq, but we declare that there are better ways to respond to terrorism than to respond in kind.” (http://incommunion.org/2009/03/31/re-10-questions/)

Thank you for including the URL of the OPF’s letter to President Bush. I recommend anyone interested in what the OPF said in its appeal to take a moment to read the letter through.

>> Is the US action in Iraq equivalent to terrorism?

Our letter said that “there are better ways to respond to terrorism than to respond in kind.” What are the hallmarks of terrorism? Surely the most central element is to attack and kill innocent people. We do not yet know how many innocent people (women, children, the pregnant, the aged, the infirm and other noncombatants) have been killed by the US-led war and subsequent occupation in Iraq, but we are talking about an immense number. It is the nature of aerial bombardment to cause numerous noncombatant deaths. Were bombs to be dropped on your town or neighborhood, how would you describe the results? Were you a survivor, would the word “terrorism” seem inappropriate? General Sherman said plainly, “War is hell.”

>> Are the US soldiers in Iraq terrorists?

While no doubt some US soldiers consciously committed acts of terrorism, as became public knowledge following the release of photos about the treatment of prisoners at such facilities as Abu Ghraib Prison, I think the signers of the OPF letter would share my view that soldiers are also victims of war, a war they did not wish for and in which relatively few would take part in voluntarily.

>> Is moral equivalence the governing moral doctrine in all OPF deliberations about warfare?

Our approach to the issue is not moral equivalence but to respond, according to our best understanding, to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ as provided to us in the four Gospels, the commentaries and writings of the Church Fathers, the witness of the saints, and the canons of the various Ecumenical Councils.

>> If so, were the Allied forces during WWII no different than the Gestapo? If not, is the pacifism underlying the doctrine of moral equivalence conditionally applied? What are the conditions? Does conditional application imply that in some cases warfare is just?

Though war crimes were committed by all sides in World War II, there was no branch of the allied armed forces that was in any way comparable to the Gestapo.

However the OPF letter does not address past wars. It was an appeal to President Bush not to launch a war on Iraq. But unquestionably some wars would be generally regarded as being, after a certain point, unavoidable. World War II is a case in point.

Neither does the Orthodox Peace Fellowship identify itself as a pacifist organization. On our web site, these paragraphs touch on the question of violence and war:

“Aspiring to eliminate violence as a means of conflict resolution, we promote resolution of conflicts by mediation, negotiation and other forms of nonviolent action.

“While no one can be certain that he or she will always find a nonviolent response to every crisis that may arise, we pray that God will show us in each situation ways of resistance to evil that will not require killing opponents.

“We offer support to those whose conscience leads them to refuse participation in war and who struggle against evil in non-military ways. We support their conscientious objection as consistent with the Gospels and Holy Tradition.

“The aspiration to eliminate violence as a means of conflict resolution is something all sane people have in common, yet few would say that they would never use violent methods to protect the innocent. All we can do is attempt to find ways of responding to injustice that are consistent with the Gospel. Clearly nonviolent methods are to be preferred to violent.”

Returning to your questions:

>> In the same document, OPF asserts that the American populace is “is untroubled by the slaughter of non-combatant civilians” and thus suffers from a “wounded…psyche…and soul” that must be treated by “psychiatrists and priests.”

It is remarkable how quotations assembled out of context can fundamentally distort the actual source. Here is the paragraph the snippets come from:

“Because we seek the reconciliation of enemies, a conversion which grows from striving to be faithful to the Gospel, the Orthodox Church has never regarded any war as just or good, and fighting an elusive enemy by means which cause the death of innocent people can be regarded only as murder. Individual murderers are treated by psychiatrists and priests and isolated from society. But who heals the national psyche, the wounded soul of a nation, when it is untroubled by the slaughter of non-combatant civilians?”

Noted that the final sentence is a question. When we look at how many soldiers who returned home from the war in Iraq ended up in states of deep depression, drug dependence and homelessness, or have taken their own lives, the urgency of the question raised in the OPF letter is only underlined.

>> Does OPF believe that support of the Iraqi war reveals a destructive pathology in American culture? What are the nature and symptoms of this pathology? Why does it require therapy and confession?

There is no suggestion in the OPF letter that American culture is pathological, but I think any Orthodox Christian would agree that, in every nation, we are all damaged people. Every structure and culture that human beings belong to inevitably reflects in various ways how damaged we are. No people has a monopoly on violence. None of us is not in need of healing.

>> In the article “The Mission of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship” featured prominently on the OPF website, the author states, “There should be a drive to recruit Orthodox teenagers into OPF. If we do not reduce the number of Orthodox entering the armed forces, how can we feel that we have made any real progress towards transforming the Orthodox Church into a true church of peace?”

