IRF - Institute for Religious Freedom, Kyiv, Ukraine

Ukrainian Council of Churches visited soldiers and prayed for peace in Donbas (VIDEO) PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 November 2016 18:00
Credit: Maksym Vasin, IRF
 

The heads of сhurches and religious organizations visited Kramatorsk, praying for peace in Ukraine, met with soldiers and the relatives of captives.   

An out meeting of the Ukrainian Council of Churches was held on November 2, 2016 at the “Sarmat” military base with participating of the joint staff officers of the Central Department of Ukrainian Security Service in the region of Antiterrorist Operation, the Institute for Religious Freedom reports.   

The heads of religious unions agreed a joint Appeal on strengthening of peace and Ukrainian society’s onward. By this document the Ukrainian Council of Churches urges to lay down the arms those who took it illegally, who came to the Ukrainian land with criminal and occupation intents.

Ukrainian religious figures once again appealed to the international community with a request to do everything possible for preserving territorial integrity, sovereignty, inviolability of Ukrainian borders, including the Crimea and Donbas region.   

“Till this time inadmissible abuse of human rights, taking captives and tortures, religiously motivated persecutions and religious minorities oppressions have been observed in Eastern Ukraine. All of that has to be stopped and find its reflection in the reports of Special Monitoring mission of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” – as accentuated in the Appeal of the UCCRO.

It has to be noted that the representatives of SMM OSCE didn’t respond to the invitation to participate in this meeting in Kramatorsk.

The Ukrainian religious figures state that “religion shouldn’t be used as an instrument for man-made hostility exasperation and conflict escalation, but be a source of peace, mutual understanding and love”. The Council of Churches urges that each believer should be an example of striving for peace as well as mutual forgiveness and also show a respect towards the representatives of other confessions.

The Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations highly estimated the importance of the Ukrainian warriors-defenders service as well as the army chaplains and volunteers in Eastern Ukraine.

“Nowadays pastoral care, moral support and practical social help is so necessary as never before  to the soldiers and their family members, as well as to the inhabitants of Donbas, whose peace and security is provided by the Ukrainian defenders,” – the Council of Churches declared.

The conference participants discussed a further development of army chaplain activity and also church and religious organizations partnership in voluntary movement.  

Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), the Head of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, pointed out the following: “Our warriors are to feel the unity of all denominations in endowing them and supporting spiritually.”

Supreme Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Head of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, emphasized that the Ukrainian Council of Churches came to the Donbas region to address to people living in the war zone, suffering from bombings on the occupied territories and in the “gray zone”, who survived and have been set free, and to assure: “Churches and religious organizations are the ones who are ready to serve you all so that you should feel yourself worthy citizens surrounded with attention and help. We are sincerely ready to minister to you for the sake of curing the injuries caused by the war”.

Ukrainian Army General Vasyl Grytsak, the Head of Ukrainian Security Service, took part in the meeting of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations in Kramatorsk. 

“I’m confident that you all will come back home with bright feelings as you got an opportunity to be on the front line and look into the soldiers’ eyes praying for them,” – underlined the Head of the Security Service.

General Vasyl Grytsak is assured that today the enemy focused his aggression at the inward life of the Ukrainians. “He’s trying to shake our unity, patriotism and tolerance. Thus, not only our soldiers but also the whole society need spiritual guardianship”, – he emphasized.

According to his words churches are to actively contribute into unity and return of the population on occupied territories into the Ukrainian public processes. General Vasyl Grytsak also pointed out that exactly the representatives of churches can become the key participants in the process of liberating the captives and the disappeared persons.  

“We believe that even people without any moral standards will be influenced by your participation in the negotiation process,” – noted the Head of the Security Service.

 

During the meeting members of the Council of Churches heard the story of barbarous terrorists’ attitude towards the captives from the journalist Egor Vorobyov released two years ago, and talked to the relatives of captured Ukrainians – Liudmila Golous and Nataly Gerasymenko.

It should be reminded that earlier Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations called on Russian religious figures and World Council of Churches to help in liberating captives in the Donbas region showing an act of mercy.

Responding to this call the Interreligious Council of Russia published a statement declaring the following: “Inhuman attitude towards captives is a crime and sin. Liberation of all captives could be an important step to reconciliation”. 

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Religious War in Donbas

Ideologists and producers of the Russian occupation of the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine have artificially built in religious hidden motives in the bloody picture of the events in Donbas. 

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