A woman kisses a cross on the grave of her mother killed by shelling in Mariupol A woman kisses a cross on the grave of her mother killed by shelling in Mariupol  (ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

Churches in Ukraine raise their voices for peace

An appeal for prayers and peace resounds throughout Christian communities in Ukraine, 30 days from the start of the war, as leaders of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches meet and the Moscow Patriarchate responds to a letter from Cardinal Hollerich.

By Benedetta Capelli

One month into the war that continues to cause death and destruction, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halyč describes his visit to a hospital in Ukraine’s besieged capital, and launches an appeal for the city of Mariupol, where, he says, it is difficult even to bury the dead.

In his latest video message, Archbishop Shevchuk asks for the intervention of the international community, especially to help the population that is dying of hunger.

"Last week,” he says, “these people were able to survive thanks to the snow that they melted in order to have drinking water. Today, in Mariupol there is no more snow. Let us save the city of Mary! Let us do everything possible to save this city.”

Orthodox and Greek Catholics together

Major Archbishop Shevchuk met on Wednesday with His Beatitude Epifanius, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Both condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and spoke about the humanitarian crisis, but also about the life of the Churches in the country.

Together they reiterated the need to work for the good and the future of Ukraine, helping the people in a spirit of cooperation between different religious denominations.

Moscow Patriarchate to Cardinal Hollerich

Relations between the West and Russia are at a standstill due to a mutual lack of trust, according to the Patriarchate of Moscow.

This, in synthesis, is the response contained in a letter signed by the President of the Patriarchate's Department for External Ecclesiastical Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeev of Volokolamsk, to an appeal issued by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE).

Two weeks ago, Cardinal Hollerich sent a letter inviting Russian Patriarch Kirill to intercede with the Russian authorities for an end to hostilities, calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict and encouraging the opening of humanitarian corridors. 

24 March 2022, 17:27