There was no special “prominence” given to Timothy Beach’s letter, from which the quotation used here was extracted. It was published in the letters section of our quarterly journal, “In Communion.” Hundreds of other letters published in the same journal are given equal prominence on our web site.

Let me add, however, that it would be to the credit of the Orthodox Church if we were more renowned for being engaged in efforts to prevent war than in fighting in war.

>> Is it official policy of the OPF to keep young men from military service?


>> If so, is this intention revealed when OPF activists visit Orthodox parishes? If not, why is this view promoted on the OPF website?

We encourage young people to discover what God calls them to do — the discovery of one’s vocation — and to follow that calling once it is known. In that regard, it surely would be helpful for not only to young people but all of us to consider our vocation in the light of Jesus’ teaching about the Last Judgement? (See Matthew 25.)

>> Is it the intention of OPF to transform the Orthodox Church into an organization promoting pacifist ideals?

It is not for us to transform the Church but rather for the Church to transform us. In any event, the Church is not an “organization” but rather the Body of Christ.

As previously mentioned, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship rejects calling itself a “pacifist” group. Not only no we not require members to commit themselves not to take part in war, but we find the word “pacifist” problematic. While its Latin roots refer to peace and peacemaking, it sounds in English like “passive-ist” — not an attitude we would recommend as an adequate response to evil. Also, like many words with an “ist” ending, it sounds ideological. We promote no ideologies..

>> Fr. Alexander Webster argues in his book “The Virtue of War” that two parallel strands of thinking about war occur in the Orthodox tradition: 1) pacifism and 2) just war.

>> Does OPF agree with this thesis? Would OPF ever grant the possibility that sometimes war is a tragic necessity? If not, how would OPF propose that a tyrant like Hitler be stopped?

In the Roman Catholic Church one can find a section on “the just war doctrine” in any substantial catechism or other authoritative overview of Catholic teaching, though it must be noted significant adjustments were made to that doctrine by the Second Vatican Council in its final document, Guadium et Spes. If this was the Catholic Peace Fellowship (there is such a group) and were we to ignore it in any statement on war, criticism of our doing so would be entirely justified. But there is no such doctrine endorsed by the Councils recognized by the Orthodox Church. There are Orthodox writers and theologians who have embraced the just war doctrine in one form or another and even regard it as being implicit in Orthodox praxis, but for us implicit doesn’t cut the mustard. Orthodox teaching is that war is always sinful, though in some circumstances it may be the lesser evil. This is a far cry from regarding any war as just.

Regarding “The Virtue of War,” I recommend reading Fr. Andrew Louth’s review. It’s on our web site. See:


>> Has OPF ever received funding from the National Council of Churches or the World Council of Churches or any other organization associated with the left-wing of Protestant Christianity?

We have neither sought or received any funding from the National Council of Churches or the World Council of Churches. Our financial support comes from our members.

>> Pacifism is internally coherent although trying to impose pacifism on others would violate the doctrine. Sometimes a soldier dies in battle fighting a destructive enemy. A police officer may die fighting an evil-doer in order to protect others.

>> Does OPF believe the sacrifice of the soldier holds the same weight and value as the pacifist? What about the police officer?

Few OPF members would label themselves pacifists, so the question is not entirely relevant.

We would regard anyone who sacrifices his life for others, whatever his or her social role may be, as praiseworthy or even heroic. However, the death of a brave soldier in war would not necessarily validate the war in which the soldier was a participant. Many brave soldiers have fought and died in wars that would today be regarded as perfect examples of unjust wars. As for the adjective “destructive,” in war both sides are destructive. That’s the nature of war.

In Christ’s peace,

Jim Forest

Secretary, Orthodox Peace Fellowship


* * *

Continuing debate about the OPF's Iraq Appeal

In March 2003 the North American section of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship sent President George Bush an appeal to not to launch a war against Iraq. The text of that appeal and the list of signers (plus statements by several Orthodox hierarchs) is posted on this web site.

In the November 2003 issue of Touchstone magazine, there is an article by Fr. Patrick Reardon sharply criticizing the OPF’s Iraq Appeal.

Here are several responses to Fr. Patrick’s essay.

To the editor of Touchstone:

It is no easy thing to reply to Fr. Patrick Reardon’s long essay, “Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front.” I am reminded of a line in the film “Amadeus” in which the emperor’s one mild criticism of a Mozart opera is that it contained “too many notes.” I am trying to avoid preoccupation with particular “notes” in his essay and instead to respond to its main themes.

One theme is Fr. Pat’s a critique of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship’s Iraq Appeal, issued prior to the U.S. attack on that country.

He describes the OPF Iraq Appeal as a pacifist document and refers again and again to a pacifist ethos, pacifist ethic, etc. But our Iraq Appeal did not refer wars in general. It was a statement objecting to a pre-emptive war against Iraq.

