Interfaith leaders to host Jerusalem protest for peace in Ukraine

"It is a key time for religious figures worldwide to advocate for peace."

 Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, waves near the Israeli barrier as he arrives through an Israeli checkpoint to attend Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, in the West Bank December 24, 2021. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, waves near the Israeli barrier as he arrives through an Israeli checkpoint to attend Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem, in the West Bank December 24, 2021.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

Dozens of Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders will gather on Monday in Jerusalem’s Moskva Square near the Russian compound to call for peace in Ukraine. 

The event, which will include an address by His Beatitude Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa, will take place at 1:30 p.m.

“At a time when everything hangs in the balance, we must not assume that political and military leaders alone will be able to defuse this crisis,” said Rabbi Yonatan Neril, director of The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, who is putting on the event with the Elijah Interfaith Institute. “As Putin has put Russia on nuclear alert, it is a key time for religious figures worldwide to advocate for peace.

"This is a moment when religious leaders should raise the banner of peace and do everything in their power to promote it," he concluded.

Pizzaballa and other top Jewish and Muslim clergy will call on Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill to speak to use his position as head of the Russian Orthodox Church for peacemaking. 

Russian President Putin and Patriarch Kirill applaud during the inaugural ceremony of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin at the Zaryadye Concert Hall in Moscow (Credit: REUTERS)Russian President Putin and Patriarch Kirill applaud during the inaugural ceremony of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin at the Zaryadye Concert Hall in Moscow (Credit: REUTERS)

Earlier this month, more than 150 faith leaders worldwide signed a letter to Kirill calling on him to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin and convince him to de-escalate the conflict. 

Signatories include Pizzaballa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Swami Rameshwarananda Giri, Venerable Dharmakosajarn, Imam Mustafa Ceric and Rabbis David Rosen and Michael Melchior. It was spearheaded by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, the Elijah Interfaith Institute and the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem.

The leaders are appealing to Kirill because of his influence in Russia. According to the Interfaith Center, around 41% of the Russian population affiliates with the Russian Orthodox Church. Another 40% of the Russian population affiliates with a different sect or minimally believes in the Christian faith.

Those interested in joining the gathering should be at 24 Cheshin St. between the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and the Jerusalem Trial Court at 1:30 p.m.