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Incommunion Incommunion Journal – Orthodox Peace Fellowship
Collection of Statements

Russian Orthodox and Eastern European Bishops Statements


by Fr. Philip LeMasters

Orthodox Approaches to Nonviolent Resistance

Articles and Essays

War and Peace Resources

Defensive Wall Israel

Articles and Essays

Remembering Jim Forest

Essays and articles remembering the Orthodox Christian, Writer, and Peace Activist Jim Forest.

JIM FOREST and Thích Nhất Hạnh

Read all recent essays


The Orthodox Peace Fellowship of the Protection of the Mother of God is an association of Orthodox Christian believers seeking to bear witness to the peace of Christ by applying the principles of the Gospel to situations of division and conflict, whether in the home, the parish, the community we live, the work place, within our particular nations, and between nations. We work for the conservation of God’s creation and especially of human life. We are not a political association and support no political parties or candidates.

A Fellowship of Orthodox Christian Peacemakers

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

Let us call brothers even those who hate us and forgive all by the Resurrection. (Easter verses, Orthodox Liturgy)

From the earliest days of the Church, followers of Jesus have sought to live out Christian faith in its fullness, working to build communities of worship, providing for those lacking the necessities of life, loving not only neighbors but enemies, seeking conversion of adversaries rather than victory over them, and practicing repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation as normal virtues of sacramental life.

This has never been easy. Each generation has had to confront the problem of evil and combat its structures and also has had to suffer the tension that exists between membership in the Church and citizenship in a nation-state.

Often the teachings of Jesus have been dismissed, even by believers, as too idealistic. Yet every generation, even in the era of Hitler and Stalin, has been blessed with heroic witnesses to membership in “an army that sheds no blood,” as Clement of Alexandria described the Church (“Soldiers of Peace” in The Protreptikos).

Members of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship try to use life-protecting methods to safeguard life and creation.

Aware that each person is made in the image and likeness of God, we seek recovery of a sense of familial connection which, while respecting national identity, transcends all tribal, ethnic and national division. This is the oneness the Church mirrors when it is gathered before the Holy Table.

Using our vocation and whatever special gifts and resources God has given us, especially our participation in eucharistic community, we strive to undertake constructive action on behalf of those who are endangered, from the child in the womb to the aged awaiting death.

Aspiring to eliminate violence as a means of conflict resolution, we promote resolution of conflicts by mediation, negotiation and other forms of nonviolent action.

While no one can be certain that he or she will always find a nonviolent response to every crisis that may arise, we pray that God will show us in each situation ways of resistance to evil that will not require killing opponents.

We offer support to those whose conscience leads them to refuse participation in war and who struggle against evil in non-military ways. We support their conscientious objection as consistent with the Gospels and Holy Tradition.

We encourage the compassionate treatment of prisoners and their rehabilitation, with special attention to restitution by wrong-doers to victims of their crimes. We reject the execution of criminals as incompatible with the teachings of Christ.

We commit ourselves to prayer for enemies and endeavor to communicate God’s love for them, recognizing our own violence and praying that, through Christ’s saving death on the Cross, we will be reconciled with God and with each other.

Thus we strive to avoid bitterness in dealing with controversy, seeking conversion both of ourselves and our adversary.

Aware that we are in need of conversion not only in the way we relate to other people but to the world God has put into our care, we will try to change our lives in order to live as priests of God’s world, asking continuously for the Holy Spirit to descend and transfigure the earth. We will cooperate with efforts to protect and preserve the environment which do not involve violence, coercive methods of population control, or violate the sanctity of human life.

Our work areas include:

Theological research

Much needs to be done within the Church to better understand ways in which Orthodox Christians should respond to division, conflict, injustice, war and the relationship of the believer to the state. We encourage research on peace in the Bible, peace in the Liturgy, examples of ways Orthodox people and churches have responded to war from ancient to modern times, and the collection of relevant quotations and stories from the Fathers and the saints.


Our quarterly journal, In Communion, not only provides its readers with helpful essays and news but serves as a forum for dialogue. The main articles from past issues of In Communion plus many other resources are made available via our web site: OPF members are also invited to take part in the OPF List, a news and discussion forum.

Practical assistance in conflict areas

As one of our members, a priest in the Republic of Georgia, points out: “Activity of the OPF is of particular importance in those Orthodox countries going through war and the horror of national conflict … The OPF can help Orthodox people to practice peace and tolerance and to show that war and national conflict are satanic traps.”


