Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II called, on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, on the anti-Iraq coalition to cease the bloodshed.
"Do your best to avoid escalation of warfare. Resume peace negotiations. Spare thousands of innocent people," reads the statement by Alexis II in connection with the launch of military operation in Iraq.
The Patriarch calls on "all those who can help stop the war, to do their best to end it up as soon as possible." He also addressed the countries bordering on Iraq asking them to receive Iraqi refugees.
"First casualties have been reported from Iraq," the Patriarch's statement reads. "Their number will increase, as the operation grows. Civilians, both Muslims and Christians will be killed both by bombs and privations which always go hand in hand with warfare." "It can be predicted," Alexis II points out, "that cultural monuments and holy places related to the Biblical history will be damaged." The Patriarch stresses that "the hearts of believers of the Russian Orthodox Church are full of compassion for the suffering Iraqi people: children, women, old and sick people."