If the designation “pacifist” is understood as a description of people who condemn and oppose all war, then the Orthodox Peace Fellowship is not a pacifist association. Our statement of purpose includes these sentences:

“Members of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship try to use life-protecting methods to safeguard life and creation…

“Using our vocation and whatever special gifts and resources God has given us, especially our participation in eucharistic community, we strive to undertake constructive action on behalf of those who are endangered, from the womb to old age…

“Aspiring to eliminate violence as a means of conflict resolution, we promote resolution of conflicts by mediation, negotiation and other forms of nonviolent action…

“While no one can be certain that he or she will always find a nonviolent response to every crisis that may arise, we pray that God will show us in each situation ways of resistance to evil that will not require killing opponents…

“We offer support to those whose conscience leads them to refuse participation in war and who struggle against evil in non-military ways. We support their conscientious objection as consistent with the Gospels and Holy Tradition…”

The full text is on the OPF web site at www.incommunion.org/articles/introduction/what-is-the-opf

The word “pacifism” poses the additional problem of sounding like “passive-ism.” But no Christian is permitted to be passive in the face of evil. As do several words with “ism” endings, it also suggests an external ideology rather than an effort to be regarded as children of God, a blessing which Christ our Lord promised to peacemakers in the Beatitudes of the Gospel.

In our statement we declared that “the Orthodox Church has never regarded any war as just or good.” We did not say that Orthodox Christians have never gone to war or that Orthodox pastors and hierarchs never blessed those who fought in war or that Orthodox Christians are immune to the ideologies of the particular societies in which they live. Certain wars have been seen, if not as just or good in themselves, as a lesser evil. As far as I am aware, however, the Church has always regarded war, even when there appeared to be no nonviolent alternative, as inevitably implicating those who take part in profoundly tragic, even horrific events that could not possibly be described in positive moral terms.

Fr. Pat objected to the use of the word “murder” in the Iraq Appeal. We used the term twice, first in referring to Saddam Hussein (“He came to office by intrigue and murder, and remains in power by the same means; he is his own country’s worst enemy. The Iraqi people deserve to be rid of him.”) and then again in remarking that the killing of noncombatants is murder. The alternatives — for example “collateral damage” — bring us into the world of agnostic Newspeak.

Our statement went on to ask the question: “Individual murderers are treated by psychiatrists and priests and isolated from society. But who heals the national psyche, the wounded soul of a nation, when it is untroubled by the slaughter of non-combatant civilians?”

By “murder” we meant the killing of non-combatants, whether intended or a consequence of targeting non-military objectives. In modern war, it is the very old, the very young and the ill who are the most frequent casualties. It is true that to speak about such killing is profoundly distressing, not least for those, like Frank Schaeffer, who have sons or other family members involved in the fighting. The comfort the Church brings us is the good news of the kingdom of God and the good news of Christ’s victory over death. But in many regards the Church very often discomforts us with a Gospel that requires us to be poor in spirit, to grieve, to forgive, to bear the cross, to care for the least person, not to serve two masters, to turn the other cheek, etc. Just to look at an icon of Christ is often to be made profoundly uncomfortable, realizing the great extent I fail to follow his example or embrace his Gospel in daily life. We often fail to recognize our sins until someone holds us to account for ourselves. We readily deceive and delude ourselves.

A major theme in Fr. Pat’s essay is the idea that God has entrusted the United States of America with a divine mission. He refers approvingly to those who believe “that the Lord of history has laid on the United States of America, now and for the foreseeable future, a unique charge with respect to the preservation of world stability and the well-being of mankind.”

There is, of course, much that is admirable about the United States, but I find it hard to believe that Fr. Pat really buys into the idea that America is the new Zion. Do I misread him? For me, draping the Cross with any national flag is an act of idolatry. I believe we serve our homeland best by being painfully aware of the many ways it falls short of the demands of the kingdom of God, keeping in mind that He whom we are attempting to follow said plainly that His kingdom was not of this world.

Another theme in Fr. Pat’s essay concerns U.S. motives. He wrote: “…in many respects the United States was coerced into this international duty by reason of having decently intervened on behalf of friends, selflessly but with great reluctance, in wars that were not of its own making.”

If U.S. motives for overthrowing the Hussein regime and occupying Iraq were humanitarian, there is a long list of other countries whose tyrants America would be obliged to overthrow even more urgently than Hussein. But I think U.S. motives in Iraq — as Fr. Pat also suggests — had more to with that country’s oil reserves than concern for human rights. Indeed, the U.S. has often supported — even set up — states notorious for massive violations of human rights.

Another theme in the essay is the surrounding culture’s challenge to the Orthodox Church to adapt itself to the American ethos in order to make it a more attractive choice for those who might in the future become Orthodox Christians. I share Fr. Pat’s hope that increasing numbers of people will embrace Orthodoxy Christianity, but I believe it will happen not because Orthodox Christians become model patriots but rather because we become better Christians. Simply to live the Gospel — is this not what Christ asks us to do? Wherever we are? No matter in what country or time? Yet there is hardly a word in Fr. Pat’s essay about the example or words of Christ beyond a passing reference to turning the other cheek.

If anyone in the Church is obliged to be a man of peace, it is the priest. The canons require that those who serve at the altar should have killed no one, not even by accident or in self-defense. Why is it that those most responsible for the Church’s sacramental life must not be guilty of causing the death of another human being? This is a question Fr. Pat can probably answer better than I. Surely one dimension of this canonical principle is that it must have an inward as well as outward reality: the priest should be innocent not only of actual killing but of murderous thoughts or words which could inspire others to kill.

Christ told us that He came “to give life and to give it abundantly.” We learn from the Gospel and through the Liturgy to regard each person, however damaged, as a bearer of the divine image and as someone who may yet find the path to salvation. Thus we struggle to save lives insofar as we are able — whether unborn children or even the lives of our enemies. As the Paschal hymn declares, “Let us call ‘brothers’ those who hate us and forgive all by the Resurrection.”

In Christ’s peace,

Jim Forest

secretary, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship

November 5, 2003

I write as Coordinator for the North American chapter of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship in the period when we drafted the “Plea for Peace.” It was our hope that the document would remind readers of the obligation to safeguard the sacred gift of life in the context of the Iraq crisis. Fr. Patrick Reardon’s essay suggests that we did not succeed in making this point as effectively as we had hoped.

The OPF’s testimony against abortion offers a similar witness to the sacred nature of life. Note our recent appeal to Orthodox Senators Sarbanes (Democrat, Maryland) and Snowe (Republican, Maine) asking them to reconsider their votes against the ban on partial birth abortion. Here too our letter reminded them of “our Church’s teaching that all human life is sacred.” We hope Touchstone will report on our letter in its news section.

With Newton, I feel like a child gazing with wonder at an ocean of truth. If life is sacred, what does it means to kill a child? Or a civilian? If “murder” means only killing particular people with deliberate intent, our critics are right to contend that our use of “murder” in the OPF’s Iraq Appeal was too strong. But we know Christ lives in the least person. If each person is created according to the image and likeness of God, and our Lord tells us that anything we do to the least, we do to Him, may the word “murder” say too little?

Are we who not, as people who venerate icons, heirs to a theology whose beauty and depth we may never exhaust? Is “Christ in our midst” not only in our liturgy, but in our enemies?

On this last Sunday of Orthodoxy I watched children carry icons to celebrate the victory over iconoclasm. Suddenly I saw not single icons, but pairs: one wooden, one living. At that moment, as we set about to kill living icons in Iraq, I dared to wonder, “Who are the real iconoclasts? Ancients who destroyed wooden icons? We who kill living ones? All of us together? Is a living icon less sacred than a wooden one?”

War, like abortion, dehumanizes brothers and sisters. Some days ago a priest kindly gave me an article in the National Review, “Ministers of War,” in which a chaplain explains that “to prepare soldiers to… kill [the enemy],… they must believe… they are not personally connected with [them], but are acting solely as disinterested agents of the state.” I was as mesmerized as when seeing children as icons, but this time by horror. I thought of the saying of one the Desert Fathers: “I have spent the last twenty years of my life trying to see all humanity as one.”

In this age of ever more terrible weapons of mass destruction, has recognition of the mystery of the sacred character of life ever been so urgently needed? Has it ever been so clear that W. H. Auden was right to say our choices are to love one another or die? Can a faith that sees the icon of Christ in every person and in all creation open our eyes to see enemies in a transforming way?

John W. Oliver

[email protected]

John W. Oliver is Professor Emeritus of History at Malone College, Canton, Ohio.

To the editor of Touchstone:

I am writing in response to Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon’s article in the November issue of Touchstone. As always, Fr. Pat’s writing was very thought-provoking. However, I will limit my reply to four observations.

Fr. Pat noted that it seemed “that the percentage of those opposed to the invasion of Iraq was higher among the Orthodox than in the American population as a whole.” I will summarize the three possible reasons he listed for this: I) many American Orthodox of Middle Eastern origin share a common historical experience with Muslims; ii) many Orthodox have a great distrust of anything that even faintly resembles a Western invader heading toward the East; iii) the ascetical ideals of Eastern Christianity constantly encourage recourse to non-aggressive ways of dealing with conflict.

I would like to propose a fourth possible reason. Many, if not most, of the Orthodox Christians in America have either experienced the truth of the dictum “War is hell” first hand in their country of origin or they have relatives who have survived to tell them clearly what a war does to a nation over which it is fought. At least one of the lessons of the Civil War seems to have been lost from the consciousness of most Americans.

