Churches call for peace in Georgia

The World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches and World Vision have called for peace in the military conflict between Russian and Georgia.

Ecumenical News International (ENI) reports:

The patriarchs of the Russian and Georgian Orthodox churches have issued calls for peace as military conflict between Russia and Georgia over the pro-Russian separatist enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia escalated into the first war between countries with Orthodox Christian majorities in modern history.

“Today blood is being shed and people are perishing in South Ossetia, and my heart deeply grieves over it. Orthodox Christians are among those who have raised their hands against each other. Orthodox peoples called by the Lord to live in fraternity and love are in conflict,” Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II said in a statement on, his official Web site.


The Web site of the Georgian Orthodox Church,, reports that in a sermon on 10 August, Patriarch Ilia II called for prayers to end the conflict.

Backing for the patriarchs’ appeals came from two international church groupings that said the United Nations must “ensure the territorial integrity and political independence of Georgia”.

In a 12 August joint statement, the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches warned, “The use of force in the dispute over South Ossetia and Abkhazia has cost the precious lives of civilians and soldiers, risks destabilising a fragile region, and reawakens deep fears there and far beyond.”

Read more here and from Ekklesia here.

Ekklesia carries the plea from World Vision:

As fierce fighting continues in Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region, international aid agency World Vision is calling for the international community to help broker an immediate ceasefire.

“Thousands of civilians are in harm’s way right now, including women and children,” warned David Womble, World Vision’s national director for Georgia.

“The U.N. Security Council must make this matter a priority, and help broker an immediate ceasefire between the parties. If fighting continues, thousands of families will be forced to flee, and we could be faced with a humanitarian crisis.”

To avoid any further civilian casualties and suffering, World Vision is calling for the United Nations Security Council to work to broker an immediate ceasefire. It also urges that combatants abide by international law and protect civilians, particularly children and women, who are most vulnerable.

Read more here.

Jewish relief groups are also active in care for refugees:

The evacuation effort has been a lightning, joint project of international Jewish organizations working in close conjunction with the Israeli government. The Israeli Embassy has become a hub of activity where leaders and refugees have shuttled to and from since the conflict began.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, one of the agencies working on the ground, estimates that more than 700 Jews have been displaced in recent days.

Read more here.

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