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“Precisely a year ago, everyone was fleeing Kyiv, and today we see even the President of the United States in the center of the capital,” the Head of the UGCC at a meeting with vaticanists

February 20, 2023, 14:57 207

Today, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Head and Father of the UGCC, held an online meeting with Vaticanists — representatives of various international publications recognized by the Holy See (Vatican). The meeting was devoted to the anniversary of the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine and the outcomes of the pastoral ministry of the Church in the conditions of war.

“Precisely a year ago, everyone was fleeing Kyiv, and today we see even the President of the United States in the center of the capital,” the Head of the UGCC at a meeting with vaticanists

“Summarizing this year, I have two contradicting feelings in my heart. On the one hand, there is a feeling of joy and gratitude to God, who helped us survive and serve our people and gratitude to the international community and the Universal Church for their solidarity with us in this difficult year. But, on the other hand, I feel powerless to stop this terrible war. The whole world feels powerless in the face of this absurd and unholy war,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav shared with the meeting participants. Speaking about the pastoral and humanitarian ministry of the UGCC in the occupied and liberated territories, His Beatitude Sviatoslav sadly stated that “every day the war takes the lives of many people and, unfortunately, our helplessness in saving the tortured and killed is a great wound on the body of our people.”

The Head of the UGCC emphasized that Ukrainian society is deeply traumatized after a year of “inhuman war.” Special attention was paid to this matter at the last Synod of Bishops to develop the necessary pastoral plan for “healing the wounds of war as a priority of our ministry.” “Every Ukrainian soul is deeply wounded today. For example, suppose a person has survived a bombing at least once. In that case, this wound will affect their person for a long time,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav and expressed his admiration for those bishops, priests, monks, and nuns who “touch the wounds of Christ on the body of many wounded Ukrainians every day in their service.”

At the same time, the Church must give people the light of hope: “Our faith and unconditional trust in God help us to survive in these terrible conditions, and, as a church, we continue to pray for a just peace for Ukraine.”

Commenting on various “projects and proposals for peace for Ukraine,” the Head of the UGCC said: “As a Church, we are trying to explain that it is not only about the liberation of the territories, but first of all about our people. We must release the people tortured and persecuted daily in the occupied territories.” In this context, His Beatitude Sviatoslav mentioned the arrested priests in Berdiansk. “Unfortunately, no requests and diplomatic efforts have helped release them.”

Answering a question about President Biden’s visit to Kyiv, the Head of the UGCC compared the situation in Kyiv at the beginning and after a year of the great war in Ukraine: “Precisely one year ago, we saw all diplomatic missions evacuated from Kyiv. After the Russian invasion, only the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, and the Polish Ambassador remained in our capital. On the war anniversary, we see the President of the United States and many other world political leaders coming to Kyiv. These visits signify that the world believes in Ukraine and helps us in our struggle for freedom, independence, and democratic values.”

The Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome

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