Biden notes ‘brutality of war’ in Orthodox Easter message amid Ukraine invasion
President Biden spoke to individuals experiencing “the brutality of war” in his Sunday statement commemorating Orthodox Easter, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its third month.
Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden are praying for people impacted by the war, and mourning for individuals whose loved ones have died.
“During this sacred season, we hold in our prayers all those who are suffering from the brutality of war and persecution,” Biden said in a statement. “We mourn with all those who have lost loved ones or who fear for their safety, and rededicate ourselves to working for peace with justice and for the freedom and security of all people.”
Ukrainians are celebrating Orthodox Easter on Sunday amid the Russian invasion, which began on Feb. 24. The day, which usually represents reflection and rebirth, comes as Ukrainians are battling to save their lives and territory against Russia’s offensive.
Hundreds of Orthodox Christians circled St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv on Sunday to pray.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres had pushed for a four-day “humanitarian pause” between Holy Thursday and Orthodox Easter Sunday “to allow for the opening of a series of humanitarian corridors,” but Russia rejected the idea.
Biden on Sunday said Orthodox Easter this year will “strengthen our nation and world.”
“Through compassion and service to others; demonstrations of interfaith solidarity; advocacy for religious freedom for everyone, everywhere; and care for creation,” the president said.
“Let us continue to spread the message of Easter joy through our shared work to build a world that values the inherent dignity and infinite worth of every human being,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday said: “Today we all believe in a new victory for Ukraine,” adding, “And we are all convinced that we will not be destroyed by any horde or evil.”
“We are enduring dark times. And on this bright day, most of us are not in bright clothes. But we are fighting for a bright idea. On the bright side. And the truth, people, the Lord and the holy heavenly light are on our side,” he said.
He also prayed that Ukraine is protected and saved.
“We have all been praying for the last two months. And in the Resurrection of Christ, which symbolizes the great victory of life over death, each of us asks the Lord for one thing. And speaks the same words to heaven. The words of a great and united prayer. Great and Only God! Save our Ukraine!” Zelensky said.
“Protect those who protect us! Heaven, protect those who defend the native land. Strengthen the will of those who protect us from captivity. Save those who save Ukraine. These are our military, national guards, border guards, our territorial defense, intelligence. These and all our other warriors of light,” he added.