This is how the Orthodox Church of Finland reacted to the war in Ukraine

Immediately after Russia attacked Ukraine, the organizations of priests and singers of the Orthodox Church of Finland, together with the Association of Orthodox Youth of Finland and secular organizations, launched a joint appeal to the faithful of the Church to raise funds for Ukrainian refugees through Filantropia ry. , the international aid organization of the Orthodox Church of Finland.

At the same time, the organizations have appealed to other dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to help the refugees, the Orthodox Parish of Helsinki reported.

Two days later, the bishops of the Orthodox Church of Finland, led by Archbishop Leo of Helsinki and All Finland, issued a statement strictly condemning the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.

The bishops have unanimously declared there is no justification for the war in Ukraine, urging people to donate to Filantropia’s fundraising effort.

At the same time, they reminded that members of the Finnish Church of Russian descent are not to blame and urged all believers to join in the prayer for peace.

On the fourth day since the Russian invasion, Filantropia sent the first collection through Eleos Polska, the charity organization of the Polish Orthodox Church. More than 15,000 euros were collected and donated during the first week.

Some of the Ukrainian refugees will end up in Finland. On March 2, the Orthodox Church of Finland announced that the central administration of the Church had already started preparations to help the refugees. The first decisions to allocate part of the Church’s budget for this purpose will be taken on March 15.

The faithful offer vital support to Ukraine. People eagerly searched for concrete ways to help and express their compassion for the people of Ukraine.

As an expression of collective compassion, the main church of the Orthodox Church of Finland, the Dormition Cathedral in Helsinki, was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag for three days (March 5-7).

On Sunday March 6, the Helsinki Parish of the Orthodox Church of Finland held a procession in front of the Ukrainian Embassy. Archbishop Leo met with Ukrainian Ambassador Olga Dibrova, who thanked Finnish Orthodoxy for her help, even though “she didn’t even have time to ask for it.”

She also said that war has taught that “goodwill prevails”. Three hundred people participated in the prayer service for peace.

On Monday March 7, eleven days after the Russian attack on Ukraine, 1.5 million people had fled Ukraine. This is the most alarming refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. 67% of the 41 million inhabitants of Ukraine are Orthodox.

The Orthodox Church of Finland is an autonomous Church under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This year, Finland will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Tomos issued by Constantinople in 1923.

The Orthodox Church of Finland is well organized. The Church comprises three dioceses, two monasteries (New Valamo Monastery for monks and Lintula Monastery for nuns) and approximately 59,000 members. The Church has extensive and enduring ties with other Orthodox Churches, both organizational and personal. The Church operating in free and democratic Finland is an important player in ecumenical work with a strong Orthodox tradition. Many active lay members participate in church administration and organizations.

The Dormition Cathedral in Helsinki was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Photo: Kari Pekonen


Martha J. Finley