Church statement on Iraq

6. Other church related organizations
Church/Organization name:
Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America
Date of the statement:
Country :
North America
A Plea for Peace from the Orthodox Peace Fellowship in North America

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
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
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