Taking a Stand on Behalf of Peace | Sojourners

Taking a Stand on Behalf of Peace

Former heavyweight boxers, the Klitschko brothers now face the fight of their lives.
An illustration of Ukrainian climate activist Ilyses El Kortbi holding a sign painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag that reads, "We see Ukraine as one of the first climate wars."
Ukrainian climate activist Ilyses El Kortbi / Illustration by Maya Nguyen

DURING THE “KLITSCHKO ERA,” the first decade and a half of this century, Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, reigned over the world of heavyweight boxing—The Ring magazine listed both of them on its list of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Today, the brothers are engaged in a battle with much higher stakes than anything they faced in the ring. Vitali is now mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine. Soon after Vladimir Putin’s forces stormed into Ukraine, the brothers issued a call on social media for religious leaders and others to visit their embattled country as a sign of solidarity and support.

This spring, with the Poland-based NGO Pacjent Europa, Sojourners senior editor Rose Marie Berger helped to organize an international religious delegation answering that call. In late May, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders from four countries went to Ukraine because, they said, “our faith demands our presence here.” In his invitation, Mayor Klitschko called on the world’s spiritual leaders to “take a stand” on behalf of peace. That invitation, echoing Jesus’ own call to peacemaking, extends to all of us.

This appears in the September/October 2022 issue of Sojourners
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