Religious leaders call for peace at Jerusalem's Moskva Square 

The gathering on Sunday came following a letter sent to Kirill, in which 150 religious leaders throughout the world called on him to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to end the war.

 Religious leaders from different religions met at Moskva Square in Jerusalem on March 21 in order to call on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Primate of the Russia Orthodox Church, to use his position and power to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Religious leaders from different religions met at Moskva Square in Jerusalem on March 21 in order to call on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Primate of the Russia Orthodox Church, to use his position and power to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Religious leaders - Christian, Jewish, Druze and Muslim - arrived at Moskva Square in Jerusalem on Monday, calling for an end to the Russian invasion and for peace in Ukraine.

The objective of the gathering was to convince Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Primate of the Russia Orthodox Church, to use his position and power to achieve peace. 

Present at the gathering were Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Sheikh Hassan Abu-Glion, Rabbi David Rosen, the former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and current International Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee. 

Rosen has been active in various interfaith campaigns in the past. The gathering also included various other Druze and Muslim religious leaders, all of whom expressed their grave concern for the developments in Ukraine, maintaining that religious leaders have a duty to fight for peace.

The gathering on Sunday came following a letter sent to Kirill, in which 150 religious leaders throughout the world called on him to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to end the war. The letter's signatories included Pizzaballa, Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Swami Rameshwarananda Giri, Bosniak imam Mustafa Cerić and Israel's Rabbi Michael Melkior.

  Religious leaders from different religions met at Moskva Square in Jerusalem on March 21 in order to call on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Primate of the Russia Orthodox Church, to use his position and power to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Religious leaders from different religions met at Moskva Square in Jerusalem on March 21 in order to call on Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the Primate of the Russia Orthodox Church, to use his position and power to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Kirill, 75, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, sees the war as a bulwark against a West he considers decadent, particularly over the acceptance of homosexuality. 

His full-throated blessing of the invasion has splintered the worldwide Orthodox Church and unleashed an internal rebellion that experts say is unprecedented.

On March 14, Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader Metropolitan Epiphanius I of Kyiv urged his people to fight against the Russian invaders and stated that killing Russian soldiers isn't a sin.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split in 2018, with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate falling under Russian jurisdiction, while the church that Epiphanius leads is the independent Orthodox Christian Church based in Kyiv.