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Head of the UGCC Calls for “All-for-All” Prisoner Exchange Before Easter, Ensuring the Release of Women, Doctors, and Clergy, at a Minimum

April 30, 2024, 00:30 143

The Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, called for the “all for all” exchange offered by Pope Francis, especially for three categories of Ukrainians: women, healthcare workers, and clergy.

Head of the UGCC Calls for “All-for-All” Prisoner Exchange Before Easter, Ensuring the Release of Women, Doctors, and Clergy, at a Minimum

Photo: Office of the President of Ukraine

The Primate made this appeal in his weekly video address on the 115th week of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine before Easter according to the Julian calendar.

“We, the Christians of Ukraine, understand that we cannot truly honor the passion of our Savior, His wounds, without serving and assisting those who are suffering from the hell of war, especially those imprisoned and tortured by the Russians,” the Primate emphasized.

He emphasized that special attention during this Holy Week will be given to Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are held in Russian captivity.

“The words of Pope Francis, spoken on Easter Sunday according to the Latin Paschal calendar, regarding the ‘all-for-all’ exchange, have deeply resonated in the hearts of both Ukrainians and Russians. We hope these words will serve as a call to concrete action,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The Head of the UGCC called for the exchange of three categories of Ukrainian prisoners:

Women prisoners of war: “Let’s do everything in our power to ensure that all women prisoners of war are released. I want to be heard by all women’s organizations: religious, public, those who advocate for the dignity of women in the modern world, regardless of ideological orientation. Let’s unite our efforts to secure the release of women from captivity, whether in Ukraine or Russia, so that they can return to their families and homes on Easter.”

Medical workers: “Let’s do everything in our power to ensure that medical workers return home. We urge the Easter exchange of doctors and nurses who, according to international law, are not combatants. I call on international medical organizations, in particular Médecins Sans Frontières, to make every effort to facilitate the return of doctors from detention to their families and to resume their professional duties.”

Clergy: “Let’s do everything in our power so that the captive clergy of Ukraine — currently we know of at least 10 individuals—can return to their communities and churches. I appeal to the international religious community: can’t the whole world ensure that these 10 clergymen sing ‘Christ is risen’ in their churches this Easter?”

In this regard, the Head of the UGCC also addressed the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church: “I know that people in Russia are also listening to us. The call of Pope Francis has deeply resonated in the hearts of ordinary Russians. We understand that Russian Orthodox Christians will venerate and kiss the icon of Christ ‘Descent into Hades’ on Easter. As Christians, we all worship the Lord who rescues humanity from hell, who takes Adam and Eve out of their tombs. Therefore, let us, Christians, stand on both sides of the front line, holding the hand of Christ, who will lead our brothers and sisters, women, doctors, and clergy out of the hell of captivity,” the Primate urged.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav called for joint efforts to free Ukrainian prisoners: “We are aware that approximately 8,000 Ukrainian servicemen and 1,600 civilians are currently in Russian captivity, enduring hellish conditions. Let’s do everything to ensure that the exchange of ‘all for all’ becomes a reality this Easter, step by step.”

“God, bless this noble, holy cause! God, bless the Ukrainian long-suffering people! Lord Jesus Christ, who endured suffering, death and resurrection, teach the Christians of the third millennium to honor Your passion not only with words but also with compassion for the people of our time. May we be Your worthy disciples, preachers, bearers of this bright and joyful hope for resurrection!” concluded the Head of the UGCC.

The UGCC Department for Information

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