Every year, tens of thousands of people are killed in armed conflict. Of those, nearly 45 percent have been in nations where Orthodox Christianity is the dominant form of Christianity. No other form of Christianity is on the front lines of as many devastating conflicts as Orthodox Christianity. Because of this, Orthodox Christians are uniquely situated in the world stage when it comes to conflict resolution.
In light of this, there is a great need for Orthodox conflict resolution efforts. Sadly, 23 percent of mediation efforts initiated by intergovernmental organizations fail. This is because most IGOs do not possess the kind of social capital necessary for conflict resolution.
Peacemaking efforts are most successful when they are closely connected to the parties in conflict or are from the same social group as the parties. Regional groups are far more successful than IGOs, with a 62 percent success rate for mediation. [cite source?]
Given the rate of conflict in areas where Orthodoxy is present, and the success of local or regional organizations over and above international IGOs, such as the UN, it is distressing that there are no specifically Orthodox international conflict resolution organizations. In contrast, there are many Catholic and Protestant (not to mention secular) peacemaking organizations active in such places as Syria, Palestine, and Ukraine.
The Orthodox Peace Fellowship is committed to being a voice for reconciliation in international situations of conflict. Working with international partners and local churches, we are pursuing several peacemaking initiatives in multiple Orthodox countries. This undertaking is dedicated to the fifth century saint, St. Acacius of Amida who through his various activities was able to play a significant role in ending a war between the Byzantine and Sassanid Empires in 422.
If you would like to donate to this work, please mark your donation for Acacius Ministries on our donation page. If you would like to receive training in conflict resolution at our certificate program, or volunteer on one of our projects please contact us at: [email protected]