The Orthodox Peace Fellowship has members in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Its international secretariat is in The Netherlands. Decisions are made by the OPF secretaries and officers in consultation with each other, with counsel from members and the Fellowship’s Board of Advisors. Our largest branch at present is in North America. There are occasional meetings and conferences in the United States and Canada as well as in Europe. We encourage the formation of local and national chapters.

Must I be a pacifist to join the Orthodox Peace Fellowship?

In the Oxford English Dictionary, pacifism is defined as “the policy or doctrine of rejecting war and every form of violent action as means of solving disputes, especially in international affairs.” It is also “the belief in and advocacy of peaceful methods as feasible and desirable alternatives to war.” A pacifist is a person “who rejects war and violence as a matter of principle” or “advocates a peaceful policy as the first and best resort.”

While our membership includes many who would identify themselves as pacifists in the sense of this definition, one does not have to be a pacifist to belong to the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. It’s enough to say that we are attempting to be Christian peacemakers.

The aspiration to eliminate violence as a means of conflict resolution is something all sane people have in common, yet few would say that they would never use violent methods to protect the innocent. All we can do is attempt to find ways of responding to injustice that are consistent with the Gospel. Clearly nonviolent methods are to be preferred to violent.

Peacemaking is not something optional for Christians. A major element of Christ’s teaching his call to become peacemakers. They are among the blessed and are witnesses to the Kingdom of God. To be a peacemaker, Christ says, is to be a child of God. In the years of Christ’s life described in the Gospel, one of the most notable aspects is that he killed no one but healed many. He is not a warrior king. Caesar rides a horse while Christ enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Even when he clears the Temple of people who have made a place of worship into a place of commerce, he does so using nothing more than a whip of cords, not a weapon that can cause injuries; the only life endangered by his action was his own. His final instruction to Peter before his crucifixion is, “Put away your sword, for whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Saying that, he healed the wound Peter had inflicted on one of the men arresting him. On the cross, far from calling down his Father’s vengeance on those who participated in his execution, Jesus appeals for mercy: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Again and again, throughout is earthly life Christ gives his followers a witness of peace.

There’s quite a lot on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship web site that help clarify what Christian peacemaking involves and its implications in one’s own life. Note especially essays in the back issues of the OPF journal, In Communion:

Also look at the What can I do? page:

Becoming a member

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship links Orthodox Christians from different national traditions and is not under the sponsorship of a particular jurisdiction. Membership is open to any Orthodox Christian who embraces the principles expressed in the above statement of purpose. Membership in no way obligates the member to a specific political position. Both members and supporters receive the Fellowship’s quarterly journal, In Communion.

The annual donation for members is $35, 35 euros, 25 pounds sterling, or the equivalent in other currencies. (For those wishing to receive our journal, In Communion, but not to join, the cost per year is $25, 25 euros, 20 pounds sterling, or the equivalent in other currencies.)



The Fellowship is entirely dependent on the support of its members, other sympathetic persons and those parishes which make annual collections in support of the OPF. Donors are asked to contribute as their resources allow. Contributions are tax-deductible in the US. The Orthodox Peace Fellowship depends entirely on membership fees and donations to carry on its work.


Advisory Board

Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Fr. Anthony Coniaris, Fr. Stephen Headley, Fr. Thomas Hopko, Fr. Heikki Huttunen, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Fr. John Matusiak, Fr. Sergei Ovsiannikov, Fr. George Papademetriou, Dr. Albert Raboteau, Philip Tamoush, Fr. Steven Tsichlis, Fr. Theodoor van der Voort, Fr. Meletios Webber, Mother Raphaela Wilkinson


Deacon Michael Bakker, president
Hanna Bos, vice president
Matthew House, treasurer
Jim and Nancy Forest, co-secretaries

* * *

Learning to be Peacemakers: A Short History of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship

* * *

The Orthodox Peace Fellowship in The Netherlands/OPF-Nederland – AMBI status:

The “Orthodox Peace Fellowship” foundation is registered as a charitable institution for Dutch fiscal purposes (AMBI) as an annexed institution of the ’Stichting Orthodoxe Kerk In Nederland’ (Foundation Orthodox Church in the Netherlands). An AMBI may use certain tax advantages in cases of inheritance and donations. Also tax benefits for donors may apply. As an AMBI, we are required to publish certain information, including an updated report on the activities carried out and a financial statement. See the links below.

De stichting ’Orthodox Peace Fellowship’ heeft een registratie als algemeen nut beogende instelling (ANBI) als annexe instelling van de ’Stichting Orthodoxe Kerk In Nederland’. Een ANBI kan gebruikmaken van bepaalde belastingvoordelen bij erven en schenkingen heeft fiscale voordelen voor donateurs. Een ANBI is verplicht tot publicatie van een aantal gegevens waaronder een actueel verslag van de uitgeoefende activiteiten en een financiële verantwoording.

1) OPF-Nederland AMBI status


by Chris Ferrero

New Article: Nuclear Cacodoxy?

United States Department of Energy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Nuclear weapons are experiencing a renaissance in the public consciousness. The blockbuster film Oppenheimerwon Best Picture at the 2024 Academy Awards in March. In April, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen’s book Nuclear War: A Scenario climbed onto the New York Times Bestseller List. This renaissance is helping re-awaken opposition to the Bomb and its associated horrors, but moral aversion to nuclear weapons is not as universal as one might …

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Call for participation – Online Survey

Study Nuclear Cacodoxy

City after bombing Hiroshima



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✠ A Prayer Campaign for Peace Between Russia and Ukraine

In times of great fear and rumours of war, such as these are, discussions of war seem unavoidable. Nonetheless, we wish to take a moment to speak about peace.

Read More...Prayer Campaign

Молитвенная кампания о мире между Россией и Украиной.

Nicholas Sooy

The Iconoclasm of War

At least 28 places of worship, mostly Orthodox, have been destroyed or damaged by shelling or other acts of violence by Russian forces. Of the Orthodox Churches destroyed, a great number are of the Moscow Patriarchate…


Russia / Ukraine

✠ The Day the Icon Began to Bleed

The Day the Icon Began to Bleed

On May 2, 1999, an icon of the Theotokos, Softener of Evil Hearts, began to stream myrrh. However, this icon reportedly not only streams myrrh, but reacts to great tragedies. An August 12, 2000 at the time of the sinking of a Russian submarine, small drops of a blood-like liquid began to…


Thirza Buijkx

Metropolitan Evlogy and the Martyria of Amsterdam

In the 1920s and 30s, after the Russian revolution and the subsequent exodus of Russian refugees to Europe, the then Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate in Western Europe,…


Starting Points

by Archpriest Theodore van der Voort


CELEBRATING THE LITURGY TOGETHER – A WAY TO PROMOTE PEACEOur parish in Deventer, belonging to the “Archdiocese of Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe”, so the “rue Daru” to keep it simple, is a very international congregation: about half of us are Dutch. Further we have Russians, Rumanians, Greeks,…


By Thirza Buijk

The Remarkable Life of Mother Gavrilia

Seen from a distance, today’s world of Orthodoxy may seem like a stack of different coats: you have Russian Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, Serbian etc., all with distinct traditions and styles. However, below this great variety and diversity runs the stream of the living water of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Poetry by Kelly Jadon

“prayer tongue” + “hidden”

Poetry by Kelly Jadon. Lukyanivka, Ukraine: 25 March 2022: destroyed by russian army wooden church of XIX century — Photo by Oles_Navrotskyi

Youth Work and Peacebuilding By Thirza Buijk

World Gathering of Orthodox Youth in Supraśl, Poland

World Gathering of Orthodox Youth in Supraśl, Poland

From 18-24 July 2022, a group of young Orthodox Christians from over 20 countries came together in an Orthodox monastery/seminary in Supraśl, Poland, for the first international Orthodox youth festival in a number of years. With the war between Russia and Ukraine ever present in the background, the significance of this youth event became even more apparent. While the Church hierarchy is fighting for power and influence, the youth at the festival testified to the potential for Church unity in diversity. 

Zoran Matić

In memory of Ivan V. Lalić – a poet of a deeply sensitive heart (the 26th anniversary of his death)

Photo of Ivan V. Lalić, Poet. In memory of Ivan V. Lalić – a poet of a deeply sensitive heart (the 26th anniversary of his death)

by Nancy Forest-Flier

Love of Enemies at St. Nicholas parish

Русские переводы

Real Saints Series

Real Saints Series

Yad Vashem

Poetry by André Groenendijk

Yad Vashem

Christian Witness in a Time of War


✠ The Remarkable Life and Witness of Jim Forest

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by Nicholas Sooy

The Remarkable Life and Witness of Jim Forest

Jim Forest; November 2, 1941 - January 13, 2022

On April 5 1977, peace activist and author Jim Forest received a phone call that his friend and collaborator Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, an Argentinian peace activist, had been kidnapped by the military dictatorship and was surely being tortured. Adolfo had become a disaparecido, like thousands of others. The most likely outcome was death. From his office in the Netherlands Jim and his staff began working to free Adolfo. They had the idea to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize as a publicity stunt to embarrass the Argentinian government. Jim called two Nobelists the peace activists Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams and together they wrote up material to nominate him and a press release stating as much. Within hours hundreds of papers picked up the story, and fourteen months later, by some miracle, Adolfo was released. Expecting nothing more to come of this, Jim thought he had received a prank call the next summer when the Nobel committee called to inform him that they would soon announce that Adolfo had won…

Memorial (continue reading)

Jim Forest Category for Incommunion (all related writing)

Jesus and the Natural World

by Fr. John Jillions

Concern for the environment has become such a standard topic of daily life that many have become bored with the subject. Despite the best efforts of Patriarch Bartholomeos, now known among environmentalists as “the green patriarch,” it is difficult to find much sustained grass-roots enthusiasm among the Orthodox for environmental issues.

