As soon as an oppressor comes to power, he does not care about the good of the governed native nation or respect its spiritual, cultural and material values. He knows well that sooner or later the people will begin to see and get rid of the yoke. Therefore, to ensure a long rule, it is necessary to terrorize the titular nation. The preserved historic documents of the Soviet Union are rich in information about the nationality of the repressed. The overwhelming majority of the destroyed, imprisoned or exiled people were Ukrainians who were nationally conscious or good managers. The inspirers, organizers, managers and chief executors of the extermination of the Ukrainians were people who can be described with the words of Jesus Christ: "You belong to your father, the devil...He was a murderer from the beginning..." (Jn. 8:44)
Three holodomors, repressions, and war should have become for you, the Ukrainian nation, a stimulus to spiritual purification, moral improvement, return to your forefathers' Christian tradition with its own Church and internal Christian spirituality and not an imported external, formal Christianity verging on the worship of ritual. And our visit to Kyiv for the celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine showed us the real sons and daughters of the Ukrainian Church, who pray to God and not to man, even if he holds a high post. We saw that even the terrors of the 20th century did not break the backbone of the nation, did not make the Ukrainian a slave and obedient executer of other people's intentions.
We call all to turn their faces to Kyiv, to Ukrainian spiritual shrines, religious and cultural, to the Ukrainian nation: all people born in Ukraine have one and the same mother, Ukraine, which should be served by everyone, without exception, both those vested with power and "small" citizens. Remember the Savior's words: "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." (Matt. 12:25)
Dear Ukrainians! Your past, whether joyful and victorious or sad and tragic, especially the Holodomor, will always remain with you, even when you try to forget, diminish or distort it to please your neighbors. The following words of the Apostle Paul apply to you: "Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to." (1st Cor. 7:24) Your calling is to be good Christians within the ancient Ukrainian Church tradition and citizens of Ukraine, as well as to witness unanimously to the tragedies of the Ukrainian nation in the 20th century, especially the Great Holodomor of 1932-1933, to the world. It is your duty to the memory of your great grandparents, grandparents and parents, for there was no tragedy in human history when more representatives of a single nation were destroyed in one peaceful year than during the several years of a war. And no matter what anyone says or if they try to belittle the evil, this is the clear sign of genocide.
Children of Christ's Church, dear Ukrainians! In the days of remembrance of the victims of the Great Holodomor of 1932-1933, especially on its 75th anniversary, your Mother-Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, grieves together with you and expresses its deep and sincere sympathies to all of you and Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko, who represents Ukraine before the world and through whose persistent efforts the world learns increasingly more information about the terrible tragedy of Ukrainians in the 20th century. We bring our prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ and ask the Most Gracious Savior to give rest in holy dwellings to the souls of all those killed by the Famine and admit them to the assembly of His Martyrs as those innocently killed. May their memory live forever and may the heavenly blessing of the Most High be on you who are alive!
At the Fanar, 20 November 2008
Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch