Peacemaking

Defeating Satan, who whispers to us philosophies that justify killing, so that raising up vain imaginings at the expense of the poor, we who love life find ourselves murdering it.

Loving Enemies Means Having No Enemies

In the teaching of St. Silouan and Elder Sophrony, people are not classified as enemies and friends, bad and good, but people who have known God and people who have not known God. Wherever enemies are acknowledged, it means part of the body of humanity  is cast aside and universality is restricted. Keeping the commandment of love for ones enemies, man embraces all human beings and becomes catholic and universal. On an ecclesiastical level, love for ones enemies comprises the criterion that ensures catholicity. – Prof. George Mantazaridis, quoted in Patristic Theology, – Fr. John Romanides

Allow yourself to be Harmed

“Let yourself be persecuted but do not persecute others; be crucified but do not crucify others; be insulted but do not insult others; be slandered but do not slander others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Such is the sign of purity. Suffer with the sick. Be afflicted with sinners. Exult with those who repent. Be the friend of all. But in your spirit remain alone….Spread your cloak over anyone who falls into sin and shield him. And if you cannot take his fault on yourself and accept punishment in his place, do not destroy his character.” — St. Isaac of Syria

When Insults Annoy You

Amma Dionysia gave alms to a beggar, but less than he wanted. The beggar began to speak harshly to her, and Dionysia took offense, wanting to strike back. Abba Zosimas corrected her, saying, “You are striking against yourself. You are chasing every virtue from your soul. Can you endure what Christ endured? My lady, I know that you have given away your possessions as though they had no value. But until you become meek, you are like a metal smith pounding a bar of iron and failing to produce a useful object. You will know you have become meek when insults no longer annoy you.” – Sayings of the Desert Fathers

How States Conceal Crimes

The world is drenched with mutual bloodshed. When individuals slay a man, it is a crime. When killing takes place on behalf of the state, it is called a virtue. – St. Cyprian

Many things to Ponder

You have many things to ponder. Ponder paradise, where Cain, who destroyed his brother through jealousy, does not return. Ponder the kingdom of heaven to which the Lord admits only those of one heart and mind. Ponder the fact that only those can be called the sons of God who are peacemakers, who, united by divine birth and law, correspond to the likeness of God the Father and Christ. Ponder that we are under God’s eyes, that we are running the course of our conversion, and life with God Himself looking on and judging, that then finally we can arrive at the point of succeeding in seeing Him, if we delight Him as He now observes us by our actions, if we show ourselves worthy of His grace and indulgence, if we, who are to please Him forever in heaven, please Him first in this world. – St. Cyprian of Carthage

The Prime Characteristic

“Nothing is so characteristically Christian as being a peacemaker.”– St Basil the Great, Letter 114

More permissable to be killed than to kill.

“We [the Christians] started yesterday and already we have filled the world and everything that belongs to you — the cities, apartment houses, fortresses, towns, market places, the camps themselves, your tribes, town councils, the imperial palace, the Senate, the Forum. The only thing we have left to you are the temples. We can count your armies; there is a greater number of Christians in one province! What kind of war would we, who willingly submit to the sword, not be ready or eager for despite our inferior numbers if it were not for the fact that according to our doctrine it is more permissible to be killed than to kill.” – Tertullian, Apology, 37:4

Take no Life, for any cause

“Above all things: forget not the poor, but support them to the extent of your means. Give to the orphan, protect the widow, and permit the mighty to destroy no man. Take not the life of the just or the unjust, nor permit him to be killed. Destroy no Christian soul, even though he be guilty of murder.” – Saint Prince Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles, in his Testament to his children, The Primary Chronicle, written by St. Nestor of the Kiev Caves, 1096 AD

Aggression vs. Peacemaking

“If we live as people of God, there will be room for all nations in the Balkans and in the world. If we liken ourselves to Cain who killed his brother Abel, then the entire earth will be too small even for two people. The Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to be always children of God and love one another. We should remember the words of St. Paul: “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” –Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church [source]

“Why do the nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” – St. David, The Psalter