Later in the article, Fr. Pat listed some of the reasons given for the war against Iraq, and went on to say that “the Orthodox who favored (sic) going to war did so for the same reasons as other American citizens.” I will not here discuss the relative merits of these reasons.

Since these stated reasons for war have no overt reference to the Orthodox faith but very specific references to issues of national survival, I believe this demonstrates that those Orthodox who supported the war in agreement with non-Orthodox Americans have done so on the basis of national interests and their American identity. Conversely, those Orthodox who chose to oppose the war made a moral decision based on their Orthodox faith. Fr. Pat tacitly acknowledged this himself by mentioning “Orthodoxy’s disposition toward war” in general and, in particular, the ascetical ideals of Eastern Christianity which CONSTANTLY encourage recourse to non-aggressive ways of dealing with conflict. This raises the very serious question of where our ultimate allegiance ought to lie. One way of reading Fr. Pat’s article is that if church and state disagree on an issue, the option of obeying the state and disregarding our hierarchs is a perfectly acceptable one.

“Many Orthodox Christians began to wonder, therefore, if their own church, thus committed to a pacifist ethic so out of step with American history (if not incompatible with American patriotism), could ever hope to be more than a fringe religion in this country.”

In the issue of the Saint Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly Fr. Pat cited, Nikolas K. Gvosdev urged Orthodox thinkers not to isolate their moral reflections from practical political discourse by too great an emphasis on ideals. If we begin to abandon the ascetical ideals of Eastern Christianity with regard to war, why should we expect to be taken seriously in other matters such as sexual morality or the sanctity of human life? If one part of the Church’s teaching may be called into question when it is deemed to be unpalatable to Americans, why not other issues which conservative Christians hold dear? And if American history and American patriotism are to be the features which define the Orthodox mission to America, what will the Holy Orthodox Church have to offer America other than reheated americanisms? Balanced missionary sensitivity is commendable, but a faithful witness to the Orthodox faith also requires a call to repentance.

The final issue I would like to address is the one Fr. Pat raises about the role of America in world history. On this point at least, we are in utter agreement. I am grateful that it was America and not the Soviet Union which prevailed in the twentieth century. However, one need not search the Scriptures long to find what usually befalls those nations which God raises up to use as instruments. The Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, and yes, even the Romans have played their role and been discarded. Even within modern times we can see the peril inherent in shouldering the “white man’s burden.” Within fifty years of Kipling’s 1899 poem, the sun had set upon the British Empire. Serious Orthodox evangelism in America may not succeed in bringing America to Orthodoxy, but may God have mercy on us all if we fail to present the truth of Orthodoxy to America due to the idols of “American history” or misguided patriotism.


Peter Brubacher

[email protected]

OPF’s Iraq Appeal: a letter to President Bush

A Plea for Peace from the Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America

stopwar[note: In March 2003, shortly before the US-led attack against Iraq was launched, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship drafted a letter to President George W. Bush urging him not to initiate war. The letter was signed by numerous Orthodox bishops, priests, monastics, theologians and lay people.]

Dear President Bush,

As Orthodox Christians, we seek the conversion of enemies to friends in Christ. Saddam Hussein is an enemy of the United States and of the people of Iraq, but we declare that there are better ways to respond to terrorism than to respond in kind.

We do not argue against attacking Iraq because of any admiration for Saddam Hussein. He came to office by intrigue and murder, and remains in power by the same means; he is his own country’s worst enemy. The Iraqi people deserve to be rid of him.

The United States is ready to overthrow him by any means, including an attack which would kill thousands of civilians and maim many more, justifying such an attack on the possibility that Hussein’s regime is producing weapons of mass destruction and preparing to use them against America and Israel and their allies.

Because we seek the reconciliation of enemies, a conversion which grows from striving to be faithful to the Gospel, the Orthodox Church has never regarded any war as just or good, and fighting an elusive enemy by means which cause the death of innocent people can be regarded only as murder. Individual murderers are treated by psychiatrists and priests and isolated from society. But who heals the national psyche, the wounded soul of a nation, when it is untroubled by the slaughter of non-combatant civilians?

As Orthodox Christians, we find healing in Christ, Who made us responsible for His sacred gift of life. God created us in His image and likeness, and we best reflect Christ — Who neither killed anyone nor blessed anyone to kill — by loving, helping, and forgiving.

Friends help each other do good things, not evil things. We find echoes of holy friendship in the world’s unfolding reaction to events in Iraq.

Many nations traditionally allied with America — along with many patriotic Americans — oppose an invasion of Iraq. They see how difficult a position the US will assume by attacking Iraq, and seek instead a renewed program of weapons inspection.

Iraq’s closest neighbors are far from supportive of the course the United States is pursuing, even though they are aware of Saddam’s shameful, destructive regime. Not having rallied to America’s side does not mean that they support Saddam.

An attack on Iraq will be seen by many as an attack on all Arabic and Islamic states. America, despite the rhetoric, is perceived as seeing itself under attack by Islam. America helped install and maintain the despotic Shah of Iran, but withdrew its support when Iran became an Islamic republic (itself undemocratic in many ways). Now America is seen as the largely uncritical supporter of Israel, against the interests of Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian. Bombing Iraq will confirm these perceptions among Muslims.

An attack by Saddam on any nation would be viewed as proper cause for a military response to Iraq by the attacked nation and its allies, as was the case with Kuwait. This may not be good, but it is true. Saddam now attacks only his own people, and they need help — but not the “help” of being killed in an effort by other countries to bring about “regime change” in Iraq.

“Pre-emption” (the notion that one nation may attack another because of what it might do) is philosophically, ethically, and pragmatically perilous. After all, an enemy may return the favor. Once “pre-emption” is established as a valid principle for international relations, nations which invoke that principle will have no conceptual shelter.

If the world can be convinced that it’s possible to work peacefully to make life more livable for all, we will all be better off. This is the reconciliation we hope for as Christians among individuals. Can it not happen among nations, between Iraq and its neighbors, and for all the good people of the world?

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship calls on the United States and the United Nations to follow diplomatic paths predicated on mercy, honesty, and justice, and to seek peacefully negotiated resolutions to the impasse in Iraq.

We implore Christ, Who is our peace, to bless every endeavor directed toward our complete reconciliation with each other, and with Him.

The Council for the Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America:

John Brady, Jim Forest, David Holden, Daniel Lieuwen, John Oliver, Deacon John Oliver III, Alex Patico, Sheri San Chirico, Monk James Silver and Renee Zitzloff

A partial list of other signers as of 19 March 2003:

Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey, Orthodox Church in America, External Affairs

Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Bishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America

Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada, Orthodox Church in America

Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, Vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Administrator of Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

Bishop Basil of Sergievo, Diocese of Sourozh, Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain

Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia, Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain

Rebecca Alexander , member, Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Nashville, Indiana

Fr. Paisius Altschul, St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Kansas City, Missouri

Hierodeacon Amvrosi, Communaute de St Serafin de Sarov, Rawdon, Quebec

Sadie Barchini, Vice President, Orthodox Christian Fellowship at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Timothy Beach, director, Agape School; Reader & lay missionary, Orthodox Church in Taiwan

Carol Bebawi, Centre for the Study of Islam & Christian-Muslim Relations, University of Birmingham, member of St Aidan & St Chad parish, Nottingham, England

Fr. John Behr, Associate Professor of Patristics, St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Alexander Belopopsky, Programme Executive for Europe, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland

Carmela Biggs, R.N., case manager, Raphael House, shelter for homeless families, San Francisco, California

Brother Pierre Blais , ThD, Monastic Society of S. Silouan the Athonite, OCA, Canada; Instructor, Dep’t of Religion, University of Toronto; Orthodox Church in America representative, Justice & Peace Commission, Canadian Council of Churches.

Rev. Ted Bobosh, priest, St. Paul’s Orthodox Church, Dayton, Ohio

Hildo Bos, Acting President, Syndesmos: the World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth; member, St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Dr. Peter Bouteneff, Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Marie Boyko LaGuardia, member, St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church, Denver, Colorado

V. Rev. John Breck, Professor of Bioethics and Patristic Exegesis, St. Sergius Theological Institute, Paris, France; Director, St. Silouan Retreat, Charleston, South Carolina

Catherine Brockenborough, Esq., attorney, Nashville, Tennessee

Rev. Marcus C. Burch, St John of the Ladder Orthodox Church, Greenville, South Carolina

Prof. Sheila D. Campbell, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada

Fr. William Christ, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Brother Christopher, Hieromonk; Brother Elias, Monk; Brother Stavros, Monk, New Skete Monastery, Cambridge, New York

Fr. John Chryssavgis, Professor of Theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis , Dean and Professor of Dogmatics, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Gregory Cook, writer and teacher; member of Holy Resurrection Church, Tacoma, Washington

Fr. Michael Dahulich, Dean, St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary, So. Canaan, Pennsylvania

Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, Oakton, Virginia

Fr. Demetrios Demopulos, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Helen Breslich Erickson, Lecturer in Liturgical Music, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

John H. Erickson, Dean, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Fr. Dragan and Mirjana Filipovic, St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Canton, Ohio

Fr. Thomas FitzGerald , Th.D., Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Fr. Hilarion Frakes, St.John of Kronstadt Orthodox Mission, Reno, Nevada

