September 11, 2013
Moscow: Appeal by His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, to U.S. President
Barack Obama Regarding Situation in Syria
His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, addressed an
appeal to United States President Barack Obama, in which he
expressed his deep concern with plans for military action by U.S.
Armed Forces in Syrian territory.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church appealed to the American
President, calling on him to heed the voices of religious leaders,
who have spoken unanimously against military interference in the
Syrian conflict, and to make every effort for the immediate
commencement of peace negotiations.
Excellency, esteemed Mr. President!
It is with pain and distress that the Russian Orthodox Church
observes the tragic events in Syria. We receive information about
the situation there not from the news reports, but from the living
witness coming to us from religious figures, ordinary believers, and
our compatriots living in that country.
Syria today has become an arena of armed conflict, engaged in by
foreign mercenaries and militants linked with international
terrorist centers. For millions of citizens, the war has become an
We were deeply alarmed to learn about plans by the U.S. Armed Forces
to strike within Syrian territory. This will doubtless bring ever
greater sufferings to the Syrian people, primary to the civilian
population. An external military intervention may result in radical
forces coming to power in Syria, who will not be able and will not
wish to ensure inter-confessional accord in Syrian society.
Our primary concern is for the fate of the Christian population of
Syria, which in such a case will come under the threat of total
extermination or exile. This is already taking place in regions of
the country that have been seized by militants. Our fears were newly
confirmed by an attempt by armed groups of the Syrian opposition to
seize the town of Ma’loula, whose residents are predominantly
Christians. The militants continue shelling the town, home to
ancient Christian monasteries – sites of special veneration by the
faithful all over the world
Since April 22, the Christian hierarchs of Aleppo, Metropolitans
Paul and John Ibrahim, have been held captive by the militants.
Nothing is known of their fate, despite of the fact that a host of
religious figures has appealed to the leaders of their respective
governments to help secure their immediate release.
The current Syrian crisis doubtless must be settled with the
participation of the international community. In this regard, we
consider it important to use recently provided opportunities for a
diplomatic settlement of the current conflict, ones which will
provide for control by the international community over Syria’s
The Russian Orthodox Church knows the price of human suffering and
loss, since in the 20th century our people survived two devastating
world wars, which claimed millions of lives and ruined those of many
more. We also regard as our own pain the pain and losses suffered by
the American people in the monstrous terrorist attacks of September
On the eve of the anniversary of that sorrowful event, I appeal to
you to heed the voices of religious leaders, who have spoken
unanimously against military interference in the Syrian conflict,
and to make every effort for the immediate commencement of peace
Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia
Translated by Rdr. Gregory Levitsky
Media Office of the
Eastern American Diocese
Original Russian text: