Our dear friends and brothers of SIGNIS international members and all of SIGNIS,
We are Blagovest Media International (BMI), an international Christian production and distribution company bringing together Catholic and Orthodox employees of different nationalities.
Pope Benedict XVI blessed us personally in 2007 to work for the unity of Christians, for interdenominational dialogue and for proclaiming peace. Our films and programs are broadcast in over 30 countries in 19 languages.
What happens now in Ukraine for us, Russians and Ukrainians, working in our Belgian and Russian offices, is extremely sudden and painful. This war crosses our lives and the basic principles of our work.
There are several Ukrainians in our team, starting from our spiritual guide Orthodox Bishop Nazary, the Abbot of St. Trinity Alexander Nevsky monastery, a spiritual centre of Russia. In 2014, the SIGNIS TV seminar took place in this monastery's information centres and cultural halls.
For over 25 years, we have successfully worked with our Ukrainian colleagues and partners. Three generations, including our own, grew up in one country, where Ukraine and Russia were one nation practically and one Church, with the majority of Orthodox in Russia and Eastern Ukraine.
That is why the war physically goes through our hearts. Our pain of what is happening in Ukraine is endless. Our position is to pray for peace, the eternal value of human life, and those who died before in Ukraine and are dying today, those who lost close ones, children and are forced to leave their homes. For them, we are asking Christ for mercy.
At the beginning of the conflict, the head of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Russia appealed to "confront lies and hatred, and to be a source of reconciliation, not the multiplication of hatred and violence".
Today neither politics nor economics nor culture gives space for a dialogue between Russia and the world; only the Church can be a communication bridge between two divided worlds. For example, the virtual meeting of Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow back in March was not by chance. In his homily a week later, the pontiff consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the immaculate heart of the Mother of God, asking to "grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world." The role of Christian media today is more vital than ever.
For over ten years, BMI has produced an interdenominational cycle of 14 TV programs, "May All Be One", for EWTN-Europe. At the same time, we have worked on a trilogy on Forgiveness and Reconciliation with two documentaries, "Stalingrad Madonna" in 2013 and "Cross or Sword?" in 2017. The documentaries were broadcast from Canada to the Philippines and awarded by many international film festivals. A screening of "Stalingrad Madonna" also opened the World Interfaith Week at the European parliament in 2015.
We have been working on a third film, "Spilled Blood Unity", for several years. Through images of unbelievable human stories on consciously hidden or forgotten accounts of a spiritual presence in WWI, WWII and modern wars, the film will bring a call to peace, to peace in Christ. It is the only way for people to stop killing each other.
We ask you, dear friends and colleagues, to pray and work together for peace. We would be happy if you decided to join our project on Forgiveness and Reconciliation and help us produce the third film. Your creativity, faith, and pain, along with images and stories from your countries, will allow us to make the film universal and bring it to a broader audience.
"Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness" - James 3:18.
We will gladly send teasers, screeners and more details about the third film to all interested upon request.
Tel. +32 496 43 54 00, +7 911 982 65 77
Blagovest Media International, a member of SIGNIS, is the branch of the Catholic Radio and Television Network (CRTN) promoting dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. The organization combines two operations: offices in Belgium and a video production and distribution centre based in St.Petersburg. The organization brings together representatives of Orthodox and Catholic dioceses, priests and laypeople, and Christian journalists.