Collaboration to heal the wounds of war: The Head of the UGCC met with representatives of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.)

March 23, 2023, 14:02 49

On March 22, in Kyiv, the Father and Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, met with representatives of the Presbyterian Church of the USA, The Outreach Foundation, and the Ukrainian Bible Society.

Collaboration to heal the wounds of war: The Head of the UGCC met with representatives of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.)
His Beatitude Sviatoslav welcomes in Kyiv the Executive Director of The Outreach Foundation, Rev. Dr. Mark Mueller of the Presbyterian Church USA

Representatives of the Presbyterian Church of the United States assured the Head of the UGCC that many churches in the United States have remained in deep prayer for the Church and people of Ukraine since the beginning of the war, marvel at the courage of Ukraine, and pray “not only for peace but also for victory.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the Christians of the United States for their empathy, noting that Ukrainian society is going through serious affliction today, which is only growing. The solidarity of the American people, he said, “is critical, life-giving for us, and makes us stronger.” “It is so important,” he added, “that your solidarity does not cease, that you do not get tired of commiserating with Ukrainians.”

Rev. Dr. Thomas BooneRev. Dr. Thomas Boone

The Head of the UGCC said that one of the biggest challenges Ukraine and the Church face today in its pastoral ministry is overcoming war trauma. People are looking for an understanding of their pain so that they can continue to resist Russian aggression.

His Beatitude SviatoslavHis Beatitude Sviatoslav

Outlining the scale of the trauma, the Primate said that almost 80 % of Ukrainians are wounded, either physically or psychologically: some do not recognize it, others recognize it but are afraid to seek help, and still others would like to get help but do not know where to go. That is why the UGCC will create special centers in each eparchy in Ukraine to provide psychological and spiritual support. To perform it, the Church must have skilled psychologists who would do this professionally.

Priests will also be taught to provide the necessary assistance to Ukrainians affected by the war. “We have launched a special program, training for priests to teach them to provide special pastoral care to heal the wounds of war,” said the head of the UGCC.

Moreover, the UGCC is developing medical chaplaincy in Ukraine. In this context, His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted the experience of the United States could be helpful in Ukraine.

“Who cares for the priests who serve in Ukraine?” asked His Beatitude Sviatoslav Dr. Thomas Boone of the Presbyterian Church of the United States. Answering this question, the Head of the Church noted that the bishops cared for the priests wounded by the war. Both priests and bishops can heal the wounds of war by relying on the community, which is why the Church organizes various meetings, spiritual exercises, and the opportunity to have some quiet and peace and share their experiences and pain with others.

“As a church, we are not a rigid structure but a community. And, thus, before we provide humanitarian aid, we must be human first. If a person forced to flee their home and seek refuge finds a community that accepts them, they will be saved. That is why today in Ukraine, we are rediscovering that the Church is not only a temple, bells and censers, golden vestments, and adoration. The Church is a community,” accentuates His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The Rev. Dr. Peter Nowak assured that on his return to Warsaw, he would tell his compatriots about the needs of Ukrainians. His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the Polish people for their openness, noting that there is no single refugee camp in Poland, as the Poles opened their homes to Ukrainians.

Rev. Dr. Mark Miller, Executive Director of The Outreach Foundation, spoke about the foundation’s and American churches’ initiatives in support of Ukraine and handed over symbolic gifts from American Christians to the Head of the UGCC.

Rev. Dr. Mark MuellerRev. Dr. Mark Mueller

In conclusion, His Beatitude Sviatoslav addressed the representatives of the Presbyterian Church of the United States and all those present with two requests: to pray for Ukraine, which ‘as a nation is crucified today,’ and to study the ideology of the Russkiy mir in the scientific environment, which, being genocidal, became the cause for Russian aggression.

Dr. Ivan RusynRev. Dr. Mark MuellerDr. Anatoliy RaychynetsViktor PetrenkoHis Beatitude SviatoslavDr. Grigory KomendantRev. Dr. Thomas BooneRev. Dr. Peter Novak
The UGCC Department for Information

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