President of Ukraine presents state awards to three UGCC military chaplains

February 24, 2023, 16:10 145

On the anniversary of invincibility, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with chaplains who are currently serving in the Armed Forces and the National Guard of Ukraine.

President of Ukraine presents state awards to three UGCC military chaplains

The meeting, held at the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, was attended by military priests of the churches that sent their representatives to the army. Among them were military chaplains of the UGCC, Fr. Rostyslav Vysochan, Fr. Yuriy Lesyshyn and Fr. Yuriy Lohaza.

The Head of State noted the importance of the chaplains mission. The military and their families trust the chaplains, and have the opportunity to share their experiences and find support.

“I thank you for your service, for being with the soldiers in this year of full-scale war. You supported them spiritually, supported their families. I am glad that we have a corresponding reform, and a corresponding law. But, in my opinion, the most important thing is that we have you,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.

Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Malyar reminded that chaplaincy service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine was introduced at the legislative level in 2022. Since then, chaplains have been working with the military on the front line, helping to strengthen their morale and resilience not only on a volunteer basis.

The President expressed his belief that chaplains are the same heroes as military personnel, as they support soldiers and help them maintain their morale.

The chaplains thanked the Head of State for supporting the establishment and development of their service in the Armed Forces.

“Our goal is to lend a shoulder and be there for them. We are at the front lines to show that the people are always with those who are fighting. And God will not leave them. This helps people and inspires them. And when the spirit is strong, a person can perform miracles. With God we will win,” announced one of the military priests.

The UGCC chaplains also asked the President of Ukraine to assist in forming the correct image of a military chaplain in society, as chaplains are mostly stereotyped as cultists.

“A chaplain is someone who is always around: before the start of hostilities, during and after them, when the soldiers return. Therefore, the process of reintegration, rehabilitation, and resocialization is also the work of a chaplain, including the families of the military and the families of the fallen. This is a set of measures. Actually, this is not covered much today. Both the military and society today have little understanding of the role of the chaplain,” Fr. Rostyslav Vysochan noted.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked how he could help develop the chaplaincy service in the Armed Forces. The participants of the meeting discussed the importance of increasing the number of chaplains, the issue of regulating the verification of spiritual education, which is necessary for obtaining military ranks and enlisting in the army.

At the end of the event, the President presented the military chaplains with state awards: the Order “For Courage” of the III degree, medals “For Military Service to Ukraine” and the medal “Defender of the Motherland”. Father Rostyslav Vysochan received the medal “For Military Service to Ukraine” and Fathers Yuriy Lesyshyn and Yuriy Logaza received the medal “Defender of the Motherland”.

“The awards we received are the result of a great team working together for Ukraine’s victory in this war,” said Fr. Rostyslav Vysochan.

Information Department of the UGCC
based on the materials of the Department of Military Chaplaincy of the UGCC
and the official website of the President of Ukraine

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