V. Rev. Thomas Gallaway, St. Andrew Antiochian Orthodox Church Lexington, Kentucky

Fr. John Garvey, priest of the Orthodox Church in America; Commonweal columnist; New York City

Fr. Paul Gassios , St. Thomas the Apostle Orthodox Church, Indiana

Eleni Geanon , MA, Director of Alumni Relations Office, Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Hieromonk Alexander Golitzin, Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Rev. Anastasios Gounaris, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Archimandrite Michael Graves, Maison Orthodoxe, Petion-Ville, Haiti, West Indies

Deacon James Gresh, Diocese of the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America, Canton, Ohio

Fr. Alexander Golubov, Academic Dean, St Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, South Canaan, Pennsylvania

Fr. Stanley Harakas, retired Professor of Orthodox Theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Fr. Gregory Havrilak, Associate General Secretary, Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, New York City

Fr. Stephen C. Headley, priest, parish of St. Stephen and St. Herman, Vezeley, France

Dr. Jurretta Jordan Heckscher, cultural historian, writer, and member of St. Mark Orthodox Church, Bethesda, Maryland

Fr. Oliver and Matushka Lorie Herbel, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York.

Fr. Mark Hodges, St. Stephen the First Martyr Orthodox Church, Lima, Ohio

Seraphim Alton Honeywell, Warden, Russian Parish of the Annunciation, Oxford, England

Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Chris Horattas , Board Member, St. Nicholas Orthodox School; member, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Akron, Ohio

Fr. Stephen Hrycyniak, Associate Pastor, Saints Cyril & Methodius, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Fr. David Hudson, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America & Canada, Alpharetta, Georgia

Hegoumen Irenee, Communaute Monastique de St Serafin de Sarov, Rawdon, Quebec

Father Frederick & Presbytera Carol Janecek, Saints Cyril & Methodius Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Demetra Velisarios Jaquet, M.Div., member of St. Catherine Greek Orthodox, Greenwood Village, Colorado

Fr. John Jillions, St. Ephraim Orthodox Church, Cambridge, England

Victoria Jones, OCA Focus Curriculum Team, Parishioner of Holy Trinity, Overland Park, Kansas

Joan Kakascik , Ed.D., Psychologist, Parishioner of Christ the Saviour, Paramus, New Jersey

Fr. George E. Kalpaxis, retired priest, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Baltimore, Maryland

Barbara Karol, parishioner, Christ the Saviour, Paramus, New Jersey

Valerie A. Karras, Th.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Greek Patristics, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri; member, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, St. Louis, Missouri

Fr. Robert Kennaugh, St Nicholas Church, Narol, Manitoba, Canada

Nikola D. Kostich , M.D. and Carol M. Kostich , members of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

Charlie Kroll, Chief Financial Officer, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Seminary, Brookline, Massachusetts

Fr. Bratso Krsic, Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, Butte, Montana

Fr. Alexander Kuchta, pastor, Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Palatine, Illinois

Paul Ladouceur, webmaster, ‘Pages Orthodoxes La Transfiguration, Rawdon, Quebec, Canada

Archpriest George Larin, Rector, Parish of the Russian Orthodox Holy Virgin Protection Church, Nyack, New York

Kevin Lawrence, Chair, String Department, North Carolina School of the Arts, University of North Carolina; Choir Director, Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, Greensboro, North Carolina

Dr. Violet E. Leathers, Associate Professor- Emeritus, College of Education, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio

Fr. Brooks Ledford, Director of San Antonio Catholic Worker House, priest of the Orthodox Church in America, attached: St. Anthony Orthodox Church, San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Philip LeMasters, Professor of Religion, McMurry University, Abilene, Texas

Rev. Gregory Long, Saint Anthony Orthodox Church, Butler, Pennsylvania

Claude Lopez , Language Professor, Switzerland

Serge R. Lopoukhine, Parish Treasurer, Holy Virgin Protection Russian Orthodox Church, Nyack, New York

Dr. Andrew Louth, Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, University of Durham, England

Fr. Timothy Lowe, priest, SS Peter & Paul Church, Meriden, Connecticut

Nun Macaria, St. Xenia Metochion, Indianapolis, Indiana

Anne Glynn Mackoul, Princeton, New Jersey

Fr. John Manuel, Richmond, Virginia

Fr. Lawrence Margitich, Santa Rosa, California

Mother Mary Ann, Presentation of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Monastery, Canton, Ohio

Frederica Mathewes-Green, author, Baltimore, Maryland

Daniel C. Mathewson , Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, Canton, Ohio; teacher, St. Nicholas Orthodox Christian School, Mogadore, Ohio

