Metropolitan Herman issues statement on conflict in South Ossetia

On August 11, 2008, His Beatitude Metropolitan Herman issued the following statement concerning the recent military conflict between Russia and Georgia that broke out in the disputed Caucasus region of South Ossetia on August 8.

“The hierarchs, clergy, and laity of the Orthodox Church in America are observing the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia with heavy hearts. In the course of many years we have regarded our close relations with the Orthodox Churches of Russia and Georgia as precious signs of communion and solidarity. It is thus deeply painful to see the war between Georgia and Russia, and the resulting suffering for many in the war zones in South Ossetia and Georgia.

“We pray that the political leaders, as they make their decisions, may care above all for the life and safety and well-being of their peoples.

“We pray that the cessation of hostilities through a cease-fire will create the conditions for a peaceful settlement.

“We pray that all political leaders and political institutions may exhibit realism and sanity as they dedicate their efforts to a peaceful resolution of a conflict which is causing suffering to many people and which has dangerous implications for the relations among states in the Caucasus, in Eastern Europe, and in the whole world.

“We thank Almighty God for the witness for peaceful relations between Russian and Georgia consistently given by the Patriarch of Moscow and the Patriarch of Georgia. May this witness be an effective avenue for the overcoming of violence and all threats to peace in the Caucasus region.”

His Beatitude has also sent letters of support to His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy of Russia and His Holiness and Beatitude, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia of Georgia. “The violent conflict between Russia and Georgia, resulting in much suffering and bloodshed, is observed by Orthodox Christians in America with deep concern and with heavy hearts,” Metropolitan Herman wrote. “I extend to you my profound sympathy as you face the tragic conflict. Your spiritual leadership is, of course, a powerful witness in the Russian and Georgian societies. May God bless your continuing efforts to promote realism, sanity, and hope.”