We should defend one another, for we are brothers – especially if we are of one Faith. There is an example of this in history. Once, when an official delegation of Constantinopolitan dignitaries was sent to the Saracens to negotiate peace, the Saracens argued that Christians disobey God’s commandment. They said: ”Why do you Christians disobey Christ’s commandment to love your enemies, but instead persecute and kill us?”

Now, a certain Cyril was part of this delegation. His answer to the Saracens was: ”If, in a certain law, there are two commandments that must be fulfilled, which man shall be more righteous, he who fulfills both commandments or he who fulfills only one of them?” The Saracens answered, ”He that fulfills both, of course.” Then Cyril said, ”As individuals we forgive our enemies, but as a community we lay down our lives for one another. For the Lord has said that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s neighbor. As a community, we protect one another and lay down our lives for one another. Not only is your aim to enslave us physically, you also aspire to enslave us spiritually. It is for this reason that we defend ourselves. This, therefore, is justified.”

Then there is also the example of St. Ioannicius the Great. He was a soldier for twenty years. He was amazing – whenever he fought a battle, he won. He had never been defeated.  He never gave a thought to his own life but laid down his own for others. And the Lord preserved him. Later, when he became a monk, he was a great saint and wonderworker. There were many such holy warriors. The Holy King David says: Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered (Ps 31:1). Righteousness acts never in its own interest, but in the interest of fellow men.

— Starets Thaddeus of Vitovnica in Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives.