Kiev, December 4, Interfax - Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmail has asked Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to help bring about the soonest possible release of the Ukrainian sailors recently detained in the Kerch Strait.
"I, as the governing bishop of the Odessa Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church [...] being prompted by the daily requests I receive from residents of Odessa, am asking Your Holiness to hear the crying mothers, the moans of wives and children and the pain of families whose sons have ended up in detention after being involved in the political conflict and to facilitate their soonest possible release," according to the metropolitan's message, a copy of which was shared with Interfax on Tuesday.
Metropolitan Agafangel believes that it is outside the church's remit to give a legal assessment of the incident, as a result of which 24 Ukrainian sailors were detained by Russian border guards, but many of the detained sailors were born in Odessa and the Odessa Region or live there. These people, some of whom have been wounded and need medical help, have fallen "hostage to the political situation," he said.
Now only the Orthodox Church can become "the sole element that is above this confrontation and whose authoritative voice can be heard by both sides of the conflict," he said.