On February 28, 2022, His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia was invited by the Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Sweden in Stockholm, His Grace Anders Holmberg, to the “Interfaith peace demonstration for Ukraine,” held at St. James Cathedral of Stockholm, near the Palace.
The event was honored by the presence of Members of the Swedish Parliament, Clergy and members of other Christian denominations and other religions, as well as representatives of the Red Cross.
In his speech in English, His Eminence initially stated the following: “No sooner did the first general restrictions and measures to combat the global pandemic, begin to slowly be lifted around the world, then the specter of a new threat has appeared. The entire world looks on at the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The suspense, building up over the past few weeks, has finally come to a climax, with the tragic news of the commencement of armed conflicts throughout Ukraine. Humanity looks on with pain and suffering, praying for the fighting to cease, and peace to prevail. Our minds and hearts go out especially to the innocent victims – the people who have been caught up in the war madness, old and young alike – and we pray for their protection and safety against “all affliction, wrath, danger, and distress”.”
He reiterated the sentiments of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the senior-most Spiritual Leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, when He calls “on the leaders of all states, European institutions and international organizations to work for a peaceful settlement of this critical situation through candid dialogue, which is the only means of resolving any problem and facing any challenge.”
Subsequently, Metropolitan Cleopas stated the following: “Much like the response following the horrors of World War II, when the nations of the world collaborated to face their problems and ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity, in a similar way, one of the blessings resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic was humanity’s ability to quickly come together and collaborate for the greater good. Countries cooperated by sharing knowledge, resources, and other goods to tame this silent and invisible killer. Scientists and researchers, civic and religious leaders, and everyday citizens pooled their efforts, energies, prayers, and hopes, as they engaged in active dialogue to help defeat this common enemy. Religious leaders, who cooperated fully with government mandates and made many sacrifices to actively demonstrate that the protection of human life is a sacred cause central to our calling, must spearhead this message of peace and dialogue. World leaders should show the same commitment to collaboration and the formation of a united front in regional crises and bilateral challenges as they did during the pandemic.”
The speech concluded with the words of Patriarch Bartholomew, who called “upon all sides involved to follow the road of dialogue and respect for international law, to bring an end to this conflict and allow all the people of Ukraine to live in harmony.”
On February 21, responding to the invitation of the Cardinal of Stockholm His Eminence Anders Arborelius, Metropolitan Cleopas spoke at a similar event, which took place at the St. Eric Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church in Stockholm.
In both of the above events, His Eminence was accompanied by the Pastor of the St. George Cathedral in Stockholm, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Bartholomew Iatridis.