Cardinal Leonardo Sandri praying for Ukraine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri praying for Ukraine 

Cardinal Sandri to Ukrainians in Rome: “Be strong”

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches tells the Ukrainian community living in Rome that they are not alone in this tragic moment and to confide in the power of prayer

By Lisa Zengarini

As Christians worldwide united on Ash Wednesday in a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine , the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community in Rome gathered in prayer in their Roman church with their pastor, Bishop Dionisij Ljachovič, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Exarchate of Italy.

Attending the event was also Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, who expressed his heartfelt closeness to  all the suffering Ukrainian people in this tragic moment for their country.

No words, only prayer

“We don't have many words to say”, the Argentinian Cardinal said in his brief remarks. “The words are those we sang and we recited invoking the intercession of the Mother of God, Queen of Ukraine”.

The Vatican prelate insisted that “in the face of so much shame for humanity and so much suffering” the only weapon available is prayer.

“We have no words. We don't have missiles, we don't have guns, we don't have tanks, we don't have the force of violence that wants to impose itself at any price. We have the strength of humility of those who receive the contempt of the world and of the powerful of the earth. Our only weapon - in the face of so much shame for humanity and so much suffering is what we have done today: to pray.”

Be strong

He then implored the intercession of Our Lady, while reaffirming the Church’s closeness to all those suffering in Ukraine and  their loved ones abroad. “Be  strong because God, the crucified Lord Jesus, his Most Holy Mother are with us and with you”, he concluded.


Second round of talks today

As fighting continues, Russian and Ukrainian delegations are meeting for a second round of talks in Belarus on Thursday, following a first meeting in the Belurussian city of Gomel on February 28. Russian main requests include  the complete demilitarization of Ukraine, Ukraine to become a neutral State and the recognition of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. The Ukrainian authorities, for their part, want an immediate cease-fire and Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Negotiators are also expected to discuss the issue of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.

UN resolution against Russia

On Wednesday the United Nations’ General Assembly passed a resolution by an overwhelming majority of 141 to 5, calling on Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine. China and India were among the states who abstained.

03 March 2022, 16:04