CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 14 September 2019

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Plea to keep the Ukraine blood-free

KIEV (SE): “With regret, we can say that Ukraine, unfortunately, has been pulled into a military conflict. So far no one is shooting, so far people are not dying, but it is obvious that military intervention has already begun,” Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, was quoted as saying from Kiev by the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine on March 1.

Patriarch Shevchuk said that he believes it is safe to assume that the entire world is on the side of the Ukraine, since he points out that Russia is obviously the aggressor in this fight.

However, he promised that whatever happens, the Church in the Ukraine will stand with its people.

“The role of the Church is consistent,” he said. “During the last three months, the Church, especially the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, was with its people. And it will continue to remain with its people.”

He added that if the worst comes to the worst and fighting does break out, the Church will stand on the battlefield with the soldiers. “The Ukrainian Church is ready to provide pastoral support,” he said.

“We will not be silent,” the patriarch stressed. “The Church has never covered any falsehood or violence by silence. The Church always exposes lies. The Church has always defended human life and human dignity.”

He appealed to Christians of all denominations to put aside their own particular concerns and to unite in the defence of the Fatherland.

He stressed that interfaith disputes and especially property disputes now have no place on the agenda of any Christian Church, as what is essential is to unite to protect the people of the land.

The patriarch stressed, “Every citizen of Ukraine must be prepared to defend his or her independent and sovereign state. The Church has always sought to defend peace. The Church at all costs tried to prevent bloodshed. Unfortunately, there are already victims in the Ukraine and bloodshed was not prevented. We will continue to use every opportunity to relieve tension in society and avoid casualties.”

He called on every citizen to stand up and be prepared to defend their country, even to the point of sacrificing their lives, as he noted that blood may have to be shed in order to sustain sovereign freedom and remain a unified an independent state.

In his statement, which was released by the Catholic publisher, CREDO, he said that the Ukraine is multi-confessional and multinational in its makeup and, if it is to survive, all must see themselves as one people in this struggle.

CWNews.com reported that religious leaders in the Ukraine have responded to the patriarch’s call and issued a joint plea to Russia to abandon its military and other interference in the internal affairs of the Ukraine.

He called Russia “a threat not only to our country, but to the peace and security of the entire European continent.”

On March 3, the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, from Moscow, promised “to do everything possible to persuade those in power that they cannot allow the destruction of a peaceful people in the Ukrainian land, which is so dear to my heart.”

He clarified that while he would not take sides in any political dispute, he would act in order to prevent military conflict.

Meanwhile in Crimea, where troops from both sides of the conflict stand at the ready, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the of the Synodal Department for the Cooperation of the Church and Society, said on March 2, “The Russian peacemaking mission in the Ukraine should guarantee its citizens the right to self-determination and close ties with other peoples of historical Rus,” Interfax reported.

He pointed out that in 1995 the World Russian National Council declared that the Russian people, who historically belong to a divided nation, have the right to be unified in one state body.

He called it a right universally recognised as a norm of international politics.

“At the same time we will hope that the mission of Russian soldiers to protect the freedom and self-determination of those people and their very life will not encounter fierce opposition that would lead to large-scale conflict,” he continued.

 

“Nobody wants bloodshed and the deepening of those divisions that already exist among Orthodox people in the territory of historical Rus,” the archpriest concluded.

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