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Modern Slavery—A Joint Declaration

✠ BARTHOLOMEW Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
Modern Slavery—A Joint Declaration

Modern Slavery—A Joint Declaration

We, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, and Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury and

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✠ Here is the Synod’s official condemnation of ecclesiastical racism, or “ethno-phyletism,” as well as its theological argumentation.

Read Synod Statement

Bishop Kallistos' six lectures given in April 1999 at the Orthodox Peace Fellowship retreat in Vézelay

Here are transcriptions of Bishop Kallistos’ six lectures given in April 1999 at the Orthodox Peace Fellowship retreat in Vézelay. Please note that these are not to be published elsewhere without the permission of Bishop Kallistos and the Orthodox Peace Fellowship.

Glorify God with your Body

Sacraments of Healing: In April 1999, at the end of Bright Week, Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia led a retreat for members of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. Our host was the parish of St. Etienne and St. Germain in the village of Vezelay, France. This is the first of six lectures…


The Passions: Enemy or Friend?

Orthodox Peace Fellowship retreat in Vézelay, April 1999 / second lecture by Bishop Kallistos

Consider the word “wonder.” We have come to a place full of wonder, this ancient pilgrimage town of Vezelay. I can recall very vividly my first visit here when I was a student at university. It was in the year 1954. I was traveling with a party of fellow students in a lorry. It was from the back of that lorry …


Approaching Christ the Physician

The True Meaning of Confession and Anointing

My theme this afternoon is “Coming to Christ, the Good Physician.” And I’ll be speaking about confession chiefly. But I’ll be looking at it as a sacrament of …


In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord: Peace & Healing in the Divine Liturgy

Orthodox Peace Fellowship retreat in Vézelay, April 1999 / fourth lecture by Bishop Kallistos

This afternoon I spoke about the sacrament of Confession. Tonight, I would like to say something about the Holy Eucharist

Let me begin with two words. The first is from 19th century Russia, St. John of Kronstadt: “The Eucharist is a continual miracle.” And my second word …


Let Us Go Forth in Peace

Healing in the Parish, Local Church and in the World

Our theme is the liturgy after the Liturgy.

I’m reminded of Tolstoy’s story, called The Three Hermits. Do you know it?

Once upon a time there was a bishop traveling from Archangelsk to the Solovyetski Islands on the White Sea. And in the middle of the morning, the captain pointed …


A peaceful ending to our life

Bodily death as an experience of healing

Our theme during these days together has been to explore peace understood in terms of healing, of wholeness. So we looked at the wholeness of the human person in my first two talks, and the third we began to speak of the sacraments, and of …


✠ The In Communion speaker series

What can we learn from the saints? – Nicholas Sooy (New!)

The In Communion speaker series offers original presentations from In Communion contributors and Orthodox Peace Fellowship members on a variety of topics, including peacemaking, theology, ethics, environmentalism, and society.

✠ For the Peace from Above

✠  Nationalism Resource

edited by Fr. Hildo Bos and Jim Forest

For the Peace From Above: a Resource Book on War, Peace and Nationalism is dedicated to all Orthodox youth living in places of war and conflict, as a tribute to their courage and faith.


Restoration of the Human Icon: Divine Compassion and Human Trafficking

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware


For the Peace from Above

edited by Jim Forest and Fr Hildo Bos
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The History and Mission of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship

a talk given by Jim Forest for the OPF conference at St Tikhon’s Monastery, 13-16 June 2003

Mariquita Platov (self-portrait)

Mariquita Platov (self-portrait)

The history of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship is surprisingly complex. The story can only be told in part as some of the key figures who were involved have since fallen asleep in the Lord and cannot be interviewed. Mariquita Platov, aged 95, died December 14, 2000. Jim Larrick died of a heart attack December 19, 1993. After many years teaching at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, John Boojamra died in 1999. All I have to guide me at present are two short memoirs written by Mariquita, two folders of correspondence from Jim Larrick and Mariquita, and several recent letters people who participated in early efforts to launch OPF.

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