Joe May, director, Matthew 25 House of Hospitality, Akron, Ohio

Mother Brigid McCarthy, St. Moses House, Kansas City, Missouri

V. Rev. Rade Merick, Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Church, Steubenville, Ohio

Dr. Paul Meyendorff, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Fr. Thomas Moore, priest, Holy Apostles Orthodox Church, West Columbia, South Carolina

Fr. Elijah Mueller, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Jamaica Estates, New York

Fr. Thomas Mueller, Dean, Chicago Deanery, Orthodox Church in America; pastor, Saints Cyril & Methodius Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Presbytera Gina Mueller, Saints Cyril & Methodius Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Very Rev. John Nehrebecki, Dean of New Jersey, Orthodox Church in America

Fr. Anthony Nelson, rector, St. Benedict Russian Orthodox Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; director, Oklahoma Orthodox Christians for Life/Oklahoma Pro-Life Action Network

Evangeline Newton , Director of the Center for Literacy, University of Akron; member, Annunciation, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Akron, Ohio

Rick M. Newton , Chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department, Kent State University; member Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Akron, Ohio

Archpriest Michael J. Oleksa, Dean, St. Innocent Cathedral, Anchorage, Alaska

Archpriest Sergei Ovsiannikov, rector, St. Nicholas of Myra Russian Orthodox Church, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fr. George C. Papademetriou, Associate Professor of Theology, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts

Fr. Harry Pappas, St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Alexander Patico, Senior Program Manager, Institute of International Education

Archpriest Stefan Pavlenko, Orthodox Church of All Russian Saints, Burlingame, California

Rachel Catherine Peters, M.Div., Orthodox Church of St. John the Russian, Ipswich, Massachusetts; Department of Internet Ministries, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Fr Michael Plekon, professor, Sociology/Anthropology, Program in Religion & Culture, Baruch College of the City University of New York

Fr. Victor S. Potapov, Rector, Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Washington, D.C.

Fr. Theodore Pulcini, Associate Professor of Religion, Department of Religion, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

Dr. Albert Raboteau, Professor of Religion, Princeton University, New Jersey

Fr. Patrick Radley, rector, Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Great Walsingham, England

Fr. Geoffrey Ready, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Mother Raphaela, Abbess, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, Otego, New York

Archpriest Basil Rhodes, rector, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Saratoga, California

Dr. Gabriel Jay Rochelle, teacher, Saint Sophia Theological Seminary, South Bound Brook, New Jersey

Jessica Rose, choir director, Russian Orthodox parish, Oxford, England

Fr. Dmitri Ross, St.Dunstan Orthodox Parish, New Zealand

Fr. Yakov Ryklin, St. Mary Magdalen Orthodox Church, New York City

Archimandrite Michael Rymer, Stockton, California

Fr. Herman Schick, pastor, St George Orthodox Church, Buffalo, New York; president of the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches on the Niagara Frontier

Fr. Paul Schroeder, Chancellor, Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco

Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes, parish priest in Boise, Idaho, and president of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund USA

Eleana Silk , Librarian, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, New York

Fr. Alvian Smirensky, Schenectady, New York

Susan E. Steinhaus, member, St Paul’s Orthodox Church, Emmaus, Pennsylvania

Catherine Sullivan, member, St. Nickolas Orthodox Church, Charlotte, North Carolina

Philip Tamoush, Orthodox Christian Communications Network, Torrance, California

Juliann and Catherine Tarsney, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, St. Paul, Minnesota

Professor Nikolai S. Tchertkoff , Chestnut Ridge, New York

Fr. Rastko and Vickie Trbuhovich , St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church, Lackawanna, New York

Very Rev. Andrew Tregubov; iconographer; rector of Holy Resurrection Church, St. Claremont, New Hampshire

Fr. Luke Veronis, adjunct professor at Holy Cross Theological Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary

Fr. Alexis Vinogradov, parish priest, Wappingers, New York

Rev. Aleksandar Vlajkovic, St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Boston, Massachusetts

Fr. Theodoor van der Voort, Holy Apostles Peter and Paul Church, Deventer, the Netherlands

Michael and Theodora Ward; editor, Orthodox Outlook; members, Greek Orthodox Church of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England

Martin D. Watt, C.P.A., St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Parish, Dayton, Ohio

Donald L. Westcott, member, Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, Canton, Ohio

Deacon Timothy Wilkinson, Diocese of the Midwest, Orthodox Church in America, Canton, Ohio

Fr. Gregory Williams, St. John of Kronstadt Press, Liberty, Tennesee; administrator, Haitian Orthodox Mission (ROCOR)

Mary Winterer-Papatassos , member, St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Xenia Woyevodsky , member, St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Lena S. Zezulin, Attorney, Washington, DC

Dn. Moses Zorea, St. James the Just Russian Orthodox Church, Anchorage, Alaska; attorney-at-law

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America is a branch of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship International.

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