Contact Us

Pope prays in solidarity with suffering Ukrainians

By Sarah Mac Donald - 25 August, 2014

Pope Francis - PensivePope Francis prayed for the victims of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine on Sunday and highlighted how the violence there is causing so much suffering among the population.

Speaking on Ukrainian Independence Day, the Pope referred to a letter he received from a bishop who recounted some of the sufferings of the people of Ukraine.

“My thoughts go in a particular way to the beloved land of Ukraine…” the Pope said, “to all its sons and daughters, to their yearning for peace and tranquility, threatened by a situation of tension and conflict that continues unabated, causing so much suffering among the population.”

Referring to “the beloved land of Ukraine”, Pope Francis continued, “Let us entrust the whole nation to the Lord Jesus and to the Madonna, and let us pray together above all for the victims, their families, and all those who suffer,” the Pontiff said.

In a letter addressed “to the Catholic episcopal conferences, the world’s religious and political leaders, (and) to all people of good will,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, warned of the extremely difficult situation in Ukraine.

The Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church wrote that “For nine months, Ukrainians have been on an arduous pilgrimage from post-Soviet fear to freedom and God-given dignity.”

“All of the Churches and religious organisations of Ukraine stood together against the violence of the Yanukovych regime, the annexation of Crimea, and the division of the country.”

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav describes the religious discrimination to which Churches and religious communities have been exposed in annexed Crimea and in the eastern war zone.

Muslim Tatars have been especially targeted, while Greek and Roman Catholic ministries, Orthodox parishes of the Kyivan Patriarchate, and Jewish communities have also been menaced.

“Unfortunately,” he states, “the beleaguered Ukrainian Catholics, Greek and Roman, faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate and Protestants in the east of Ukraine are further endangered by the rhetoric of the Orthodox leadership in Russia, which is becoming increasingly similar to the propaganda of Russian political authorities and media.”

Statements from the Russian Orthodox Church, he says, have defamed and libelled Greek Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox of the Kyivan Patriarchate.

“They are held responsible for the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and are accused of generating the warfare, especially the violence against Orthodox clergy and faithful endured as a result of military operations.”

However, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav “strongly rejects” these accusations.

“The tragedy that Ukraine is experiencing today, due to military aggression, is a tragedy for all peoples, believers of all faiths, and all social groups,” he writes.

“We pray for all the innocent victims and for peace in Ukraine. And our Church is doing everything to bring peace and alleviate the suffering of those affected by this terrible conflict.”

Concluding his letter, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav said, “Ukraine needs the effective support of the global Christian community and support of all people of good will.”

In a media context rife with propaganda we ask you to evaluate information critically, he wrote.

“We need your prayer, your discernment, your good words and effective deeds. Silence and inaction will lead to further tragedy. The fate of MA Flight 17 is an example of what may happen if the terrorist activity is allowed to continue.”

Follow us on Twitter @CINetNews

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,